Posts Tagged ‘liposuction techniques’

Which Type of Liposuction Is Best?

types of liposuctionLiposuction is a cosmetic procedure to remove excess fat from specific areas of your body. Everyone is different, and it can be difficult to know which liposuction technique is appropriate for you.

Liposuction may be right for you if you:

  • Are at or near your desired weight
  • Have good skin elasticity
  • Have certain areas that are out of proportion with the rest of your body, and are not improved with diet and exercise

Types of Liposuction Procedures

While everyone has heard of liposuction, many may not know there are actually several different techniques available to help you achieve your desired results.

Regardless of technique, in most cases, the fat is prepared for removal by inflating it with a balanced saltwater solution that often contains lidocaine for pain relief and epinephrine to minimize bruising. This instillation of fluid is referred to as the tumescent preparation of fat.

Suction-Assisted Liposuction

While the preparation for fat removal is fairly standard (as described above), the technique for removing the fat can vary.  The most common type of liposuction involves using negative pressure to remove excess fat from an anatomic area.

After the fat is filled with tumescent fluid, the surgeon uses a thin tube (cannula) that is connected to a suction device. The fat is broken up and removed when the surgeon repeatedly passes the tip of the cannula through the fat. Most of the time, the fat is discarded. However, if you’d like to augment volume in other areas of your body, your surgeon may use it.

A new technology, called power-assisted liposuction, uses a mechanically enhanced cannula for easier passage and more thorough removal of unwanted fat.

Laser and Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction

Some surgeons prefer to pretreat fat with a laser or ultrasonic device. There are many varieties of these devices on the market, but they all have the same method of treatment. Electromagnetic energy, by laser or ultrasound, is delivered to the targeted fat cells. The energy is converted to heat that breaks down the fatty tissue prior to aspiration, or removal of fat. Though not scientifically proven, some believe that breaking up the fat in this way allows for a better result because there is a more thorough removal of fat and by the tightening of connective tissue including the skin.

Your surgeon can usually perform most liposuction procedures while you are awake, using local anesthetics to numb the area. However, your surgeon can decide if more sedation is needed.

In some instances, patients may be put to sleep completely in the operating room. These decisions are made based on your surgeon’s judgment.

A Nonsurgical Way to Reduce Fat: Coolsculpting®

Coolsculpting is a nonsurgical way to “freeze off the fat.” A special pad is applied to the targeted area to freeze fat beneath the skin, without affecting the skin itself. Once the fat has been frozen and crystallized from the treatment, your body slowly destroys and discards the unwanted fat cells. Most patients start to see changes within three weeks, seeing final results within one to three months. It usually takes two or more treatment sessions to achieve results similar to liposuction.

How to Choose the Right Procedure

If you’re feeling confused by all these options, there’s good news — it’s actually as simple as choosing the right cosmetic surgeon. Ultimately, your results depend on finding an expert surgeon who is skilled in different liposuction techniques and understands what results you want that leads to the most favorable outcome. So, do your homework. Check credentials. Ask to see before and after pictures from their previous liposuction patients. And just as importantly, make sure the two of you communicate clearly.

Emory Aesthetic Center

Emory Aesthetic Center offers a variety of fat-removing procedures. If you’re interested in liposuction, schedule your complimentary consultation and experience the Emory difference today.

Request an appointmentor call us at 404-778-6880.

Liposuction versus CoolSculpting®: Which is Right for You?

Lipo vs CoolSculptingLiposuction and CoolSculpting® are two very different procedures that are designed to reduce unwanted fatty deposits. So with both procedures producing the same outcome in the end, how are you to decide which is best for you? Like so many things in cosmetic medicine, it depends . . .Let me break down the differences between the two so that you can make the best decision for you.

Liposuction was developed in the 1980’s and has been around a lot longer than CoolSculping. There are now many types of liposuction including Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL) – the original technique but still a great one; Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction (UAL) that uses sound waves to break up the fat, Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) that uses vibration, Laser Assisted Liposuction (LAL) that uses laser energy, and Fluid Assisted Liposuction (FAL) that works like a water jet. Despite the different approaches, all of these techniques can work well, and none is clearly superior over the other, despite marketing claims to the contrary.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure and can be performed under local anesthesia, under sedation, or with full general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia you will need depends on the area(s) to be treated and the amount of fat that needs to be removed. In general, the more areas that you treat, the more sedation or full general anesthesia you will need. The incisions for liposuction are small, typically less than 1/4 inch, so there isn’t much scarring. There is, however, a recovery period that lasts for a few weeks – bruising and swelling are most common. Patients can usually resume light exercise after a few days.

As opposed to liposuction, CoolSculpting® is a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia at all. The CoolSculpting system includes a disposable gel pad that is placed over the treatment area. A cooling head is then placed over the gel pad and suction is activated. The machine has a base that cools the liquid flowing through the headpiece and pulls the fatty area into the head, therefore, freezing the fat. After an hour or so (or two hours for a non-suction treatment type) the cooling head is removed and the frozen area is massaged briefly. Although there can be some discomfort when the tissue is first pulled into the cooling head, this becomes numb once the cooling starts and the massage doesn’t hurt. Like liposuction, it takes a few weeks to see the final result, and although there really isn’t much pain, like liposuction, the treated area can feel a little tender for a while.

Liposuction is the more aggressive treatment of the two, allowing more fat to be removed in a single session. Because CoolSculpting removes less fat per treatment, patients may need several sessions of CoolSculpting to get their optimal result.

