When it comes to fishing, you can catch a fish with many different types of bait. The same is true with liposuction – there are many different techniques of liposuction that work. Conventional suction-assisted liposuction (SAL), power-assisted liposuction (PAL), ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), and laser-assisted liposuction (LAL) are all in vogue, along with non-surgical techniques such as external ultrasound, Zerona, and Zeltiq. So the big question is, “Which technique works best?” – with “best” taking into account patient safety, consistency of results, patient comfort, and other such issues.
According to a recent survey conducted by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, plastic surgeons in the United States vote in favor of SAL. Lest one think that this type of liposuction is your grandmother’s type and is hopelessly out of date, one needs to remember that what we mean by “Conventional Liposuction” today is light years beyond what that term meant 30 years ago when liposuction was in its infancy. Today’s suction tubes, known as cannulas, are made of space age materials, are less than 1/8 inch in diameter, and have a complex and exceedingly effective arrangement of suction holes which would make a Cal Tech Engineer proud!
The bottom line opinion of the plastic surgeons surveyed, as well as that of Dr. Jeff Kenkel, Professor of Plastic Surgery at the famed UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and one of the leading liposuction experts in this country, is that techniques such as LAL do not offer any better results than SAL and are often more dangerous. As an example, when the laser is used to heat up the undersurface of the skin during liposuction in an attempt to shrink the skin, one is playing with fire since the fine line between shrinkage and burning the skin is one that often does not exist!
This author feels the same – with SAL using the latest in cannulas and wetting solutions injected into the fatty areas prior to the procedure, you can do everything that the other surgical techniques can do, and do it in the safest manner possible. It’s not wrong to use the other liposuction techniques, but they have nothing additional to offer to the patient. Fish with worms – you can’t go wrong! Visit our Los Angeles Cosmetic Surgery website for more information.
George Sanders, MD