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Laser Liposuction

What changes in Liposuction treatments have occurred over time?

Tumescent liposuction has been the most common cosmetic surgery performed in the United States, with over 400,000 operations performed in 2006, alone. As the American epidemic of obesity has risen, the public’s demand for liposuction has continued to rise as does the interest in new technology and techniques to improve the safety of these body sculpting procedures.

In the past two decades the traditional form of liposuction has undergone a series of evolutionary changes, including the introduction of the use of anesthesia and the refinement of the liposuction hand-sets (cannulas) for the use on specific regions of the body. Despite these advancements, limitations of the technique often include swelling, bruising, surgeon fatigue and difficulties in skin surface contouring.

What advancements have been made in the field of Liposuction?

Several new technologies in liposuction have been modified to facilitate the removal of body fat while allowing for a faster procedure time, a reduction of strain on the surgeon, and decreased recovery time for the patient and a reduction in overall discomfort. These innovations include the advent of laser-assisted liposuction.

What is Laser-Assisted Liposuction?

Laser liposuction is a European technology where the removal of fatty tissue is conducted via small, easily concealable, incisions that are made in the skin at the region of treatment. A small optical laser fiber (1-2 mm in size) is introduced through a small hand-set called a cannula directly into the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat.  A red diode aims a beam at the tip of the cannula, which provides the surgeon visual guidance during the treatment procedure. 

The degeneration of collagen (fibrous fatty tissue) and dermal reorganization that occurs during the liposuction treatment results in the reduction of fatty tissue and the tightening of the dermal and epidermal tissues. The laser is also effective in causing small blood vessels to coagulate immediately, reducing bleeding, swelling and bruising. Because of the small size of the fiber optic tip, laser-assisted liposuction has become the standard for treating a greater number of hard to reach areas of the body.

When is Laser-Assisted Liposuction appropriate and who are candidates for the procedure?

Laser-assisted liposuction is not traditionally intended to be utilized as a weight-loss technique however this treatment is commonly used on individuals to remove diet and exercise resistant fat deposits and to sculpt a slimmer profile.  Only a board certified physician can determine the most suitable candidates for the laser liposuction procedures.

When is Laser-Assisted Liposuction most effective?

Laser-assisted lipolysis is most effective when utilized as a treatment for improving skin laxity after traditional liposuction has been performed or for small areas of fatty deposits that occur from the natural aging process.  It is not recommended for individuals who have problems with obesity, large fatty areas or stretch marks. The laser is effective in the treatment of areas with high vascularity or where the use of large cannulae may be problematic. Because the laser combines fat melting with skin tightening it can be used in the same areas where liposuction can be used but where skin laxity may be made worse by the use of traditional liposuction treatment.

Is Laser Liposuction favorable over traditional Liposuction?

Although laser-assisted liposuction itself has not demonstrated itself to have a clear and significant clinical difference in outcome over traditional liposuction, the reduction of arm motion and fatigue of the surgeon results in less trauma being caused to the patient, which in turn reduces the incidence of swelling and bruising. Additionally, the skin tightening capabilities of laser-assisted liposuction are superior to traditional liposuction on smaller problem areas.

What is the disadvantage of Laser-Assisted Liposuction?

The single disadvantage to laser-assisted liposuction is that the procedure renders the fat tissue unsuitable for fat transfer or redistribution to other regions of the body. Caution also must be taken when undergoing large volume liposuction because there is an increased risk of burns from the laser tipped cannula.

Who is qualified to perform Laser Liposuction?

Only board certified surgeons are qualified to perform laser-assisted liposuction surgery.  Board certified surgeons are medical doctors who have acquired at least two-years in additional training to perform plastic and cosmetic surgical procedures.

What is the cost of Laser-Assisted Liposuction?

The cost of laser-assisted liposuction is variable and is determined by geographic location, skill of the surgeon and the number of body areas and treatments that are required for optimum results.

Furthermore, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has issued a recent public warning that consumers looking to cut costs during the current economic downturn cannot afford to cut corners on quality of care and that searching for bottom-basement pricing may impact safety. The directive states that patients should proceed carefully prior to putting their health and physical bodies in the hands of anyone who is not qualified to perform surgery.

Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.

By Anti-Aging.org Staff
Updated: January 16, 2009

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