Ultrasonic Liposuction
Ultrasonic Liposuction Guide
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Ultrasonic Liposuction Techniques

Liposuction has become extremely popular with various modifications of equipment and technique leading to cutting edge techniques such as ultrasonic liposuction. The use of ultrasonic technology has been on rise in all areas of medicine.

Liposuction is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic procedures in the world. Fat tissue is the tissue removed during liposuction procedures regardless of the technique used. The most common areas involved in liposuction are the abdomen and thighs in women and the abdomen and flanks in men.

The technique of ultrasound-assisted liposuction works by transmitting a high-frequency ultrasonic field through the skin that results in the breakage of the fat cells.

Ultrasonic liposuction techniques reduce blood loss and pain while giving the patient a smooth skin without severe complications.

Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction

Ultrasonic liposuction (UAL) is a procedure that uses high-pitched sound waves to liquefy fat located in a specific area of the body before it is removed. Ultrasonic liposuction is a type of liposuction that is primarily used for fat removal in hard-to-treat areas such as the chin, neck, cheeks, knees, calves, and ankles. Ultrasonic liposuction usually serves as an addition to tumescent liposuction for patients who require more precise body contouring.

Benefits of Ultrasonic Liposuction

There are several benefits associated with removing fat with the different ultrasonic liposuction techniques, including giving the Ultrasonic liposuction surgeon the ability to treat areas that have denser fat deposits and to remove larger volumes of fat at one time.

Ultrasonic liposuction additionally tightens the skin during the procedure, giving the patient better results and making it a great alternative to a tummy tuck or body lift in cases where excess or baggy skin is mild. Ultrasonic liposuction is often used after a tumescent liposuction procedure as a "fine-tuning" technique, since it allows for the liposuction surgeon to achieve more precision when removing the fat.

External Ultrasonic Liposuction Technique

External ultrasound liposuction is an ultrasound liposuction technique in which the ultrasonic energy is applied from outside the body, through the skin, making the specialized cannula of the internal ultrasound liposuction procedure unnecessary.

The external ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) technique requires the transcutaneous application of high-frequency ultrasonic fields into the wet tissue. Then, like in traditional liposuction, the fat is then sucked out and the fat cells are removed.

The use of high-intensity, high-frequency external ultrasound before liposuction has been reported to enhance the ability to extract the fat, increase the amount of fat extracted, and decrease patient discomfort during and after the liposuction procedure.

During an external ultrasonic liposuction technique ultrasonic energy is applied through the skin. This technique is differentiated from the Internal Ultrasonic liposuction technique, during which the ultrasonic energy is applied through a specialized cannula.

The external liposuction technique can also be effective for patients with gynecomastia because of its effect not only on the fatty tissue but also on fibrous connective tissue, as external liposuction leads to loosened cell-to-cell interactions and an altered structure of collagen, allowing the easy removal of the fat cells.

Recently, external ultrasonic liposuction at frequencies of 2-3 MHz and a potency of 3 W has been associated with complete fat tissue disruption - completely destroyed adipose cells (fat cells). Because of this; the external ultrasonic liposuction technique is very useful for body contouring, especially in patients with present fibrous and inveterate cellulitis.

The external ultrasonic liposuction technique allows much easier access through scar tissue. External ultrasonic liposuction is especially appropriate for treatment of male breasts and retraction of the skin on the neck.

Theoretically, the external ultrasound liposuction technique should soften or disrupt the fat tissue and facilitate the task of suctioning the fat during the liposuction procedure, making the patient more comfortable during and after the liposuction surgery, and improving the quality of the aspirate by decreasing the amount of blood. The external ultrasound liposuction technique is not widely used.

Soft tissue injuries, orthopedic trauma, and pain relief for chronic pain conditions all can be treated with external the ultrasound liposuction technique.

While the internal ultrasound liposuction technique can result in skin necrosis and seromas, the external ultrasound liposuction technique can, in theory, avoid this potential complication by applying the ultrasound externally.

It is believed that the external ultrasonic technique has the following advantages when compared to the internal ultrasonic liposuction technique:

  • The external location of the ultrasound device can lead to less discomfort for the patient during and after the procedure.
  • The external location of the device means the probe does not physically touch internal tissue (blood loss can, therefore, be decreased).
  • It allows superior access through scar tissue.
  • It is not constrained by internal structures and can, therefore, be used to treat larger areas.

