When it comes to liposuction, the Los Angeles-area plastic surgeons at Sunset Cosmetic Surgery have just about seen it all. Southern California is known the world over for its image-conscious population, with celebrities making headlines for the procedures and treatments they choose, and fans and style-seekers emulating their looks by choosing the same procedures and treatments for their own bodies.
There is not just one way to achieve a specific look, however. Anyone considering body contouring with liposuction should know that just as there diverse body types and aesthetic goals, there are also different variations of the surgical procedure designed to physically remove unwanted fat cells from the body.
Also known as “traditional” liposuction, this technique is likely what most people picture when they think of the surgery. The main feature of tumescent liposuction is the introduction of a specially mixed solution into the area targeted for reduction. This fluid, which contains an anesthetic, has several purposes: It dulls sensation so the patient avoids pain throughout the procedure, it causes the tissues to swell and firm up in preparation for the surgery, and it constricts blood vessels to minimize bleeding and post-procedural bruising.
Once the tissue is sufficiently firm, the plastic surgeon will make an incision and insert a specialized tool known as a cannula. This wand-like instrument can be moved back and forth to free and break up fat cells, then used to suction the loosened material out. When a suitable and safe volume of fat is removed, any incisions will be sutured shut.
This procedure is most often performed with the patient unconscious under general anesthesia.
Physically moving a cannula back and forth through tissue to be removed can be effective, but not as thorough at freeing fat cells as power-assisted liposuction. Known as PAL, this technique involves the use of a specialized cannula that vibrates on its own, replacing manual application of force with automated motion.
Because of the sophisticated device and its self-contained vibrations, the incisions can be smaller, a greater percentage of fat can be removed from an area, tissue trauma is reduced, and healing times are improved. This technique also allows for more refined fat removal in smaller areas.
Mini Sculpt Liposculpture
Similar in principle to tumescent liposuction, this liposculpture technique works on a smaller scale. That means anesthetic can be local, as opposed to general, and the techniques employed are more refined and précised. This strategy is more for definition than de-bulking, with easier recovery times and smoother results to match. Incisions are small, so any resulting scars are small, too.
Manual motion is not the only way to break up fat cells for removal. The SMART Lipo tool uses laser energy to heat the fat cells, rupturing them and making them easier to suction out. Depending on the scope of the surgery, general or local anesthetic may be used. Thanks to less trauma, downtime for post-procedural recuperation and recovery is reduced, making this an attractive option for patients with busy schedules.
Like SMART Lipo, this technique breaks up the fat cells without the need for physical back-and-forth motions, but whereas the SMART system makes use of a laser, VASERlipo® employs ultrasound energy. Though the mechanism is different, the result is the same: Fat cells are loosened and ruptured, then suctioned out through a cannula. Again, because this is less destructive to tissues as a whole, recovery is quicker and marked by fewer complications than with tumescent liposuction.
No matter the procedural specifics, all of these techniques have something in common: They are effective solutions to the problem of stubborn fat. Since diet and exercise are good for health, but imprecise when it comes to uniform fat reduction from head to toe, many people find that the only way to get the contours they are seeking is to physically destroy the fat cells that refuse to change in size.
Patients considering their fat-reduction options should also note that there are nonsurgical options available, too. Kybella®, for instance, is an injectable that uses a modified form of a digestive acid to disrupt fat cells and prompt their removal from the body by natural processes. The FDA has approved this treatment specifically for reducing double chins, and patients who want to target that area specifically can do so without the need for incisions or sutures.
Learn more about liposuction and the many techniques available from the Los Angeles-area surgeons at Sunset Cosmetic Surgery. Call 310-858-9100 or send a message online for more information.