Modern Liposuction: The Changes From the beginnings of liposuction pioneered by Drs. Fischer and Illouz, to today's surgery in which new techniques are being used, physicians who realize the potential of this operation are continuously refining it.
Modern liposuction differs in several ways from the early surgery.
When liposuction began, the primary objective was volume reduction -- to reduce the number of fat cells in a particular location by vacuuming them out of the body. The surgery worked. Thighs became thinner, buttocks became smaller, love handles became less prominent. Stubborn "bulges" that had previously refused to respond to diet and/or exercise were defeated by the liposuction surgeons.
While results of these early operations were considered "good," creative surgeons felt they could be better. True, there was less fat. But, these surgeons asked, do patients look as good as they possibly can?
Their questioning and their experiences, reported at medical meetings, led to a new objective for liposuction surgery: aesthetic body contouring. In short, creative surgeons began looking at liposuction as more than a technique for disposing of unwanted fat cells. The operation, these doctors said, can also be used to shape the body into more pleasing, more attractive contours.
CHANGES IN TECHNIQUE
When liposuction began, surgeons performing the procedure used an instrument called a cannula, or cylindrical hollow tube to enter the body and remove the fat cells. Often, the surgeon moved the cannula gently throughout the area of liposuction, "vacuuming" out the fat cells much as a person might vacuum a rug, using back-and-forth motions to sweep away unwanted cells.
Today, however, surgeons have a number of instruments to choose from. Though many of the designs of present-day instruments are based upon the blunt-tipped hollow tube, there are available a wide variety of curves, shapes, sizes, tips which allow the surgeon to reach many more areas of the body skillfully and effectively.
For men and women who are considering liposuction as a way of improving their appearance, these advantages mean a great deal. The tiny incisions often can be placed in a skinfold, thus making them hardly noticeable after surgery.
Because of improvements in instruments, surgeons can make incisions which are substantially smaller, as short as 1/8 inch long, in many cases. The result: virtually no scarring, less trauma (or shock) to the body, and faster healing.
The new instruments also have changed the surgeon's task. Instead of merely vacuuming away fat, he or she makes many tiny strokes in a number of directions. This "chiseling and feathering," as it is called, can be compared to chiseling marble in fine, little strokes. Aesthetically, results are far more pleasing.
Another technique -- used when appropriate -- is called autologous fat transplant. We will discuss it in detail in Chapter XXI. This technique allows fat cells to be taken from areas which have too many (saddlebags, buttocks, thighs, etc.). Then, during the same operation, these fat cells be surgically placed in areas of the patient's body which have too few fat cells, such as portions of the face, breast, etc. You can understand the basic technique if you think of it as sculpturing, in which a skillful sculptor adds small bits of clay to enhance his work and fill our unwanted hollows.
WHAT MODERN LIPOSUCTION MEANS TO YOU
Not every surgeon offering liposuction is using these modern techniques. Keeping up to date in this rapidly evolving field requires hands-on training and skill, along with a great deal of practice. Surgeons performing modern liposuction today report that the operation itself generally takes more time for the delicate "feathering" to be satisfactorily completed, and (if appropriate) for the transplanting of the fat cells, However, they report, results are considerably more pleasing.
Liposuction is used primarily for cosmetic surgery. Those who undergo the operation generally are doing so because they want to look better. For that reason, it makes sense to place yourself in the hands of an experienced surgeon whose skill and training will be dedicated to making you as attractive as possible through modern techniques.
At meetings and conferences of medical associations like The American Society of Liposuction Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, and similar organizations, physicians who realize the true potential of liposuction are continuously sharing their experiences and findings, They continue to refine the way in which this operation is performed.Previous Chapter | Next Chapter