I trust that everyone is doing well. Summer is around the corner, sun is shining and today’s topic comes just in time for bathing suit and bikini season.
Liposuction is the extraction and/or removal of one’s body fat and is generally performed to get rid of excess fat in certain areas of the body. This procedure has gained tremendous popularity in recent years among both males and females.
Liposuction can be performed using 2 methods:
- Invasive liposuction (a.k.a. tumescent liposuction)
- Non-invasive liposuction (a.k.a. using external Body Contouring Devices)
- Traditional Liposuction: most surgeons use this time-tested and research proven technique also known as the “tumescent technique”. This is a surgical procedure that can be done under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia. The type of anesthetic is determined by your surgeon depending on your general medical health and the area where liposuction is needed. Greater targeted areas will likely need general anesthesia. This procedure involves placing fluid into the fat cell layer under your skin using small incision measuring no larger than 2-4 mm. The fluid injected contains a local anesthetic as well as medications that help shrink blood vessels to limit any bleeding. The otherwise solid body fat becomes liquid and is then removed or “sucked” out using hollow cannulas.
- Non-Traditional Liposuction or Alternatives:
- Laser assisted liposuction (Smart Lipo, Cool Lipo)
- Power assisted liposuction
- Ultrasound assisted liposuction (VASER liposelection). .
These techniques have recently been popularized by the companies that produce these machines. They use cannulas that produce heat, vibration, or ultrasound waves respectively to help break up the fatty tissue and make liposuction potentially easier for the surgeon.
It is very IMPORTANT to note that there is still very little evidence that any of the invasive liposuction “adjuncts” improve results greatly over traditional tumescent liposuction. They can increase cost, and risk. The risks can include skin burns and skin dimpling and irregularity.
The MOST IMPORTANT decision for the patient is to choose the quality and experience of the surgeon as well as a surgeon who is truly a board certified plastic surgeon by the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada in Plastic Surgery.
This method involves the employment of external body machines that use heat (e.g. Thermage), cold (cryotherapy) (e.g. Cool Sculpting, Zeltiq), or ultrasound (e.g. Liposonix, UltraShape) from the outer surface of the skin in an attempt to dissolve and shrink fat.
These can be costly and being a minimal procedure, you can only expect a minimal result!
These techniques cannot take off large volumes of fat; however, substantial amounts of money pour into the marketing of such devices which are promoted sometimes with inquorate promises such as “inches off with no surgery.” Often patients end up spending more money over longer periods of time with lesser or minimal results.
Finally, another technique called mesotherapy can be performed. It involves the injection of a chemical into the fat cell layer to disrupt the fat cells so that the body can later absorb them. This technique has not been shown to be as effective and research has shown from experience that it may end up being more costly, less effective, and more painful than traditional liposuction. Furthermore, the results could take several months to show versus the same results that one would see within two weeks following traditional liposuction.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s blog. Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback. For all other questions or personal concerns, do not hesitate to come and see me in person for a consultation and a closer examination. I work very closely with my patients to determine their best options and help them make an informed-decision. I would be delighted to help you achieve your goals.