Laser liposuction is marketed as the smarter and slimmer form of liposuction. Due to the magic ascribed to lasers, which are simply a form of light, laser liposuction is one of the most frequent requests reaching our Caribbean cosmetic plastic surgery clinic at Trinidad Institute of Plastic Surgery.
Liposuction (and we prefer the term liposculpture) in general and laser liposuction in particular is a body contouring and not a weight loss procedure. The basic objective is to remove fat, where its excess interrupts the body’s smooth contours e. g. bulges at the waist, bra rolls, chin, arms or abdomen. In its early days when performed with large traumatic cannulas the procedure was followed by a recovery phase with more and longer lasting pain, swelling and bruising than clients would readily accept.
Ever since these days in the 1970’s there has been a quest for technology to improve the recovery period while maintaining or increasing the efficiency of fat removal that could be achieved with large, traumatic cannulas.
Laser liposuction is one such technology. A laser fiber is mounted on a small cannula, which can be introduced through correspondingly small incisions. During laser liposuction, tumescent infiltration is used to stabilize the targeted fat deposits. The cannula assembly is then advanced into the treatment area, where the laser is activated to fire energy impulses while the cannula is kept in constant motion. The heat generated destroys fat cells. Classically, the debris from the destroyed cells is left for the body’s own scavenger cells to remove from the treatment site and the access incisions are left open for oil and cell remnants to flow out over a couple of days. So no suction cannulas need to be used during laser liposuction decreasing the amount of trauma to tissues in the treatment area. However, gentle suctioning with a small cannula on low negative pressure to remove the oil and particles from the already destroyed fat cells (not fat itself as in classic liposuction) accelerates the removal of debris without seemingly increasing tissue trauma.
And that’s what laser liposuction really is. Myths surrounding laser liposuction on the other hand are more numerous than facts. The facts boil down to a gentler procedure and a shorter, less painful immediate recovery period with less bruising. The myths encompass: skin shrinkage – yes, in the range of millimeters under circumstances where skin is elastic enough to retract anyway with or without laser liposuction, but no, certainly not to shrink a balloon to a state of flatness; outpatient procedures under tumescent anesthesia – all liposuctions of less than 4 liters of estimated fat removal (and thus less than 4 liters of tumescent infiltration) are generally performed on an outpatient basis, laser liposuction or not; whether or not the infiltration is tolerated without any additional anesthetic is again dependent on the volume and number of sites infiltrated and not on the use of laser liposuction versus say power assisted liposuction; shorter procedure times – laser liposuction takes in fact quite a bit longer than the most effective available method power assisted liposuction; this may not be very noticeable as long as only small areas are treated with laser liposuction (as it should be); fewer complications – big no no, particularly if laser liposuction is performed by untrained and unqualified personnel – essentially everybody who is not a board certified plastic surgeon; the devices are very powerful and thus the potential for and occurrence of more significant problems as well as the opportunity to achieve outstanding results are real.
When we perform laser liposuction in our Caribbean cosmetic plastic surgery clinic at Trinidad Institute of Plastic Surgery we constantly see the facts turn into reality – outstanding results in small volume liposuctions with a minimal recovery time, reduced postoperative pain, swelling and bruising. If that is what you are looking for, laser liposuction might be for you.
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