For decades, the standard method to remove small amounts of fat from the body in order to shape or sculpt a person’s contours was tumescent liposuction. This involved the injection of large amounts of a sterile, anesthetic solution to help break up the fatty tissue before removing it through a cannula (a thin, hollow tube used primarily for suction).
Cosmetic surgery is a field in which advances are commonplace, and new techniques are always being developed to provide better, safer, and more effective ways of giving people the bodies they desire. This is even true of procedures as established as liposuction — procedures that have been around about as long as plastic surgery itself.
The latest advance in fat removal procedures uses ultrasonic sound waves (sound waves that vibrate too quickly to be heard by the human ear) to break up fat cells which are then either removed through the traditional cannula, removed through a smaller micro cannula, or allowed to dissipate through the patient’s body to be eliminated through natural processes.
Ultrasonic liposuction works by focusing two or more “beams” of sound so that they meet at a point just below the patient’s skin. The somewhat violent mixing of these sound beams dislodges the fat cells from each other, making them much easier to remove. The only known disadvantage to this method is that, being a relatively new procedure in the cosmetic surgery field, there are no long-term studies that look at the effects of the ultrasound waves on patients over the long term. There have, of course, been enough studies of the short-term effects that the procedure has received FDA approval.
The main advantage to using ultrasound is that it is more effective than more traditional methods in certain difficult areas such as the upper arms, back, and upper abdomen. Also, the possibility of using ultrasound to dislodge fat cells without removing them surgically in some cases is preferable in that it avoids even the minimal scarring possible with modern tumescent methods.
Whether you choose to have ultrasound liposuction, or go for the more traditional tumescent technique, the first step is to book a consultation with Dr. Liu to discuss your goals for your body shape, as well as surgical and nonsurgical steps you can undertake to achieve those goals. Remember that any form of body contouring, whether new or traditional, works best when combined with a proper diet and an appropriate amount of exercise.
Options are good, and choice is good, and today we have more options than ever before in terms of how we want our bodies to look, and more choices in how we can go about attaining the healthy, youthful look we’ve always wanted.
Dr. Perry Liu is a Beverly Hills board certified plastic surgeon. His skills embody the convergence of art and medicine that is the essence of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. Dr. Liu is graduate of Duke University, and continued on to medical school at Emory University in Atlanta You can find Dr. Perry Liu on Google+.