Patients who are thinking about other cosmetic surgical procedures may be better candidates for liposuction than CoolSculpting since they would already be under aesthesia. In addition, the combination of liposuction with an excisional procedure (think tummy tuck with liposuction) is very powerful and can deliver dramatic results. Another example of when liposuction is preferable is when a patient might want to add volume to an area and they want to do so with their own fat. Liposuction can be used to harvest fat for fat transfer to another site. Liposuction is often preferred when there are many body areas that the patient wants treated, as these can be done all at one time, rather than over many different sessions with CoolSculpting.

CoolSculpting can be a great option for smaller fatty deposits. It is also a great choice for patients that are keen to avoid surgery, either for personal preference or because of health issues that may increase the risk of surgery.

Patients always wonder which is more cost effective – liposuction or CoolSculpting. This is another it depends situation. If a patient is treating a single small area that will probably be effectively treated with two sessions, then CoolSculping makes a lot of sense and may be cheaper. However if there are multiple sites to treat, and some of these will need three or more CoolSculpting sessions to get full resolution, then liposuction may be the less expensive of the two.

In the long run the choice of which is best for you depends on you – how you feel about it, what issues are the most important, and how aggressive you want to be in removing the fat. If avoiding surgery is super important to you, and you’ll accept less dramatic results in order to do so, then CoolSculping might be your best option. On the other hand, if you’d rather get as much fat off as possible, and would rather do this in one session instead of several, then liposuction may be your best bet. Let the board certified cosmetic surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center help you figure out what approach is best for you.

404-778-6880
emoryaesthetic.org

About Dr. Eaves

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.

Realistic Liposuction Results: What Can I Expect?

Liposuction ResultsUnderstanding what any treatment can do . . . and even more importantly, what it can’t do . . . is critical for you to know when considering the best cosmetic procedure to address your individual needs. This is particularly true for liposuction, as the tremendous popularity of the procedure has spawned some misconceptions and unrealistic expectations. In the right patient liposuction is a wonderful procedure with small scars, quick recovery, and dramatic results. However, in the wrong patient liposuction can lead to disappointment, and if pushed beyond appropriate limits, can even lead to deformity requiring surgical repair.

One of the most common misconceptions about liposuction is that it can help you loose weight. Liposuction, in general, is not an effective weight loss tool. In order to keep the procedure safe, there are long-standing recommendations to limit the amount of liposuction done on an outpatient basis. Very large amounts of liposuction can be associated with the development of loose skin in the treated areas.

Another misconception about liposuction is that it can tighten loose skin, especially if it is “laser liposuction” or “ultrasonic liposuction”. For sure the skin will retract some after any liposuction technique due to the skin’s inherent elasticity, however meaningful tightening typically doesn’t occur, despite marketing claims. Although rare, I’ve had to help a couple of patients in which their surgeon pushed an energy-based liposuction (laser or ultrasound) too far in hopes of tightening the skin. Doing this can lead to an irregular appearance to the skin, lumps, and even burns and visible scarring. The long and the short of it is, if you have significantly loose skin and want it to be smoother and tighter, liposuction by itself is probably not the procedure for you.

Cellulite – that frustrating, pitting appearance of the thighs or buttocks – is another area that patients sometimes expect liposuction to help but it really doesn’t. Currently there aren’t great treatments for cellulite that give consistent and dramatic results (again, despite the marketing!). Sometimes patients have pits that are associated with loose skin but don’t have real cellulite, and in these cases a body lift – not liposuction alone – can help these areas. Here’s a test you can do at home — lift up on the skin above the pitting area. If the pits smooth out dramatically, then the pits are probably related to loose skin in the area and you might be a candidate for a lifting procedure. If you lift and the pits just stare back at you, then a lift is probably not for you.

We’ve just reviewed the things that liposuction doesn’t do, but the great news is that liposuction of the right amount and in the right patient is safe, effective, and gives predictable results. The patients that do the very best with liposuction are at a good weight but have certain stubborn areas that just won’t go away with diet or exercise. The best candidates also have tighter, more elastic skin. Often, but not always, that means that younger patients are better candidates for liposuction.

However if you have some loose skin, don’t despair. Liposuction can still be a powerful tool to contour your body when combined with an excisional procedure. For example, let’s say you have some fatty collections in the love handle area and in the front of the tummy but you have loose skin in the lower part of the tummy. In this case you may be a great candidate for liposuction combined with an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Liposuction can smooth and contour the flanks and can thin the upper abdomen while excision of the fat and loose skin of the lower tummy will tighten everything up.

Another area where it is good to set expectations relates to recovery. Patients always want to know how they’ll feel after liposuction, how long it takes for the pain to fade, and how long until the swelling is gone and they see their final result. In general, liposuction is less painful and with a quicker recovery than excisional procedures, like a tummy tuck. Patients are often able to return to work after only a few days, and although they have some soreness for a couple of weeks, they are able to function well. Usually patients can resume light exercise within 2 weeks. There will be swelling, although often even swollen areas look better than before surgery. The majority of the swelling is gone by 3-4 weeks, although subtle amounts of swelling can take 3-6 months to resolve. You may also develop some bruising, and if so, this typically fades away within a couple of weeks.

Liposuction is the most common aesthetic surgical procedure performed in the United States, and with good reason: liposuction works and it works well. It works best in patients who are good candidates and who are not trying to have liposuction do more than it is capable of delivering. The board certified physicians of the Emory Aesthetic Center are happy to consult with you about what are reasonable expectations of liposuction in your individual circumstance, and help develop a treatment plan specific to you.

404-778-6880
emoryaesthetic.org

About Dr. Eaves

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.