The different techniques for liposuction
A liposuction involves permanently removing fatty deposits situated between the skin and musculature. The procedure is performed with a hollow surgical probe which is inserted into a small hole in the skin. The probe is moved back and forth through the tissue. It is in turn connected to a vacuum hose which sucks the fat out.
The surgical challenge of all liposuctions is:
- To remove the right amount of fat
- To limit the damage on surrounding tissue like blood vessels and connective tissue.
- To maintain the patients fluid balance on an even level
- To minimise the patients discomfort during and after liposuction
In order to in meet the challenges above there have, since the introduction of liposuction in the 1970’s, been introduced an array of different methods which has made today’s liposuction both easier, safer, faster and more effective.
All the different methods which are available today can be divided into two major techniques. These are distinguished by the way fat cells are broken down before being removed. In the first and most common method this is done mechanically, by physical force, and in the second later technique high frequency energy och waterpreassure is used to break down the fat before removal.
Traditional techniques for liposuction
The most common method for liposuction is wet liposuction/tumescent liposuction. It entails a mixture of saltwater, anaesthetic and adrenalin which is injected into the tissue to be liposuctioned, preparing the tissue, limiting fluid loss and minimising bleeding. Following this, a thin metal probe is placed under the skin where it is moved back and forth through the fat tissue in order to break it down as well as assisting the vacuum removal of the fat cells.
In some cases a motor driven probe is used which lightens the manual work of breaking the fat structure for the surgeon. This method is known as PAL – Power Assisted Liposuction.
The other common method for lipoplasty is sometimes known as liposuction with ultrasound. This involves first working on the fat layer by inserting a probe with ultrasound waves which break down the fat cells before they are sucked out.
New techniques for liposuction
Liposuction with traditional methods is an effective way of removing local fat deposits. The technique used does however have some disadvantages. The greatest being the risk of slack skin and the fairly uncomfortable and lengthy post surgery lapse as well as the procedure generally being performed under narcosis.
There are now several new methods developed with the aim of retaining the advantages of traditional liposuction while minimising the disadvantages. The new methods involve breaking down the fat using thermal energy before it is sucked out. These methods are called EAL- Energy Assisted Liposuction on the international market.
The most known of the new methods is LAL, Laser Assisted Liposuction and the latest is called RFAL, Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction.
With both laser liposuction and radiofrequency liposuction the fat is first worked on with high frequency energy so that is melts before being sucked out, implying less physical force to break down the fat while the high frequent energy provides a skin tightening effect.
Alternatives to liposuction
There are three alternatives to liposuction. The first is changing eating habits, exercise and to enhance ones best sides with clothes/make up as well as accepting one’s body and appearance. Even if healthy food and exercise can take longer time and greater will power than effective liposuction, these changes affect the entire body and are good for one’s health.
The second alternative to liposuction is other plastic surgery procedures, for instance tummy tuck which is suitable when excess fat is not the only issue but also skin that has lost its elasticity. Instead of removing fatty tissue under the chin a face lift may be preferred in some cases, since it also trims the skin and lifts the lower part of the face. The problem of enlarged mammary glands in men (gynecomasti) can in many cases be solved with breast reduction surgery instead of liposuction.
The third possibility, alternative treatment, is suitable for those who feel liposuction is a large or costly procedure. For those people there are alternative treatments which have been documented to their effectiveness, if not as obvious as with liposuction. Some of the most known are Lipolys, Mesotherapy and LPG Endermologie.