History of Liposuction
The First Steps: 1960-1982
Broadly speaking, liposuction is a fairly new operation. In the late 1960s, some of the earliest work on liposuction began. The surgeons in Europe who first developed liposuction techniques didn’t receive a lot of press however, since they were unable to perform their techniques safely. These early techniques involved a lot of bleeding and high rates of morbidity.
Arpad and Giorgio Fischer are considered to be the real pioneers of Liposuction while in 1974 they found a method to remove fat tissue within the body using an electric-powered rotating scalpel! Then in 1982 that Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz developed his “Illouz Method”. This was the first time that suction-assisted liposuction was presented to the world. The morbidity rates were low and the results were good and relatively easy to replicate. There were many other experiments involving liposuction during this decade with mostly mixed results.
Up to this point, liposuction had to be done under general anesthesia (for a comparison of General and Local anesthesia read this). Several years later, Klein and Lillis developed a new techniques which made it possible for the operation to be done without general anesthesia. Their high-volume tumescent technique, presented in 1985, allowed surgeons to use intravenous sedation instead. It wasn’t until the 1990s that ultrasound technology was first used to help remove fat by liquefying it first.
The most recent development in liposuction that has become widespread is the introduction of thermal lipolysis. This is a technique wherein the surgeon uses a laser tipped probe in order to melt fat (laser liposuction). The jury is still out on which technique is best—whether it is thermal liposuction, ultrasonic liposuction, or an earlier technique. One thing which is certain however is that over the past three decades, numerous improvements have been made in the technology used to remove fat, even when older methods are used.
At the moment surgeons have also become more proficient in administering these techniques safely. There are far fewer liposuction complications than there were during previous decades, and it is easier to remove fat cells with less blood loss and discomfort than ever before. It’s now also possible to do more complex procedures, such as remove fat from one part of the body and move it to another part of the body in order to contour something else. Since the fat is from the same body, there’s less of a chance that it will be rejected when it is moved to the new site. Even though it’s possible to do several procedures at once, it’s still usually best to try and space out liposuction and other cosmetic procedures. Nonetheless, it is possible to recover more quickly from liposuction now than it was in the past, and in general the surgery is less traumatic and entails less risk for serious complications.