Last year over 200,000 liposuction procedures were performed.
Liposuction is one of the most popular procedures performed in the United States. So many types of liposuction procedures are available that it is difficult to know which one is right for you. At Galumbeck Plastic Surgery, I have been performing laser liposuction for over six years on several thousand patients. Below are descriptions of the most common types of liposuction procedures available today.
This form of liposuction utilizes a low level external laser (635nm wavelength) to liquefy the fat. A small cannula is then inserted under the skin to permanently remove the fat cells and sculpt the tissues for precise results. No heat is generated by this procedure, so burning cannot occur as with Smart Lipo. A study published in the American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery° found that when compared to traditional liposuction, patients undergoing the laser liposuction procedure had less postoperative pain, less postoperative swelling and quicker recovery times. When performing tumescent liposuction our patients would wear their compression garments for six weeks, but with laser liposuction the garments are only worn for four days.
Tumescent Liposuction (Super wet technique)
This form of liposuction has been around the longest, starting in the 1970s. It is the most commonly performed type of liposuction. A tumescent solution (dilute anesthetic and epinephrine, to minimize bleeding) is injected into the areas of fat to be removed. A small cannula, a hollow metal tube, is introduced through an incision in the skin and the fat is scraped out by the use of a high vacuum. Because of injury to the surrounding tissue, most patients wear a compression girdle over the areas they have had liposuction to support the healing process for six weeks.
VASER (Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance)
This type of liposuction uses ultrasonic energy to emulsify fat which is then removed by a cannula. The internal probe that generates the ultrasound energy also generates a significant amount of heat which has caused 2nd and 3rd degree burns and permanent scarring.
A laser probe is inserted into the area of fat to be removed. The laser generates heat to melt the fat and the connective tissue under the skin. The melted fat is then removed by a cannula. Because this method generates heat under the skin, burns and permanent scarring have been reported.
This is a non-invasive laser system. The laser light is applied to the areas of fat. The laser is not inserted into the skin. According to the manufacturer, the laser causes a pore in each fat cell to open and the contents of the cell are released into the body. Since fat cells are not removed, they can accumulate fat contents again and grow in size. This non-invasive technique is non-specific since accurate sculpting of the body cannot be achieved.
Zeltiq Cool Sculpting
This is a non-invasive system that freezes fat cells. A hand piece is placed on the skin over the areas of excess fat. This hand piece then suctions the skin up between two cooling plates which freezes the fat. Because this method is external, precise body sculpting cannot be achieved.
I prefer Laser Liposuction since it allows for fast healing and precise results without the risk of burning or damage to surrounding tissues.
°Jackson, M.D., Robert F et al. “Low-Level Laser-Assisted Liposuction: A 2004 Clinical Study of its Effectiveness for Enhancing Ease of Liposuction Procedures and Facilitating the Recovery Process for Patients Undergoing Thigh, Hip, and Stomach Contouring.” The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery Volume 21, No. 4 (191-198), 2004.