Liposuction Still Rules

If you follow the aesthetic world, you know the ever-increasing world of non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments to remove fat and tighten skin.

But no matter how advanced they get, these procedures still can’t touch liposuction for effective removal of unwanted pockets of stubborn fat and body contouring. This explains why, every year in aesthetic statistics, liposuction is one of the top two or three procedures performed in the U.S.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction uses a cannula (the hollow tube with suction) to break loose and then suction away pockets of unwanted fat on the abdomen, flanks, and other areas. Although some people think liposuction would be a great way to lose weight, these are actually not weight-loss procedures; they are body contouring procedures. A small incision is made in the target area, and the cannula is inserted. It is moved back and forth to break loose fat cells, which are then suctioned away by the cannula. The result of liposuction is a slimmer contour as the underlying fat is removed.

How has it changed?

Liposuction first came to the United States from France in the 1980s. The original procedure was quite different from today’s techniques. Originally, the patient had to be under general anesthesia. The cannulas used were pretty large, and they had to be moved about very aggressively under the skin to break loose and suction away the fat. This created a good deal of tissue trauma, blood loss, and subsequent bruising. Bruising from the original liposuction treatments could linger, especially when used on the thighs, for months.

Today, Dr. Barrera first injects the target area with tumescent solution. This consists of saline solution, epinephrine, and Lidocaine. The saltwater swells the area just a bit, making it easier to work and get at the fat cells. The epinephrine constricts the fat cells making them easier to break free. It also constricts the blood vessels, which limits blood loss and subsequent bruising.

Today’s cannulas are much smaller, typically less than the size of a dentist’s suction wand for saliva. This makes it easier to move them around and carefully sculpt the fat in the treatment area.

Dr. Barrera also can add a vibrating motor to the cannula. This is known as power-assisted liposuction, as the vibrations help to break loose the fat cells. He also uses ultrasound-assisted liposuction, where ultrasound energy is delivered under the skin prior to the cannula being inserted. Dr. Barrera uses these different options if they are appropriate for the patient.

Interested in losing your stubborn pockets of fat? Call Dr. Barrera at (713) 468-5200 and set up a consultation for liposuction.

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