Liposuction Evolution: Which are the best Liposuction Techniques
by Cosmetics Expert Mike Dune
It seems that surgeons have tried to refine liposuction techniques almost since Italian and French physicians introduced the fat-reduction surgery to the world in 1974. Surgeons in the early years used unwieldy tubes called large-bore cannulas to suction fatty tissue, but they were associated with blood loss, extensive bruising, and inconsistent results.
The most significant advancement in liposuction occurred about 10 years later, when a dermatologist in Southern California introduced tumescent liposuction, a technique that most surgeons still consider the gold standard. Tumescent liposuction injects a saltwater solution containing an anesthetic into the targeted area, allowing the procedure to be completed without general anesthesia. It also dramatically reduced bleeding and bruising and, when performed by trained physicians, produced excellent results.
While tumescent liposuction still remains the preferred choice today for most surgeons, new techniques are introduced on a continual basis as surgeons try to offer improved, less-invasive procedures using advanced technology such as ultrasound and laser energies. How many different liposuction techniques are there? LipoAdvisor.com lists 19 different options to sculpt and remove excess fat deposits.
Many plastic surgeons offer a range of procedures at their practices, saying that certain patients will benefit more from one technique than another. For example, Dr. Brian Reuben at Trilogy Medical Center in Salt Lake City offers 4 liposuction options, including tumescent.
So for people considering liposuction, here’s a summary of some of the most effective techniques according to my opinion:
Tumescent: As mentioned earlier, tumescent liposuction is the most widely available technique. It’s proven to be safe and effective. Additionally, surgeons are generally better trained at performing tumescent liposuction than any other technique because it’s been around the longest.
Power-assisted liposuction (PAL): This is actually a version of the tumescent approach, except the cannula (thin suction tube) vibrates, helping the surgeon break up the fatty tissue. It’s designed to be more efficient and easier for the surgeon.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL): Ultrasound energy vibrates through the cannula, liquefying the fat before it’s removed. As noted on Dr. Reuben’s website, “this approach generally causes less bleeding and hastens recovery.”
VASERlipo™: It’s a form of ultrasound liposuction that uses pulsed energy to break apart fat cells without damaging healthy tissue. Small cannulas are used to suction the fat after it’s mixed with tumescent fluid.
Laser liposuction: This still uses an anesthetic solution injected into the targeted area, where a microcannula is inserted to deliver laser energy and heat. The heat kills the fat cells, and tissue is suctioned from the body. Smartlipo™, ProLipo Plus™, and LipoLite™ are various types of laser-assisted liposuction.
Cool Lipo™: Another form of laser liposuction, Cool Lipo is designed specifically for treating smaller areas such as the neck and face.
Water jet-assisted liposuction: This technique, like the others listed above, uses the mixture of saline and local anesthetic common in tumescent liposuction. But instead of injecting the fluid and then using a cannula to break up the fat, water jet-assisted liposuction shoots a pressurized stream of the solution to loosen and dislodge fat. Its proponents say it’s gentler than other forms of liposuction.