The truth about new laser liposuction technologies by Ramsey J. Choucair, MD

The truth about new laser liposuction technologies

Today there are many new liposuction technologies that are marketed to the public claiming  faster and better results with virtually little or no down time.  Many of these new options employ laser liposuction  with various trademarked or registered names designated to sell this new technology directly from the manufacturer to the consumer.  The concern with these laser liposuction technologies is that the benefits are not scientifically proven or accepted in the plastic surgery community, and the results fall short of the hype.

Complicating these issues further is the entrance into the cosmetic surgery field of many non- plastic surgeons. In other words, physicians or even non-physicians who are not trained in plastic surgery nor certified in plastic surgery.  These individuals  are practicing outside their main specialty.

These non-plastic surgeons will often immediately endorse new technology so they can become the first spokesperson for the technology, therefore, gaining an advantage in the marketplace.   This is not typically based on scientific effectiveness of the procedure but simply the desire to be the first adopter so they will have the marketing advantage with patients who desire less downtime and less invasiveness, and of course, what patient would not want this less invasive, minimal downtime option.

But remember the age old adage:  You typically don’t get something for nothing.  The new technologies offer many theoretical advantages but the bottom line is that patients expectations are rarely met.  Therefore it is clearly Buyer Beware in the liposuction technology world.


So what can you do?

First, know that standard or traditional liposuction techniques have advanced significantly since they were first developed 20 to 30 years ago. These advances include using smaller tubes or cannulas for liposuction so the fat can be removed precisely and with less trauma.  We actually use Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) providing a more uniform, smooth removal of fat. Additionally, tumescent fluid injection or (injection of fluid containing adrenaline, local anesthesia and salt water) is an accepted principle to reduce bruising and bleeding.

Traditional liposuction can also be done under local anesthesia but only small amounts of  fat can be removed with this technique. IV sedation or a light general anesthetic is necessary to remove larger amounts of fat.  Most patients will not be satisfied with liposuction under local anesthesia since they expect more fat removal to reach their body contouring goal.   You should know that liposuction is still one of the most predictable and effective procedures performed by plastic surgeons.  It safely and predictably   removes diet and exercise resistant fatty bulges that occur from from genetic predisposition and age redistribution.

There is no new technology that currently outshines traditional liposuction in obtaining reduction of unwanted fatty bulges.  The idea that new laser liposuction techniques are more effective, less traumatic and create skin retraction or tightening of the skin simply have not yet been found to be true in scientific studies.