LIPOSUCTION is a surgical fat removal technique that’s been in use for decades. Does that mean everyone knows what it is, and understands the process, the recovery, and the results? Of course not.
As it often happens, some of our best discussions arise from questions raised by patients and potential patients. This is a recent one:
Q: How long has liposuction been around to know the long term risks? Does visceral fat replace the fat removed?
In answering these very thoughtful questions, let’s take a brief walk through recent history:
WHEN & HOW WAS LIPOSUCTION DEVELOPED?
Modern body contouring with fat removal was first performed by French surgeon, Charles Dujarier, in the mid 1920’s. However, it wasn’t until the mid 1970’s that Italian surgeons, Arpad and Giorgio Fischer, described the use of using blunt tip cannulas linked to suction to remove fat from the outer thigh area.
In the early 1980’s French surgeons Yves-Gerard Illouz and Pierre Francois Fournier extended the procedure to other areas of the body and promoted the use of various sizes of cannulas. Illouz later developed the “wet technique” in which a solution of saline and hyaluronidase was first injected to help dissolve the fat and resulted in less trauma and bleeding, allowing for more and larger areas to be safely treated in one procedure. This procedure was further modified by Dr. Jeffery Klein and became known as the “tumescent technique” of liposuction.
In the past two decades, machines have also been employed to aid in the break-up of denser areas of fat. These “energy assisted” types of liposuction can utilize ultrasound, laser, or radio frequency energy to aid in liposuction procedures.
HOW ‘POPULAR’ IS LIPOSUCTION?
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery statistics show that approximately 176,863 liposuction procedures were performed in the U.S. in 1997, and this number has steadily increased to well above 400,000 procedures yearly.
IS IT SAFE?
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications that can occur with a liposuction procedure and these can include bleeding, clotting, infection and contour deformity. However, the majority of patients, who undergo liposuction, do not experience complications and most are very pleased with their results.
RESULTS (and your role in maintaining them)
There are few long term risks with liposuction surgery and the procedure does not result in increases in visceral fat, per se. However, liposuction should not be considered as an alternative to a healthy life style of good diet and exercise. Therefore, if an individual’s caloric intake is greater than what they burn through normal exercise, they can still gain fat (and weight) following liposuction. Remember, maintaining a healthy body is your responsibility, as well. Best wishes.
[Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Vincent Lepore specializes in liposuction for San Jose and Palo Alto residents who want to sculpt their facial and body contours. Please call to schedule a Cosmetic Consultation, free of charge; (408) 356-4241]