Liposuction & Liposection & Liposculture?
Liposuction continues to be the most effective procedure able to achieve dramatic changes in patients’ body contours. As with most cosmetic surgery procedures, the technology associated with liposuction has advanced, bringing with it both new techniques and new terms. Some of these new terms patients may have heard include liposelection and liposculpture.
New devices which aid the physician in removal of fat include handpieces which produce either oscillation of the cannula tip, laser or ultrasound. The energies created by the handpieces help to break up and loosen the fat cells so that the surgeon can more efficiently remove the fat cells. The surgeon is able to focus more on the “selection” of which cells to remove while he or she “sculpts” the contour of the patient rather than the work of liposuction. Thus the new terms liposelection and liposculpture.
Keep in mind that liposelection and liposculpture are mostly terms practitioners or manufacturers have created to try to highlight their form of liposuction for the public. It is all just liposuction. There is no doubt that no matter which technology one uses, the quality of the result and safety of the procedure are more dependent upon the skill and training of the surgeon than technology they are using.
What is a Cannula and What has Changed?
Another change or advancement in liposuction has to do with the cannulas used in the procedure. A cannula is simply a long steel tube with various sized and shaped holes near the tip. These small steel tubes are used to remove the fat in the areas targeted by the surgeon. Which configuration of holes near the tip is most effective and safe boils down to surgeon preference more than anything else.
Over the last number of years the most important changes in cannula design have to do with the diameter of the tube. With the advances of the energy technologies mentioned above, we are now able to more effectively remove fat with smaller diameter tubes. This enables the surgeon to be more aggressive in certain areas while reducing the risk of unsatisfactory results such as creating puckers or grooves. Smaller cannula size and overlapping angles of cannula passes have proven very effective in improving the results of liposuction
Coolscuplting: The Non-Surgical Approach
Coolsculpting is a non-surgical method of permanent fat reduction. This technology was developed by some very smart guys at Harvard. The Coolsculpting machine uses adapters which reduce the temperature of areas treated to a degree which will kill fat cells but not damage the other adjacent structures including skin and nerves. It is effective in most body areas including the abdomen, hips, flanks, arms, thighs and even the chests of men. Many patients prefer coolsculpting because it requires no anesthesia and no recovery or down time. Typically 20 to 25% of the fat in the area treated will go away over the next 2 – 4 months.
Abdominoplasty a.ka. Tummy Tuck
Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck is a very popular and effective procedure in body contouring. Rather than just removing the fat localized to the trunk, a tummy tuck addresses the layers of the abdomen including the fat but also any excess or poor quality skin and laxity of the underlying muscle layer. Most ladies who have had a number of pregnancies know what we are talking about here.
There have also been a number of advances in the abdominoplasty technique which have helped surgeons to optimize the results of the procedure. Special quilting techniques enable surgeons to avoid drains in the majority of patients and in some patients, with a particularly large degree of muscle laxity, we can use internal meshes or supports to optimize the tightening of the deeper layers (basically an internal girdle). Lipoabdominoplasty is a newer term which describes the effective and safe combination of advanced liposuction techniques and abdominoplasty to give patients their best improvement in body contour in a single procedure.
Choosing the Right Body Contouring Procedure
As body contouring options increase and improve patients become more perplexed as to which procedure is best for them. Patients need to consider how much improvement they want and how much down time or recovery they are willing to endure. Those patients who are adverse to anesthesia and want the quickest recovery may consider Coolsculpting. They must keep in mind though that the results may be less dramatic and if they need a tummy tuck, Coolsculpting or even just liposuction may simply be a waste of money. The recovery from these procedures vary from basically none with Coolsculpting, up to 10 – 14 days with an abdominoplasty. As with most things, more improvement is related to more recovery, however, the change in your body contour can be dramatic with the more involved procedures.
The choice of procedure one pursues is best made with a thorough consultation with a board certified Plastic Surgeon who has a broad experience in body contouring. He or She is best equipped to help patients make choices which are most effective in a cost conscious way. As technologies have developed, so have the number of practitioners of various levels of training providing these treatments. Basically any physician can perform liposuction or other non-surgical methods of fat reduction. However, if these practitioners are unable to provide all body contouring options, the quality of results their patients achieve are likely to suffer. If you really need a tummy tuck just liposuction or Coolsculpting isn’t going to do it. A thorough consultation with all options available for discussion is best.