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Promising body-contouring advancements are on the horizon

Article-Promising body-contouring advancements are on the horizon

Key iconKey Points

  • Laser-assisted liposuction is gaining popularity
  • Laser liposuction tends to ease entry into fat and saves wear and tear on operator's arm
  • More women are seeking body-sculpting procedures, including buttocks augmentation

Q: "Body contouring" is a broad category. In the context of your practice and patient population, what technique or technology has enhanced the procedures you perform?

Julius W. Few, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Dr. Few
"Body contouring continues to be a major area of interest, with liposuction continuing to be the most popular surgical application, according to data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. While there is exciting potential on the horizon for nonsurgical, energy-based therapies that make unwanted fat go away, there continues to be a place for liposuction. I have found, in my practice, a unique area somewhere between traditional liposuction and the newer noninvasive approaches. "Laser-assisted liposuction is an approach that has gained wide popularity in my practice. I use the technology very conservatively as an in-office utility. In my AAAASF-accredited operating room, I perform small to moderate laser liposuction cases under local anesthesia with an oral sedative. The typical patient is close to ideal body weight with areas of unwanted fat. These are patients who would not ever consider traditional liposuction, several of whom include physicians.

"Using moderate doses of energy and taking care not to overheat the tissue, the process is predictable with a rapid delivery of results and minimal recovery. I just saw a patient yesterday who had two rounds of noninvasive fat reduction at another office, without benefit (The patient is the best friend of my laser liposuction patient and she was the designated driver for my patient after her surgery). She was absolutely shocked at the recovery and lack of real discomfort after laser surgery. In particular, she was astounded by the immediate nature of her friend's result and ability to return to office work the next day, after abdominal and flank laser liposuction (500 cc yield).

"Here are the reasons I feel laser-assisted liposuction, or Slim Liposuction (Palomar Medical), has clinical benefit. The 1.5 mm fiberoptic probe allows for a very small point of access to the patient. Much like with ultrasonic liposuction, I treat to resistance and avoidance of overheating the skin, not an arbitrary temperature. The liquification process then allows for small cannula placement to aspirate the emulsified fat. The smaller cannula and small point of access, I believe, account for consistent reports of less pain and swelling after the procedure. I have found that patients really only need support garments for a week or so in many cases.

"I am excited to see the next wave of nonsurgical technology and related refinement. I believe this is an area of growth in aesthetic medicine and opens the door to patients previously unavailable. My prediction: Stay tuned for high-frequency ultrasound applications and further refinement of cryolipolysis. Ultimately, patient safety is the most important issue, and proper training and experience is vital with all technologies."

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