Posts Tagged ‘CoolSculpting’

What is the Best Method of Liposuction?

Liposuction AtlantaStandard Lipo, Laser Assisted Lipo, Ultrasonic Lipo, Power Assisted Lipo, Tumenscent Lipo, Smart Lipo, Safe Lipo, Tickle Lipo…there are many different types of liposuction procedures currently offered in the market place, so logically patients are always asking “which is best for me?”. Although some practitioners may have strong feelings one way or another, the short answer to the question is that all of these techniques work, and the results are similar for all.

Liposuction became popular in the 1980s. The initial method of liposuction used hollow tubes (cannulas) to suction out fatty tissues from under the skin using very small incisions. Although initial techniques worked well, the results got even better when surgeons began using smaller, finer cannulas. A major advance occurred when the technique began to incorporate the injection of a dilute solution prior to suctioning. This technique was very helpful in reducing blood loss and bruising, and is commonly used in most types of liposuction today. During the 1990s, new technologies began to emerge to make the procedure even easier by using the application of energy to break up fatty tissues. Ultrasonic assisted liposuction (UAL) uses sound waves, power assisted liposuction (PAL) uses mechanical vibrations, and laser assisted liposuction (LAL) uses laser energy to this end. Some even newer technologies use water pressure to the same effect.

Although companies advertise significant advantages of their technologies over the competition, the scientific literature does not support major differences. Two particular studies about liposuction deserve special attention. The first study looked at over 26,000 consecutive patients undergoing liposuction by many of these different technologies.1 The authors found that overall the results were similar between these different groups. A second study published in 2011 examined trends in liposuction techniques among 492 plastic surgeons.2 In this study, the authors found that all these technologies are currently used by plastic surgeons, but that only a minority (about 10%) used laser liposuction (which include “Smart Lipo” and “Slim Lipo”), and that standard liposuction was still the most common technique used. While energy-based liposuction techniques can help your surgeon with hard to treat areas like the flanks, chest, and back, they also have an increased potential for complications such as burns. With experience and familiarity, however, all of these techniques can be safe and effective.

Non-Surgical Liposuction?

There is even a non-surgical procedure that may be an option for you. Cool Sculpting, which freezes the fat, is an office procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia.

So if all these technologies work, how should a patient choose? First of all, don’t be fooled by fancy ads promising huge results using the latest technology. Second, do your homework to select a qualified plastic surgeon with significant experience in all types of body contouring surgery, including both liposuction and excisional surgery such as tummy tucks. Here at the Emory Aesthetic Center, our surgeons have extensive experience and can explain the differences between all these techniques. We offer a full spectrum of options, and we will customize a plan that best fits your needs.

1Triana L, Triana C, Barbato C, Zambrano M. Liposuction: 25 years of experience in 26,259 patients using different devices. Aesthetic Surgery Journal 2009: 29: 509.
2Ahmad J, Eaves FF, Rohrich RJ, and Kenkel JM. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) Survey: Current Trends in Liposuction. Aesthetic Surgery Journal 2011: 31; 214.

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Tummy Tucks Part I – Which Abdominoplasty Procedure is Right For You?

Fifteen years ago the tummy tuck – or “abdominoplasty” – wasn’t even in the Top 10 of aesthetic surgeries performed. But now with many Americans putting more effort into getting in shape and looking fit, we are paying more and more attention to our midriffs. Despite all our hard work to do the right things, sometimes eating healthy, controlling our weight, and working out just can’t give us the results we want due to the effects of weight loss, pregnancies, or aging. Tummy tucks are now the 3rd most common cosmetic surgery performed.

Many patients who come to see us for consultation are confused about what type of procedure would be best for them to improve their “ab” area. Is it a tummy tuck? Mini-tummy tuck? Liposuction? Body lift? Belt lipectomy? It seems confusing, but figuring out which cosmetic procedure you need may be easier than you think, and it all comes down to assessing 3 factors:

  • The skin – Is it loose? Are there stretch marks? Or is the skin smooth?
  • Fat deposits – Are there none, a little, or a lot?
  • The muscles – Have the muscles in the front of the tummy separated as a consequence of pregnancy or other factors? Is there a hernia?

If the skin of the abdomen is loose or has a poor appearance, then a tummy tuck can be used to remove the excess skin and fat. While a tummy tuck leaves a longer scar than liposuction, tummy tucks do something that liposuction cannot – dramatically tighten the skin. If there is little fat, liposuction alone (if the skin looks good) or liposuction in combination with a tummy tuck (if the skin is loose) is a common strategy. If the muscles have been stretched apart, then repair of the muscles is generally done as part of an abdominoplasty.

Patients often ask about a short scar or “mini-abdominoplasty”, and for some patients, these can be a great option. In some rare cases, an endoscopic abdominoplasty can be considered. Endoscopic abdominoplasty is a procedure which is performed using a small camera (an endoscope) that is attached to small surgical instruments, resulting in an even smaller scar than a mini-abdominoplasty. However, it’s important to remember that if scars are shorter, then less skin can be removed – resulting in less ability to tighten the abdominal skin. If you really need tightening, longer may be better!

The best time for women to have a tummy tuck is after they are done having children. For both men and women, it is also important to make sure you are at a reasonable, stable weight. Tummy tucks, liposuction, or even non-invasive body contouring like CoolSculpting work best when your weight is at a healthy level. Your Emory Aesthetic Center surgeon can help you figure out whether or not some weight loss before surgery would produce better results in your case.