Liposuction has become a buzz-word. Almost anywhere one looks on the internet, there are stories about which movie star has gotten liposuction or about how liposuction can help you. Many people don’t realize, however, that the term liposuction can refer to any one of a wide variety of surgical procedures. While these different procedures all have the same goal–the removal of excess or unwanted fat–they use different equipment, technology and techniques to achieve this goal. This article will explain, in brief, some of the more common types of liposuction.
Tumescent liposuction was first developed around 1985, making it the oldest of today’s major liposuction procedures. Tumescent liposuction is also extremely popular, perhaps even the most commonly performed of all liposuction procedures. In tumescent liposuction, the surgeon first injects a mixture of fluids into the area that is going to be operated on. These fluids including medication and localized painkillers. This influx of fluids causes the fat to tumesce, or become firm and swollen. This firmness makes it easier for the surgeon to have fine control during the surgery. The excess liquid also helps to reduce blood loss. One advantage of tumescent liposuction is that it tends to be cheaper than some of the newer types of liposuction. Its relatively long history is both a positive and a negative–the technology is less cutting edge than many newer forms of liposuction. However, tumescent liposuction also is better understood because of its relative age: there is also a larger body of research about tumescent liposuction’s efficacy and possible side effects than about more recently developed methods.
Laser assisted liposuction is the second major type of liposuction. It is newer than tumescent liposuction, having been developed during the 90′s. As the name suggests, laser assisted liposuction is fat performed with the help of a surgical laser. The surgeon uses a specially designed laser to target and melt fat cells in the desired area. Once the fat cells have been melted and broken down, it is easy for the operating surgeon to suction them out of the body. The use of the surgical laser helps to reduce the amount of tissue trauma, and it also reduces the chances for bruising or scarring. Some research suggests that laser liposuction has better fine control than tumescent liposuction. However, the skill of the surgeon is also a crucial factor. Laser liposuction is ideal for removing small amounts of fat in areas that are difficult for tumescent liposuction to reach. Laser liposuction cost tends to be more expensive than tumescent liposuction; however, many people find that its offers of reduced pain and improved results to be worth the extra expense.
One of the newest types of liposuction to be introduced is water assisted liposuction. Water assisted liposuction has only recently been performed, and it is still not entirely widespread throughout the United States. Initial reports show that water assisted liposuction may be even more effective and lower impact than laser liposuction. Some people claim that it is the future of liposuction. However, due to its relative newness, it is difficult to know whether or not these claims will be fully substantiated.
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