By now, most potential liposuction patients, here in Ann Arbor, have probably heard of the many alternative procedures that promise similar results. New non-invasive treatments, such as CoolSculpting™, can be extremely effective for removing that last inch of stubborn fat around the belly or treating small pockets of fat in areas like the “bra bulge” or flanks. In fact, because of the popularity of these non-surgical options, the number of liposuction procedures performed in the United States has been steadily decreasing over the past few years. Once the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the country, liposuction became the fourth most popular procedure in 2012, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, the amount of surgical liposuction procedures performed last year still averaged more than 200,000. There is a clear reason why; liposuction works!
A quick view of the headlines will continue to reveal a large number of celebrities undergoing this procedure, most recently former beauty queen and Playboy model, Shanna Moakler. With so many alternative treatment options available, why do people like Ms. Moakler continue to seek regular liposuction treatments? There are a number of reasons why this tried and true method remains so popular. For many people, it is the quick results that liposuction delivers. Others enjoy the ability to remove large amounts of fat at once, or the precision that traditional liposuction offers. And of course, there are the many advanced liposuction techniques that have developed even as alternative methods have been introduced.
The results of a standard liposuction procedure are immediately apparent. While there are numerous non-invasive methods that destroy fat cells through the skin – usually through the use of cooling devices or ultrasonic waves – it takes time for the fat cells to be flushed from the body through natural processes. This process can take weeks or even months, with the patient experiencing little if any noticeable change in the mean-time. On the other hand, fat removal is instant during liposuction. The doctor uses a device that literally sucks the fat right out of you, removing the adipose cells from your body in one quick process. For many patients seeking liposuction, the instant payoff is an important factor in deciding which fat removal procedure to undergo.
Another key factor that leads many patients to seek surgical liposuction is the amount of fat that can be removed in a single procedure. Methods like CoolSculpting™ are great for getting rid of that last inch of stubborn fat that’s concealing your six-pack abs, but many people that seek this procedure have more than an inch to lose. Most standard liposuction procedures can be used to remove up to five liters of fat in a single session, equaling about 10 pounds. Imagine being able to shed 10 pounds of fat during a single procedure. For many people, the ability to achieve such a dramatic change in such a short period of time is just too good to pass up. In some cases, even more fat can be removed; although, these procedures may involve additional considerations. Ultimately, the precise amount of fat that can be safely removed during a single procedure is up to the discretion of the doctor.
Unlike the devices used during many non-invasive fat removal procedures, liposuction is typically performed using a thin suction device known as a cannula. The cannula can maneuver into many tight spaces that cooling and ultrasound devices can’t. This means that liposuction can be performed on many areas that non-invasive treatments are ill-suited for. Rather than being restricted to the abdomen and thighs, liposuction is also great for sculpting the arms, chin, neck, and breasts, among other regions. Also, because the surgeon is using a small suction head to remove pockets of fat, the level of precision is as high as the individual surgeon’s skill can produce. That’s why, in many cases, liposuction is referred to as liposculpture. A skilled surgeon can use liposuction to create the ideal contours that so many patients desire. After all, the goal of liposuction is not to simply remove fat; it is to remove specifically targeted pockets of fat to create a shapelier figure. This is why liposuction is so great for creating an elegant neckline or toned athletic arms.
Finally, the continued progress made by liposuction surgeons around the country keeps this procedure at the forefront of medical technology. While liposuction was performed through simple suction for years, today there are a number of techniques employed to make the procedure safer, more effective, and more comfortable for the patient. For starters, incision types have changed over the years. Today, many doctors use a skin punch that creates a hole smaller than a pencil eraser in diameter. These holes close on their own without sutures and allow the area to drain effectively, accelerating the healing process and leaving no visible scars. There are also several advanced techniques for breaking up the fat before it is suctioned out. Ultrasonic waves, while effective when administered through the skin, are just as good for breaking up the fat when delivered by the cannula. Lasers and vibrating (power-assisted) cannulas have also proven effective for rendering the fat easier to remove. These methods give doctors a number of options to choose from when performing liposuction, allowing them to focus on creating a sculpted final appearance instead of manually breaking up the fat. And they can remove fat more effectively from fibrous regions of the body, such as the back or enlarged male breast.
The advantages of traditional liposuction are numerous, and the results can last a lifetime. One of the best things about any modern fat removal cosmetic treatment is that once the fat cells are gone, they don’t come back. While the remaining fat cells can become enlarged, distorting the treated area, the results of fat removal can be maintained if the patient continues to follow a proper diet and exercise regimen. With so many techniques available, patients in Ann Arbor have never had as many excellent options for effective body sculpting as they do today.