The field of plastic surgery has become inundated with advanced tools and technologies. There is an undeniable increase in the range of things that surgeons can do and the precision with which they can be done. However, barring special circumstances, traditional liposuction is still considered the gold standard of fat removal among industry experts.
By Peter B. Fodor, MD
and Chris Knisley
Liposuction arrived in America from across the pond during the early 1980s. The practice was already in use in European countries like France and Italy. Within a few years time, liposuction grew to become the most commonly performed plastic surgery in the country.
Thirty years later, the traditional method of liposuction is still the best.
Modern liposuction, sometimes marketed as lipo-sculpture, is complemented by various techniques but has yet to be entirely supplanted. In some cases, Dr. Peter Fodor explains, traditional liposuction can be preceded by other techniques to ensure the best result.
If, for example, Dr. Fodor encounters a density of fibrotic tissue, often as a result of a previous procedure, he will use ultrasound or laser technologies to break up scar tissue before it is subtracted.
The hallmark of traditional liposuction is the cannula; a thinner-than-a-pencil metal instrument used to extract the fat, held by the surgeon. But more important than that, says Dr. Fodor, is what lies at the end of such an instrument.
Results are the patient’s to live with. This means that surgeons are responsible for the effectiveness of their work. But that effectiveness is largely dependent on proper communication and the diagnoses that occurs between the two parties.
So, it is important for patients to know what they want and be able to communicate that desire. Then, the surgeon will do their best to bring the loftiness of dreams into a possible, substantial reality.
For patients to fully realize their desires, research is paramount. Patients most likely to achieve their desired result are equipped with the necessary information of what is possible, along with a well-honed personal expectation.
While Dr. Fodor holds firm that traditional liposuction still has its place in the plastic surgeon’s arsenal, he does not shy away from the spoils of innovation. He appreciates progress and is always engaged in the testing of new technologies. Some advances, such as the use of ultrasound and radiofrequency, may offer a complement to traditional liposuction but, as far as Dr. Fodor is concerned, nothing yet has come along to take its place entirely.