By Dr. Scott W. Mosser
In the last 20 years, liposuction has changed and improved with major upgrades and modifications every few years. But has liposuction finally reached the peak of its evolution with the new “Liposelection” technique? With better endpoints, faster recovery and less bruising and discomfort, it’s looking very promising…
What Is Liposuction? And what is Vaser Liposelection?
The concept of liposuction is surprisingly simple. Liposuction is a surgical procedure to improve the body’s contour by removing excess volume beneath the skin, that is: fat from deposits located between the skin and muscle. Liposuction involves the use of a small stainless steel tube, called a “cannula”. The cannula is connected to a source of suction and it does its work through small incisions in the skin. Fat removal is accomplished as the suction cannula creates tiny tunnels through the fatty layers. After surgery, these tiny tunnels collapse and thus result in an improved body contour.
Liposelection is a new technology that combines multiple past liposuction improvements with a safe form of ultrasound to give patients the best combination of safety and effectiveness available. To understand how Liposelection compares to other types of liposuction, it’s best to learn a bit about the history of liposuction, and the types of procedures that are currently available.
Background – A Brief History of Liposuction
Though liposuction actually dates back as far as 1926 (a French surgeon named Charles Dujarier), antiquated techniques were not safe, and the procedure didn’t get worldwide acceptance until 1982 when Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz showed that there were, in fact, ways to perform liposuction that were safe and predictable. The problem was that Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz used the (now defunct) Dry Liposuction technique, which had a degree of blood loss that was unacceptable.
In 1985, liposuction finally burst out of the gates, when two U.S. dermatologists solved the problem of blood loss by developing the tumescent technique. This involves using a solution that constricts the blood vessels, which is placed first in the tissues and then allowed to sit for a few minutes before liposuction begins. Dr. Klein then presented his technique at a scientific meeting and before long it became the worldwide standard. Two techniques, the Wet technique and the Superwet technique, are really just variants on the tumescent approach, representing simply differences in the amount of tumescent solution used.
Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
In the late 1990s, ultrasound was introduced to facilitate the fat removal by first liquefying it with ultrasonic energy. This is done by connecting a special cannula to a machine that makes the cannula vibrate very rapidly, causing the nearby fat cells to rupture. Then the fat is easily removed with suction, leaving behind fewer fat cells than with traditional liposuction. The problem with UAL is that this vibration causes heat, and therefore there is a higher risk of skin burns and fluid collections with some UAL procedures.
To the Rescue: Liposelection by Vaser
More recently, the Vaser Company came out with a new approach, which is called Liposelection: 1) use the tumescent technique to reduce blood loss, 2) incorporate ultrasound technology into the procedure, but 3) develop a brand new type of cannula that does not heat up when the ultrasound is being used. The Vaser cannula is designed completely differently from other ultrasound equipment, so surgeons can now take advantage of the benefits of ultrasound liposuction, without the added risks of UAL. With the Vaser device, the surgeon and patient gets the best of all worlds: low blood loss, faster recovery, more effective liposuction, and therefore better results.
Have we reached the ceiling in liposuction technology? Well, that’s always hard to say. The minute we think we’ve perfected a technique something new and exciting comes along to make it even better. For now, Liposelection is a strong contender for the best approach to liposuction body contouring. If someday something arrives that is even better at safely achieving my patients’ goals, I’ll certainly welcome that technology into my practice as well.
Copyright © 2006–2007 by Dr. Scott W. Mosser. This article may not be copied or reproduced in any form without the written permission of Dr. Scott Mosser. Internet links to the www.drmosser.com sub-page containing this article are permitted.