Breakthroughs in Plastic Surgery

Liposuction Less Risky with New Techniques

Liposuction Less Risky with New Techniques

Liposuction has come a long way since its inception, with the development of new technologies designed to remove fat more efficiently. Now, a new study reveals what works, and what doesn’t, and which techniques are safest.

Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgeries worldwide, and the development of new techniques has provided plastic surgeons with a safe and efficient way to shape the human body through fat removal. Now, a new study illustrates what works — and what doesn’t — in liposuction procedures.

Over the years, the technologies and instruments used in liposuction have evolved significantly since its introduction. To determine whether all improvements have been for the better, a group of four plastic surgeons in Cali, Columbia, analyzed outcomes from more than 25 years of liposuction procedures performed on more than 26,000 patients. The study authors found that tumescent liposuction and laser-assisted liposuction (LAL) have improved the safety of liposuction procedures, reducing the risk of anemia, a common complication affecting 18 percent of all patients, while still delivering the best aesthetic results.

However, there are still some risks with every type of cosmetic surgery procedure. Tumescent liposuction has been shown to increase the risk of post-surgical seromas — a mass or swelling caused by the localized accumulation of serum (a yellowish fluid) within a tissue or organ that can develop after surgery. Also, the incidence of skin necrosis was significantly higher in patients who underwent UAL than for other techniques, which led the study authors to abandon this practice.

Although 90 percent of patients reported experiencing postoperative pain, regardless of the technique that was used, an average of 82 percent of patients were satisfied with the outcome of their procedure, and satisfaction levels were similar for all of the liposuction techniques covered in the review.

Study results appear in the current issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. Before deciding on what sort of liposuction would be best, prospective patients are advised to talk to an experienced surgeon who is board certified in plastic surgery to discuss the treatment options available. Using a qualified surgeon will increase the odds of success, reduce the risk of complications, and help ensure that the doctor uses the most appropriate procedure — not simply the newest gadget.

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