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Raleigh, NC, United States, 2006/05/20 - Liposuction is a body contouring operation that requires not only an artist’s eye, but also the insight to determine which patients are likely to benefit from the procedure.
When artfully and appropriately applied, liposuction can produce dramatic contour improvements. As with all plastic surgery, the goal should be to produce a natural contour.
Aren’t there different kinds of liposuction?
Liposuction is traditionally performed using vacuum suction. Recently, new technologies have become available in an attempt to improve the efficiency of fat removal. ‘Power-assisted’ liposuction uses an energy source applied to the liposuction apparatus to create vibrations that enhance the efficiency of fat removal.
‘Ultrasonic’ liposuction, uses ultrasonic energy emitted by the liposuction apparatus to emulsify (liquefy) fat and enhance its removal. A consequence of ultrasonic energy emission is heating of tissues, which can lead to burns and other complications if a number of precautions are not carefully followed. This has led some plastic surgeons to not adopt or to abandon ultrasonic liposuction.
Is ‘tumescent’ liposuction better?
Well, yes, but tumescent technique is used for all liposuction, and has been for a quite some time. ‘Tumescent technique’ essentially means that a saline solution containing epinephrine is injected into the areas to be suctioned, so that blood vessels in the fat constrict and bleeding is minimized.
Choose your surgeon carefully
Liposuction is the most commonly performed surgical procedure each year in the United States. Here’s a statistic that many may not have heard: the majority of physicians performing liposuction in the United States are not plastic surgeons; in fact, many do not have any formal surgical training whatsoever. It seems hard to believe, but many physicians performing liposuction have had no more training in liposuction than a ‘weekend course’. One way to determine whether or not a physician has had appropriate training in a particular surgery is to confirm that they have hospital privileges for that procedure.
Perhaps some practitioners view liposuction as a ‘simple’ surgery, since it does not involve making large incisions, and it requires little, if any, suturing. Nothing could be further form the truth.
Dr. Michael Law believes that Liposuction is a very challenging operation that requires careful planning and preparation, and a great deal of care and finesse when it is performed. It requires a three-dimensional understanding of the layers of human anatomy, an understanding that is second nature to a surgeon alone. I think that it is often an inadequate understanding of anatomy (and, perhaps, of the body’s response to surgery) that leads to poor results in liposuction which are sometimes seen.