Laser and ultrasound assisted liposuction, like traditional liposuction aren’t a weight control method or a fix for obesity. They are used to help contour your body in those areas that are not responsive to diet and exercise such as saddlebags or a paunchy stomach. Also like traditional liposuction, laser-assisted liposuction is most often used to reduce fullness in your:
- Upper arms
Traditional liposuction, one of the most popular forms of cosmetic surgery in the U.S. – typically starts with the administration of some form of anesthesia including local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia accompanied with the infusion of a saline solution into the area of the body where liposuction will be performed. The solution contains medication to minimize pain and bleeding. Then, a small hollow tube attached to a vacuum is inserted through a small incision into the fat layer beneath the skin. It’s moved around to break up the fat, which is then sucked out of the body.
Laser assisted liposuction takes advantage of the power and technology associated with medical laser beams to liquefy the fat which is then sucked out of the area.
Ultrasound assisted liposuction uses a special cannula that vibrates very rapidly and gives off ultrasound energy. As the cannula passes through the fat cells, that energy liquefies the fat cells, which are then su¬ctioned out. The ultrasound can be administered either above the skin (with a special emitter) or below the surface of the skin (with an ultrasound cannula).
Medical devices are used for a variety of medical procedures, but only certain devices are FDA approved or cleared for liposuction. Before considering laser or ultrasound assisted liposuction, it is important to determine that the device being used is cleared by the FDA.
Laser liposuction focuses low-energy waves delivered by a thin laser fiber that’s inserted through small incisions. The laser energy is focused on the part of the body where you’d like to have a fatty pocket removed. After the fat is melted, a small cannula is used to suck out the liquefied fat.
Ultrasound assisted liposuction
The fat is dissolved by the ultrasonic waves that are emitted from the end of a cannula that’s inserted through small incisions.. Ultrasonic waves delivered through the cannula emulsify or liquefy the fat. After the fat is liquefied, it is then sucked out through a small cannula.
- The most common potential complications of laser liposuction include:
- Minimal bleeding
- Skin burns
Managing your discomfort: You’ll probably be sore and a little swollen for a few days following laser or ultrasonic liposuction. Your doctor will provide painkillers to keep you comfortable.
Your doctor may advise you to wear a special compression garment to speed healing. Everyone’s recovery is slightly different, but most people are able to return to work within a few days.
In the long term
As you recover you’ll notice that your skin may begin to tighten as the new layers of skin form. This firming may continue for up to six months after your procedure.
These techniques remove fat cells that are not recreated. If you should gain weight, it’s likely that fatty deposits will not expand in the areas where the procedure was performed.
Cost is always a consideration in elective procedure or treatment. Cost for laser or ultrasonud assisted liposuction may vary based on the expertise and qualifications of the person performing the treatment, the type of procedure used, time and effort the procedure or treatment requires as well as geographic office location. In general, the cost for either of these procedures will be higher than trasitional liposuction. Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask. Costs may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Surgical facility costs
- Anesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
Be sure to ask your surgeon about all costs involved in your procedure
Your satisfaction involves more than a fee
When choosing a plastic surgeon for microdermabrasion, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the procedure.
Most health insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery or its complications.
- Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Were you specifically trained in the field of plastic surgery?
- Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
- Am I a good candidate for Laser Assisted Liposuction?
- What will be expected of me to get the best results?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure or treatment?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How are complications handled?
- How can I expect to look over time?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure?
- What results are reasonable for me?
Laser or ultrasonic liposuction may offer some advantages, such as sedation rather than general anesthesia, less trauma to the site and smoother skin in the end. But you should be aware that these techniques are still considered to be relatively new and there are few studies to prove the end results are better than traditional liposuction. It’s important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages with your plastic surgeon.
To find a qualified plastic surgeon who performs laser skin resurfacing, visit the online referral service of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). ASPS, founded in 1931, is the largest plastic surgery organization in the world and the foremost authority on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. All ASPS physician members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Caution: In the wrong or inexperienced hands laser or ultrasonic assisted liposuction can be dangerous. In addition to seeking a doctor who is trained and board-certified in plastic surgery, make sure the physician has specific experience with this types of procedure. As you do your homework, you should be suspicious if the liposuction pricing is far lower than what’s quoted by qualified plastic surgeons. This could be an indicator that the provider is not properly qualified to perform the procedure.