The external ultrasonic liposuction technique is a safe, effective, and a great procedure for body contouring.

Internal Ultrasonic Liposuction Technique

The Internal ultrasonic-assisted liposuction technique is the most modern means of removing fat safely and with minimal discomfort, bruising or risk of unevenness. This ultrasonic liposuction technique works in conjunction with the tumescent liposuction technique or the super-wet liposuction technique.

The internal ultrasound-assisted liposuction technique requires the application of high-frequency ultrasonic fields the ultrasonic energy is applied through a specialized cannula. Then, like in traditional liposuction, the fat is then sucked out and the fat cells are removed.

The internal Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction technique (internal and not external) is the recommended treatment for gynecomastia since it is much more effective at treating this condition than traditional liposuction or tumescent liposuction alone. This technique is particularly efficient in removing dense, fibrous breast tissue in men and produces minimal external scarring.

With the internal ultrasonic liposuction technique, there is a risk of skin necrosis and seroma formation in certain areas of the skin. Therefore, interest has been garnered in the application of external ultrasound prior to the liposuction procedure.

VASER LipoSelection Ultrasonic Liposuction Technique

Another ultrasonic liposuction technique is VASER LipoSelection. In this ultrasonic liposuction technique, the Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance (VASER) System emits intermittent or continuous bursts of ultrasonic energy can be used to break up fat cells, which are then removed by suction with a cannula.

LipoSelection® is a liposuction technique that is exclusive to the Vaser System. In this technique the ultrasonic energy besides being used to dissolve fat cells can produce a speedier recovery period with less discomfort for the patient. Through the use of ultrasonic energy in this technique, LipoSelection leaves surrounding tissue, nerves and blood vessels virtually intact making this type of liposuction safer than other liposuction techniques.

In traditional ultrasonic liposuction techniques the Vaser System is not used. Instead, the fat cells are broken down and liquefied through ultrasonic energy (sound waves) that are emitted at the top of the cannula.

Ultrasonic Liposuction Procedure

Ultrasonic liposuction is a form of liposuction that uses ultrasonic sound waves to essentially "melt" fat deposits into a liquid state. Ultrasonic liposuction is performed also with the tumescent liposuction technique.

First, the ultrasonic liposuction surgeon injects the fat on the patient's body with tumescent fluid (the tumescent fluid is a solution that contains saline and local anesthetic with epinephrine). This helps prevent fluid loss during the fat removal process and makes the deposits easier to remove. Then, the fat is sucked out with a long thin rod called cannula. The suctioning of the fat is performed through a few small incisions, which are hardly noticeable.

When Ultrasonic liposuction is combined with the fluid injected during tumescent liposuction, the liquid fat emulsifies making its removal much easier.

During Ultrasonic liposuction: ultrasonic sound waves liquefy fat.

During an ultrasonic liposuction procedure, removal of the fat is started by sound waves produced by the ultrasonic device's generator. The ultrasonic waves are then transmitted to a thin, vacuum-like tube, called a cannula which also sucks out the fat. When the cannula comes into contact with the fat cells, they quickly liquefy, and are easily vacuumed out. Heat is generated by the rapid motion of ultrasonic vibration.

Ultrasonic liposculpturing techniques involved 3 fundamental steps:

  • Preparation of the areas to be treated with a large infiltration of a special solution (tumescent solution).
  • Treatment of the areas with ultrasonic energy through special titanium probes.
  • Manual remodeling and sculpting of the treated areas to eliminate the fluid from the burst adipocytes (fatty acids).

Both tumescent liposuction techniques and ultrasonic liposuction techniques liquefy fat before extraction. The anesthetic for ultrasonic and tumescent liposuction techniques is the same, usually local anesthetic is used for small areas and general for large areas.

The tumescent technique helps reduce blood loss and alleviate pain and allows the patient to be awake during liposuction surgery; therefore minimizing health risks for the patient when compared to the traditional liposuction technique. The local anesthesia is frequently supplemented with intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.

Ultrasonic liposuction techniques are generally performed as an outpatient procedure.

Areas Treated With the Ultrasonic Liposuction Techniques

Ultrasonic liposuction techniques can be used in all areas that traditional liposuction treats, but it works especially well on areas that require more precision. The areas treated with Ultrasonic liposuction include: stomach, midsection or "love handles", male breast tissue, chin, and neck. All of these areas respond well to Ultrasonic liposuction, as do areas that have been previously treated with liposuction but are in need of further contouring.

