If you’ve been considering liposuction, you’re probably wondering what, exactly, the difference is among all those possible techniques. Here’s the scoop on all the available lipo options to help you make the right choice for you.
Also referred to as traditional liposuction, tumescent lipo starts out with an injection of special saline solution into the targeted area. This process helps to break up the fat cells so they can be removed more easily. During the withdrawal process, the cannula (hollow surgical tube) is often moved under the skin with a vigorous back and forth motion to further loosen fat cells.
Introduced in 2007, laser-assisted liposuction (brand name Smartlipo™) is the latest technology for performing liposuction. Using laser energy, the fatty tissue is liquefied for removal. Very small incisions are made near the target area, through which a tiny laser fiber is inserted. A cannula is then used to remove the liquefied fat cells.
Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction, or UAL (brand name VASER®) uses high-frequency sound waves to emulsify fat deposits, which can then be removed with a small cannula. Since these sound waves are specific just to fat cells, the surrounding blood vessels and soft tissues are not affected during UAL treatments.
The Best Choice
So which type of lipo will give you the best results? The truth is, there’s no one right answer. Every surgeon will have their preference as to which method they personally prefer, or may recommend one technique over another for your specific needs. Ultimately, however, all surgeons agree on one thing: the tool used is secondary to the skill level of your surgeon, so make finding the best surgeon your top priority.
Dr. Alexander received his Medical Degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, one of the country’s first medical schools, and then had five years of intensive general surgery training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, serving as chief resident in 1993-1994. There he was one of two residents honored “Outstanding Teacher” by the Whitehead Society.
After becoming Board Certified in General Surgery, Dr. Alexander attended the University of California San Francisco, one of the premiere Plastic Surgery programs in the United States. There he completed two additional years of residency training in Plastic Surgery. Dr. Alexander is double board certified in Surgery and Plastic Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Alexander specializes in facial rejuvenation, and was the first surgeon in California to perform the QuickLift,™ a revolutionary surgical procedure that takes years off the face with less downtime than traditional facelifts. He is a specialist in chemical peels and laser surgery and was selected to author the chapter “Facial Resurfacing” in Plastic Surgery, the premiere textbook of the specialty. He also specializes in facial cancer reconstruction and endoscopic, minimally-invasive procedures, publishing his own original research about endoscopic plastic surgery. He lectures in medical forums and has presented his results at both national and international surgical meetings.