- Liposuction – Body Contouring Surgery
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction surgery, or lipoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure designed to remove excess fat from different areas of the body. Areas commonly treated with liposuction include the chin, neck, upper arms, hips, abdomen, thighs and buttocks.
The original concept of liposuction was invented by an Italian gynecologist, Dr. Giorgio Fischer, in 1974. By the early 1980s, liposuction was starting to gain attention in the U.S., and a lot of it was negative. In the early days of the procedure, liposuction surgery was considered extremely risky, and had a high incidence of excessive bleeding and post–operative tissue distortion. It wasn’t until 1985, when American dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Klein invented the “Tumescent Technique”, that liposuction surgery really took off.
Tumescent liposuction is the original standby for the procedure, but in recent years, other forms have emerged. Today’s other liposuction surgery options include Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction (UAL), LipoSelection®, Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL), and SmartLipo™.
How Does Liposuction Work?
The specifics of the procedure will depend on which liposuction technique you choose. Here’s a brief description of how each of these main forms of liposuction work
- Tumescent Liposuction
After an anesthetic solution (usually comprised of lidocaine and epinephrine) is injected into the treatment area, a hollow metal tube called a cannula is inserted into the fatty tissue to extract fat cells.
- Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction (UAL) also uses anesthetic fluid, but then applies heat and sound waves to fatty tissue via the cannula. This causes fat cells to liquefy and thus be removed more quickly and easily. LipoSelection® is a specific brand of UAL, and an off–shoot of the Vaser® liposuction system.
- Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL)
Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) can remove extra fat very quickly and precisely, by using a specialized cannula with a vibrating tip. The vibrating cannula loosens concentrations of fat cells very easily and minimizes damage to surrounding tissues.
Effective at treating smaller, localized fat deposits, SmartLipo (also known as laser liposuction) involves the insertion of a small probe containing a laser fiber into fatty tissues. The laser’s emitted heat energy breaks down fat cells for easy removal.
In terms of accuracy and safety measures, liposuction surgery has come a long way since its infamous beginnings. However, the procedure is still an invasive surgery, and thus shouldn’t be taken lightly. Possible side effects or complications of liposuction include blood clots, infection, fluid loss, nerve damage, or an allergic reaction to anesthesia or pain medication.
In order to minimize risks with liposuction surgery, and to achieve the best possible results, it’s important that patients meet certain candidacy requirements as dictated by a doctor or experienced plastic surgeon. Liposuction candidates can be ruled out for surgery if they are severely obese, under 18, pregnant or lactating, or have certain health problems. Once a patient has been cleared for liposuction surgery, their plastic surgeon can walk them through choosing the right liposuction technique, answer their questions about the procedure, and help them to create a plan for having a successful cosmetic surgery.