Additional Ultrasonic Liposuction Advantages

The action of manual liposuction can be time-consuming and physically taxing on the liposuction surgeon. The ultrasound liposuction technique appears to offer the advantage of breaking up the fat tissue to facilitate suction and decrease postoperative pain and swelling as well as allowing the patient to recover in a short period of time with less swelling and discomfort.

Ultrasonic liposuction techniques appear most useful for treating larger or more fibrous areas that would be otherwise be difficult to treat with liposuction alone.

The ultrastructure of cells is affected by ultrasound in ultrasonic liposuction. The ultrasound disrupts the cell's membranes and affects calcium influx, which can stimulate mast cell degranulation. Ultrasound can induce fibroblast activity and can also enhance collagen production. It can stimulate new capillary formation in chronically ischemic tissue. These effects make ultrasound liposuction techniques useful for the care of chronic wounds, as well.

Ultrasonic Liposuction Treatments

If the person does not gain any weight and maintains a healthy and active lifestyle, then he or she would only need one ultrasonic liposuction treatment per area and the results will be long lasting and rewarding.

Ultrasonic liposuction results can be long lasting if the patient does not gain considerable weight. Because the fat cells are removed during the ultrasonic liposuction procedure any new fat will not be gained in that particular area. This does not mean that the patient cannot gain the fat back; it means that the new fat will be located in an area different than the one treated with ultrasonic liposuction.

Ultrasonic Liposuction Candidate

The different ultrasonic liposuction techniques are a good option for removal of localized fat in patients with moderate obesity. This means that ultrasonic liposuction works best for patients who are about 10-20 pounds above their goal weight. Large volume liposuction can have substantial risk and should be performed in a hospital with at least an overnight hospital stay.

The best liposuction results involve healthy patients with good skin elasticity and localized deposits of excessive fat that they have been unable to lose with traditional methods such as diet and exercise.

Good candidates for liposuction should have realistic expectations and should not be obese. Liposuction is not a weight loss treatment. Some patients may require multiple liposuction procedures if they have more fat than can safely be removed in one surgery. In rare cases, patients can experience problems with the anesthesia.

To know more about liposuction or know if you are a good candidate for ultrasonic liposuction, set up an appointment with a liposuction specialist.

Cost, Length and Recovery Time Of Ultrasonic Liposuction

The price of ultrasonic liposuction is usually determined by the area treated, the extent of the procedure and the skill level of the ultrasonic liposuction surgeon. An average price per area for ultrasonic liposuction is around $2500.

The length of the ultrasonic liposuction procedure is between 45 minutes to 4 hours depending on the amount of fat to be removed and the number of areas treated.

After ultrasonic liposuction the person can expect to be back to most of their normal activities between 1 to 2 weeks and fully recovered by 1 to 2 months afterwards.

Ultrasonic Liposuction Risks

During Ultrasonic liposuction a large amount of heat is created therefore, there is a greater risk of burns, blistering, and scarring. An experienced Ultrasonic liposuction surgeon will know how to avoid this problem, but the risk is always present. Another risk of Ultrasonic liposuction is a condition called seroma. Seroma occurs when the body tries to fill the void created by the removal of the fat by producing excess fluid that must be drained continuously with a syringe until the cavity has closed.

Ultrasonic liposuction techniques are not recommended in the following cases:

  • Patients who are extremely obese or in poor health. Patients with cardiac problems in particular should not undergo external ultrasonic liposuction.
  • Only a limited amount of fat should be removed at each ultrasonic liposuction session.
  • There is some warn against performing ultrasonic liposuction around the neck and upper chest because of the possibility of creating depressions or noticeable cavities in these areas.
  • Ultrasonic energy can theoretically cause air emboli; this possibility should be considered when selecting sites for the procedure. To date, this injury has not been reported.

Find an Ultrasonic Liposuction Surgeon in Your Area

To minimize your risk of side effects, and to maximize your fat removal results, it is crucial that you find a qualified physician who is specifically trained in ultrasonic liposuction. Ultrasonic liposuction can be a transformative and rewarding treatment for the patient when performed by a skilled professional.

Use our surgeon locator to find an ultrasonic liposuction specialist near you!

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