There are many types of liposuction available to patients today. New developments have been refined and better instruments which help the surgeon give the patient a better result. Many of these methods offer the best results with less trauma and less downtime. A fast recovery time, less pain, less complications, great results and competitive costs are some of the goals we strive to achieve.
One technology that stands out is SmartLipo, which uses laser technology to melt and liquefy the fat within the fat cells. In addition, it smoothes and tightens the skin to decrease the looseness that one sometimes sees with traditional liposuction. It can be used alone to treat smaller areas of fat, such as below the chin, but most of the time it is used in combination with liposuction to remove larger areas of fat such as in the abdomen, flanks and thighs.
Over the years, liposuction has evolved into being one of the safest cosmetic procedures performed today. In fact, it is the number one cosmetic procedure performed in the United States among men and women.
Liposuction was originally invented by a gynecologist in Italy in the mid 1970s. Initially it involved using a “dry” technique, but this resulted in excessive complications, such as blood loss and shock. The technique improved when the “wet” technique was developed in the early 1980’s. Further refinements in the late 1980s lead to development of the “tumescent” technique, which is the safest method to do liposuction today.
Tumescent liposuction is performed by instilling dilute solutions of lidocaine and epinephrine into the fatty areas of the areas to be treated. This fluid anesthetizes the areas to be treated, plus it decreases bleeding very significantly. The procedure can thus be performed while the patient is awake with minimal discomfort and quicker recovery.Â Many people can return to work and normal activities within one to a few days.
Once the tumescent fluid had been infused into the fatty areas, these areas are numb and the procedure can be performed while the patient is awake. Several different techniques developed over the years from the 1990s that could be used to dissolve or destroy the fat in these areas. Simple mechanical disruption, high frequency ultrasonic waves dissolution, water-jet disruption, and laser lipolysis can all be utilized to break or disrupt the fat cells and allow the freed fat to be suctioned using very thin tubes called cannulas. Most of the time these procedures are combined to provide the best results for removal of the fat, for improved skin smoothness, and to tighten the skin.
Today, there are many options for laser lipolysis, all of which can help tighten the skin. SmartLipo was the first laser to be approved by the FDA to be used for fat dissolution and removal with tumescent liposuction. Introduced in 2007, this laser technology utilizes a 1064 wave length that targets red blood cells and thus results in less blood loss. In addition, it produces a burst of energy as it enters the fatty tissue that can stimulate collagen formation and tightens the skin in a safe manner.
Other laser technologies that have similar qualities include ProLipo, SlimLipo, and CoolLipo laser lipolysis. They utilize different wavelengths and produce fatty dissolution by heating the fat and/or the water within the cells. The liquid fat can then be removed with cannulas. All these techniques normally utilize tumescent fluid to provide the anesthesia, to decrease bleeding and to decrease infection.
Another technique has been developed that can disrupt the fat using a fine stream of water. Called the Water-Jet, it can break the fat cells apart in a more gentle fashion, thus allowing these fat cells to be reinjected into other body areas to fill this areas. The fat injected is thought to be more viable and therefore can last longer in the injected areas than previously. It also can contour the areas treated in a more gentle fashion, thus resulting in less swelling, bruising, and trauma to these areas.
By utilizing the tumescent technique, these liposuction procedures can be performed in an office-based setting while the patient is awake. No longer is it a requirement that patients be put to sleep using general anesthetics nor do they need to be admitted to the hospital for the procedure. Moreover, these new techniques allow patients to return to normal activities more rapidly than when the older methods were used. They are safer and provide improved results for smoother and tighter skin. Thus, they are the procedure of choice for most physicians and patients.