Dr. Neinstein’s article in Medical Law Perspectives, October 2017:
Liposuction has come a long way over the last 30 years. In its early days large instruments were used in forceful ways to extract a large volume of fat. This caused significant physiologic issues such as bleeding and fluid shifts. Patients were admitted for many days, and suffered the consequences of the procedure being in its infancy. Over the last few decades the technology and techniques have evolved.
With the evolution of minimally invasive and non-surgical medicine more patients are seeking a less invasive approach to body contouring. Many of the non-surgical fat reduction devices do not have the consistency and predictability in outcomes that many patients desire for the current price points. This is why minimally invasive liposuction has a perfect fit in the market.
Currently, oral sedation instead of traditional general anesthesia often is used. This helps alleviate the concerns many patients have with general anesthesia and rapidly speeds up the recovery process. A numbing solution is applied under the skin directly into the fat using weight based dosing regimens. Patients feel some pressure during this phase but minimal discomfort, if any. At this point, energy is added to the fat and the skin. There are many forms of energy such as laser, radiofrequency, ultrasound, and now plasma. Ultrasound is favored for its safety and efficacy profile.
Once the fat is melted, the excess fat is gently removed with a tiny cannulas. This process minimizes inflammation, bruising, and swelling. Ultimately, there is predictable fat reduction with minimal downtime. The psychological burden of liposuction is minimal given that the focus is to try to optimize the patient’s anatomy, and not completely change it. Because of the minimal scarring and downtime, the minimally invasive technique has become quite common in male patients who are traditionally not liposuction-seeking patients. Complications are reduced with this technique, especially the most sinister ones such as blood clots.
As technology and techniques improve, surgical fat reduction will become less and less invasive but will still provide a superior outcome compared to nonsurgical devices, and thus remain in demand by society.
As published in Medical Law Perspectives