Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Wave of the Future: Ultrasonic Liposuction

The Wave of the Future: Ultrasonic Liposuction
by Dr. Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S 
Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction (UAL) is a revolutionary body-contouring technique, based on the use of ultrasonic energy. Widely used in Europe for years, the UAL procedure has become increasingly popular here in the United States.

UAL uses high-frequency sound waves to "melt" fat into an easy-to-extract liquid. It allows the surgeon to suction larger volumes of fat, minimizing blood loss which may result in less postoperative bruising and swelling and therefore a faster recovery time than traditional liposuction.

For some patients, UAL may be a better option than traditional liposuction. Quite often, patients may have twice the amount of fat removed with UAL than traditional liposuction. In addition, the patient does not have to be at their optimum weight to have this procedure performed.

It is important to note, however, that UAL is not a substitute for dieting and exercise! In the future, UAL will probably become the preferred method of suctioning areas of dense fibrous tissue such as the upper abdomen, back and breasts. Traditional liposuction is often more abrasive than UAL and cannot be used in these areas as easily.

During the procedure, which may be performed as an outpatient, ultrasonic waves are transmitted to the tip of a specially-designed suction cannula. When this tip contacts the fat cells, they implode or explode inwards. The liquefied fat can then be removed by low pressure suction.

As with any major surgery, there are possible complications which may include bleeding, infection, prolonged bruising or numbness, and seroma (collection of fluid under the skin). After the procedure, patients should wear special support garments for four to six weeks to control swelling while the skin regains its proper shape and form. Recovery time varies, but generally, patients are able to return to work in three to five days and exercise may be resumed after several weeks.

Because UAL is so new and the machinery to perform the procedure is expensive, it may be a little more expensive than traditional liposuction (in some cases it may be 25 percent more expensive). UAL will not replace traditional liposuction; rather, it serves as a complement to the liposuction procedures available today. In some cases, it offers more precise and artistic body sculpturing than traditional liposuction.

Before proceeding with the UAL procedure, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the options available for body contouring surgery, and how as a patient, you can improve and maintain your surgical result. You should discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor before proceeding with any surgical procedure.

For more information see http://www.drgibby.com

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