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As spring is upon us, more and more people are coming in to the office considering body work. The most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedure is still Breast Augmentation, but Liposuction is a close second.

Traditional Liposuction

“Traditional” Liposuction has come a long way. We have progressed from the removal of a few hundred cc’s (ounces of fat) to the removal of thousands of cc’s (pounds of fat). From a procedure that had a good chance of requiring a blood transfusion, to a procedure that very rarely has significant blood loss. From an in hospital treatment, to an outpatient procedure. It can remove stubborn areas of disproportionate fat that are not responsive to diet and exercise.

Tumescent Liposuction

Most the improvements in current, advanced liposuction come from the introduction of a wetting solution. Better known as Tumescent Liposuction, it is the safest and most predictable form of liposuction currently available. This innovative method of liposuction has resulted in the ability to remove more fat, more quickly, more safely, more predictably and with less bruising, less pain and less down time.

The Latest Liposuction Technology

There has been a big push in the last few years to further improve results. I call these procedures “value added” liposuction, and the additions come in a variety of flavors:

All use a Tumescent Technique, and the tumescent technique alone provides for added safety, less bruising and quicker recovery. No carefully controlled clinical trials have demonstrated that they are better than carefully controlled tumescent liposuction for the vast majority of patients.

Fat is quite soft. Powerful lasers, high frequency ultrasound, radiofrequency and cold therapy are not necessary to remove fat. The goal with most of these methods is to improve skin shrinkage. Unfortunately, none seem to shrink the skin to any significant extent. And worse, the “value added” liposuctions come at a price. Added energies cost more, and the additional energy makes it possible to burn the skin. Proponents of these techniques will say the added risk is small, but a small risk without a benefit is too much risk. A simple, safe, cold, hollow cannula is sufficiently powerful to remove fat, without the chance of a burn.

The claims that Laser Liposuction shrinks skin are unproven. Published reports are rarely blinded or controlled and tend to be anecdotal, i.e. it looks like it shrunk. Liposuction cannot be depended on to shrink skin. Every plastic surgeon has patients whose skin seems to shrink after liposuction, but this is more likely due more to the patient’s skin, rather than the liposuction. If the patients’ skin is elastic, it will “shrink” to fit the new contours.

The best randomized, double-blinded, controlled study shows no difference in outcome between traditional Tumescent Liposuction (SAL) and Laser Assisted Liposuction (LAL). The study is sited in an article in the the current issue of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery‘s Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

In this study, each patient was treated with both SAL and LAL. How each side was treated was randomized, If the patient’s right side was treated with SAL and the left side was treated with LAL, and visa versa. Patients where not told which side was treated which way (this is the blinded part.) The results were evaluated by the patients and doctors. These doctors, did not do the surgery and also did not know which side was treated with which modality (They were blinded too.) The results: Neither the patients, nor the doctors could tell which side was treated with which modality. In other words, there was no difference between the side treated with traditional tumescent liposuction and laser assisted liposuction.

What Is Smart Liposuction?

I like to evaluate each patient’s problem areas independently before deciding what treatment to use. Only after a careful medical history and physical examination, can the correct tool be selected. The “value added” liposuction techniques are still in their infancy, and with time, they will either have more to offer, or fade away. There is a small group of patients who may benefit from these technologies; however, as the study above shows, for the average liposuction patient, they do not offer any significant improvement in outcome, and they do bring additional risks. Smart Liposuction, as opposed to SmartLipo, is the method of liposuction which is the safest and most predictable method that will work for you. I f you would like to schedule a personalized, and private, Liposuction Consultation in our San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Office call (925) 943-6353, today.

Liposuction Videos

Links to my most recent Body Beautiful appearance cast can be found below. It was a half hour show, so I have divided it in to 4 segments:

Additional Videos about Liposuction

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