New techniques like ultrasonic liposuction or liposelection are providing patients with better results and faster recovery times.
Liposuction is the cosmetic procedure in which excess body fat is removed from specific trouble areas. It can be performed on almost any area of the body including the neck, cheeks, face, chin, upper arms, buttocks, hips, thighs, and knees.
Over the last ten years, the technology used in liposuction has been advanced tremendously. Liposelection, also known as ultrasonic liposuction is a relatively recent development in body contouring that extends the capabilities of the surgeon by reaching areas not previously accessible. Ultrasonic energy is directly applied to the fat cells in the body, converting them to a less dense liquid form, which is easier to remove. This is especially beneficial for removing fat from difficult areas such as the upper abdomen, flanks, hips and back.
Ultrasonic liposuction is also a great option for patients having additional fat removed from a previously treated area. This procedure is in no way a replacement for traditional liposuction, but a complement to an already established and effective procedure.
Patients who benefit the most from liposuction are people of relatively normal weight with pockets of fat that cause certain areas of their body to appear disproportionate. Often these localized fat deposits are genetic and respond slowly to dieting or exercise. Liposuction may be the only method of eliminating those areas. Age is not a major issue for preventing someone from undergoing liposuction, however, those patients with major medical problems such as heart disease, lung dysfunction, diabetes, or poor circulation may not be able to tolerate the procedure.
Most small-volume liposuction is performed in an outpatient center under local anesthesia. For patients having large volumes of fat removed, a short stay in an overnight facility may be necessary. Regional anesthesia, such as an epidural block, or general anesthesia may be necessary for more complicated procedures. You will have an IV for medication and fluid replacement.
The length of time needed for the surgery will vary depending on the amount of fat being removed. Once the anesthesia has been administered, your surgeon will make a tiny incision to allow an instrument called a cannula to be inserted. The cannula is used to push and pull through the layer of fat, breaking it up and then suctioning it out. With ultrasonic liposuction, a tiny ultrasonic generator is attached to the cannula, sending the ultrasonic energy into the fat cells before suctioning them out.
Some complications are specific to ultrasonic liposuction. The tip of the cannula can cause minor burns under the surface of the skin, which could cause some scarring and sometimes there is fluid collection in the area where the fat is removed following surgery. Ask your physician about potential risks and what results you can expect during your consultation.
This is only a basic explanation of the ultrasonic liposuction procedure. Be sure to ask your surgeon to explain which method he or she prefers to use and what is involved.