Liposuction is a fantastic way to help achieve a sexy body contour for most patients. There are many variations of liposuction available, and this procedure is often combined with other procedures such as abdominoplasty, brachioplasty, breast augmentation, breast lift, and/or a brazilian butt lift during a comprehensive body contouring operation. Here we provide background information about liposuction and answer some of the more common questions that we are asked in order to help you make your best decision.
History Of Liposuction
Liposuction has undergone numerous changes over the decades. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, physicians often performed “dry” liposuction. Instruments were used to break apart fat and remove it with a large cannula. At that time, no additional fluid, lidocaine, or epinephrine were used. Overall, this was quite unsafe and often resulted in poor aesthetic results.
In 1985, Dr. Jeffrey Klein, a board-certified dermatologist, used a solution of epinephrine and lidocaine diluted in saline to perform the first “wet” liposuction procedure. This mixture of sterile saline, lidocaine, and epinephrine later became known as “tumescent solution”. Hence, why surgeons commonly refer to this procedure as “tumescent liposuction”. Since the discovery of tumescent liposuction, the concentrations of lidocaine and epinephrine within sterile normal saline have been the topic of numerous academic studies and safe limits have been clearly delineated.
There has also been a myriad of liposuction techniques described. The most common methods of liposuction include traditional liposuction with simple cannulas, Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL), laser-assisted liposuction (“Smart Lipo”), and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (“VASER Lipo”). Dr. Stephan uses the PAL system, which incorporates small rapid back-and-forth motions of the mechanical handset and a small cannula to break up and remove fat, while preserving adjacent small blood vessels. Smart Lipo and VASER Lipo systems have been shown in many academic studies to have no better results (but many more complications) than the method that Dr. Stephan uses.
What Does The Liposuction Procedure Entail?
The procedure starts by making small entry sites for the cannulas and then infiltrating tumescent solution into the fatty area of concern. Again, tumescent fluid is a dilute, safe solution that contains normal saline, lidocaine, and epinephrine. The epinephrine causes the very small blood vessels to constrict, which results in minimal bleeding during the operation and keeps most of the lidocaine in the area undergoing liposuction (which results in less pain). The amounts of lidocaine and epinephrine that Dr. Stephan administers are well within the safe threshold as determined by numerous academic studies. A period of time is allowed to pass for the epinephrine and lidocaine to take full effect. The fat is then removed via liposuction. If the fat is to be transferred to another part of the patient’s body, it is cleansed and prepared for safe transfer.