Another technique that is commonly used in liposuction surgery is ultrasonic liposuction. Ultrasonic liposuction refers to a surgical technique that incorporates ultrasound waves that has numerous benefits.
Although ultrasonic liposuction adds time to the liposuction procedure, it has the advantage of leading to less tissue damage in the patient, as well as less bleeding and the ability to remover large volumes of fat from the patient. However, to achieve these advantages, ultrasonic liposuction takes up more time procedurally and the plastic surgeon has to utilize more complicated equipment.
What is Ultrasonic Liposuction?
Ultrasonic liposuction was first introduced in the late 1980s and in 1987 the first internal ultrasonic liposuction patents were issued. Currently there are two main forms of ultrasonic liposuction - internal ultrasonic liposuction and external ultrasonic liposuction. Before detailing the differences between these two forms of ultrasonic liposuction, some general information about ultrasonic liposuction will be given.
Known as ultrasonic assisted liposuction (UAL), this liposuction surgical technique incorporates an ultrasound attachment to the traditional liposuction probe (or as it is technically known cannula). Due to the additional use of an ultrasound attachment, the cannula now serves a dual purpose as an ultrasound probe and a suction probe. Acting as an ultrasound probe, the cannula can now use ultrasonic waves to break up the fat deposits found within the patient's body and liquify this fat into an emulsion, in which the fat deposits become an oil that is mixed with the traditionally injected fluids used in liposuction surgery.
Due to its ability to turn fat into oil, ultrasonic liposuction does not need to use any mechanical action to break up the fat deposits that are to be removed from the patient's body. As a result, ultrasonic liposuction reduces tissue damage and bleeding.
What are the Advantages of Ultrasonic Liposuction?
- The ability to remove large volumes of fat from a patient's body in a single operation with up to 50% less bleeding than other liposuction methods.
- The ability to break up tough and fibrous fats in areas of the body where fat cannot be removed through traditional liposuction methods due to the danger of large tissue damage. These areas include: the abdomen, back, buttocks, calf, face, and neck.
- The possibility that ultrasound liposuction can break up cellulite.
Additionally, ultrasonic liposuction has the advantage of requiring less suction to pull out the fat. This is because the use of ultrasonic waves have broken down the fat deposits that are to be extracted from the patient's body more thoroughly than in traditional liposuction procedures. As a result, plastic surgeons find that ultrasonic liposuction is the most ideal surgical technique when a patient wants to have large amounts of fat removed from their body.
Two types of procedures
As previously mentioned, there are two main types of ultrasonic liposuction procedures:
Internal ultrasonic assisted liposuction refers to the liposuction procedure that utilizes a long metal probe that is inserted into fat through a large incision. The long metal probe can either be solid or hollow and internal ultrasonic liposuction operations are usually performed with either general anesthesia or heavy IV sedation.
External ultrasonic assisted liposuction utilizes a metal paddle that is applied to the patient's skin, which directs ultrasonic energy into subcutaneous fat. A relatively new surgical procedure, the merits of external ultrasonic liposuction are widely debated within the cosmetic surgery community. While many plastic surgeons claim that they have immense health benefits, other plastic surgeons view them as gimmicks. As the technology and methods used in external ultrasonic liposuction continue to progress, it will be seen within a decade whether this liposuction method will last.
Ultrasonic liposuction surgeries have a large number of benefits but it is not widely used due to its disadvantages. The use of ultrasonic waves provides a number of challenges to the plastic surgeon. Although ultrasonic waves enable plastic surgeons to break up fat deposits in the patient systematically, since ultrasonic waves create a high-energy disturbance, there are increased chances that the patient will experience burns and nerve damage from the procedure.
Additionally, ultrasonic liposuction has not progressed to the point where the incisions needed to use the medical instruments required for the surgery are as small as traditional liposuction methods. As a result, patients of ultrasonic liposuction will find that they will have larger scars.
Despite its disadvantages, ultrasonic liposuction may be the best procedure for you. This is because ultrasonic liposuction contains a number of advantages that other methods of liposuction do not contain.
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