Liposuction is Safe and Effective
Posted Thu, Jul 15, 2010

Sometimes it’s good to reflect on where we have been and where are we now. Sometimes it even leads to where are we going, but for this blog that will have to wait another day. I have practiced liposculpture since 1992 so I have seen the fads and the promises and the disappointments and mostly I have seen an incredible evolution in body contouring.
For what must be first and foremost, the procedure is safe when performed by well trained surgeons in certified surgical centers. Blood loss has been all but eliminated and pain has been minimized. Most cases can be done using local anesthesia and recovery time has been minimized. Virtually all patients can walk 4-8 miles per day the morning after surgery if they could walk 4-8 miles per day before surgery.
A decade ago total body liposculpture meant one procedure to sculpt the abdomen, waist, back, and hips and another procedure to sculpt the circumference of the thighs. Today liposculpture can be performed on the face, neck, breasts, abdomen, waist, back, thighs, legs, and ankles. Fat can be transferred from one part of the body and used to make the face more youthful or enhance the fullness of the buttocks.
A decade ago our notions of what constituted an ideal body appearance was grandiose and existed only in the mind of the beholder because there were no criteria for what a normal body looked like or how people with different body types could achieve their ideal form. Today we know that it is the musculoskeletal appearance which dictates body shape and the purpose of body sculpting is to show that as best as possible.
A decade ago we understood that removing fat would cause skin to retract but we didn’t know how to enhance it. One of the banes of the procedure was loose or hanging skin after a procedure and while we haven’t completely solved the problem laser lipolysis has greatly improved results in addition to shortening healing time.
So now we have liposculpting for women and liposculpting for men. We have laser lipolysis known as smartlipo and coollipo, and slimlipo among others to enhance skin appearance. We have circumferential liposculpting for thighs and torsos, and liposuction for breast reduction for men and women. Stove-pipe legs and ankles can be shaped and sagging arms tightened.
Perhaps my one concern is that so much liposculpting is performed in non-accredited surgical centers and so many by doctors who are board certified but not cosmetic surgeons who are appropriately trained dermatologic surgeons, plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, oculoplastic surgeons, general surgeons, oral-maxillofacial surgeons, and gynecologic surgeons. While price certainly matters the disillusionment in patients I see who have had surgery done at some of these locations is disturbing. Most puzzling are how many patients go to medi-spas as a result of internet advertising despite the fact that they don’t know who their doctor is much less have a relationship with him. I guess for a fogey like myself it is a product of the IT age and I will have to keep my concerns to share with patients who already agree with me. In the meantime, the technology is here for safe, reproducible, and efficient body sculpting and for that I am grateful.

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Edward Lack
Edward Lack MD is a board certified dermatologist and a board certified dermatologic cosmetic surgeon. He is President and Medical Director of MetropolitanMD, a multispecialty cosmetic surgery center in Chicago,which is unique in having a double board certified cosmetic dermatologic surgeon, a double board certified facial plastic surgeon, and a double board certified cosmetic plastic surgeon. Dr. Lack is also the Past President of The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.

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