Web Log – August 2009 – Liposuction Advice

Footbridge over Boise River
Footbridge over Boise River
     Every few years, a new technology is used to assist liposuction.  Some of them are helpful, all of them are expensive, and all of them are potentially dangerous.  With all craftsmen (surgeons and woodworkers included), the quality of the result is largely determined not by the tool, but by who is using it.
     The newest technology out there is laser assisted liposuction (eg. SmartLipo).  The idea is to melt fat with the heat of a laser and then suction the liquified product out with smaller cannulas (tubes) than are normally needed.  On patients with relatively small areas to be improved and in the right hands, this approach can give very good results.  I have chosen not to use it thus far as I do not feel the additional costs and risks are necessary to achieve a good result in my patients.  One exception is the minimal gynecomastia patient ( enlarged male breasts ) and I have referred these men elsewhere.  I am always on the lookout however, for the next great game changer.
     Any liposuction technique may give disasterous results if used incorrectly.  My Plastic Surgeon Coleagues in Boise and I have seen patients with skin burns and irrepairable contour deformities with laser liposuction and ultrasonic liposuction performed by non Board Certified Plastic Surgeons.  It should be noted that Board Certified Plastic Surgeons are the only surgeons to be formally trained to perform liposuction on the whole body as part of their residency requirements.  Nonetheless, any surgeon (including me) can have a poor result.  Well trained surgeons, however, minimize the chances that this may occur and properly consent their patients to the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the procedure.
     Please investigate your surgeon carefully as you will be looking at his or her work for the rest of your life.

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