Liposuction is a procedure under constant evolution.
First there were traditional dry techniques developed in the 1970?s. Fat was simply removed by suction. This was bloody and frankly barbaric.
The tumescent liposuction technique was invented in the 1980?s by Dr. Klein, a California Dermatologist. This significantly cut down on bleeding and risks. Most cases of liposuction could be done without general anesthesia with tumescent techniques.
Further refinements in liposuction techniques have included:
- Smaller cannulas – to minimize scarring and prevent contour deformities
- Superficial liposuction – small cannulas just beneath the skin to encourage skin shrinkage
- Power assisted liposuction
- Ultrasound assisted liposuction (Vaser among others)
- Laser assisted liposuction (smartlipo)
- Water assisted liposuction (Water-jet)
The final three are technology based advancements that melt, loosen or burst fat cells to help suction them. These (and many more on the horizon) have become increasingly popular in the past few years due to extensive marketing efforts.
There may be some benefits to laser, ultrasound or water assisted liposuction. Time will be the final judge.
Smartlipo is the current market leader in laser liposuction. I have told patients that “smarterlipo” is to choose a board certified plastic surgeon and trust his judgment regarding the best treatment option for them. I have thought that I should trademark the term “smarterlipo” although trademarking a general term to imply uniqueness to what I am doing is not my style.
A few misconceptions about liposuction
- Liposuction is almost never done under general anesthesia (advertisements for liposuction “chains” often claim otherwise)
- Liposuction does not require weeks to months to recover from (again, cautious with advertising claims to the contrary)
- Choosing a plastic surgeon to perform your liposuction is not more expensive (in fact when factoring revisions, much less)
- Technology does not make a poorly trained surgeon better – avoid the “cosmetic surgeon”
- Liposuction can only tighten loose skin to a slight degree