Liposuction is the technique of sculpting the human body through the removal of fat via small aspirator tubes called “cannulas”. Popularized in the late 1970’sby two French surgeons, Drs. Illouz and Fournier, this procedure is the most commonly performed plastic procedure in the world.
Liposuction is technically simple, but highly sensitive to the artistic abilities of the surgeon. For this reason, selection of an experienced surgeon is essential.
Several advances over the years have evolved that give us better results which include:
1.) Use of smaller cannulas. We now use these in the size of 2 to 4 mm in diameter, which produce finer tunnels and fewer surface irregularities.
2.) Use of strongly compressive garments which shuffles the remaining fat for a smoother contour, as well as less bruising and discomfort.
3.) Use of “tumescent” technique. This allows us to extract fat with less blood loss and bruising.
While some surgeons use only local anesthesia, I feel this creates a traumatic experience for the patient, and recommend a general anesthetic for both safety and general patient comfort. The time for the procedure varies with the number of areas addressed and the amount of fat to be extracted. Postoperative care is usually simple and you will be feeling better within a few days. A special garment must be worn for a minimum of one month but results are better if worn longer.
Nowadays you hear a lot about different “assisted liposuction” methods that involve either the use of laser energy or ultrasonic energy to dissolve the fat prior to extraction. These have names like “Smart Lipo” or “Vaser” techniques. These methods may reduce the work on the surgeon, but I believe they do little for the patient. Well respected colleagues may disagree with me but that is my opinion. I feel these techniques increase the cost of the procedure and even increase some risks, such as burns and “over-sculpting”. I have never in over 30 years of practice seen a burn to the skin with the “tumescent liposuction” procedure.
Additionally, a surgeon needs to leave a thin layer of fat under the skin to protect it, much as a carpet pad protects a carpet. Because of these considerations, I only perform “tumescent liposuction”. I like to call this “Brilliant Liposuction”.