Tumescent Liposuction Still Most Popular with Plastic Surgeons

by Edie Pastis

Tumescent Liposuction Still Most Popular with Plastic Surgeons

Standard suction-assisted liposuction is quickly becoming overshadowed by newer, trendier liposuction techniques. In recent years, liposuction surgery options have grown to include power-assisted liposuction (PAL), laser-assisted liposuction (LAL), ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), and even non-surgical treatments that allege to rival liposuction results. With so many fat removal options available, it can be difficult to know which liposuction method is right for you. Cosmetic news and media sources leave no question that laser lipo is the trend of the moment, but what are plastic surgeons saying?

In February 2011, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) conducted a survey of 492 of its members, asking them to evaluate current liposuction surgery trends and report their preferences. The results revealed that most plastic surgeons prefer standard tumescent or suction-assisted liposuction to trendier methods. Read on to find out why.

Liposuction Survey Results & Details

The 492 surgeons surveyed were all board-certified plastic surgeons, most of whom reportedly perform between 51-100 liposuction procedures each year. To generate survey results, ASAPS asked surgeons 17 questions covering their experience using various liposuction techniques, their current fat removal applications, their assessment of liposuction complications, etc.

When it came to the surgeons’ preferred method of liposuction, survey results showed the following:

  • 51.4% prefer using suction-assisted liposuction (traditional tumescent liposuction)
  • 23% prefer using power-assisted liposuction
  • 20.9% prefer using ultrasound-assisted liposuction (Vaser Lipo or LipoSelection)
  • 3.9% prefer laser-assisted liposuction (SmartLipo, SlimLipo, ProLipo, CoolLipo and other variations)
  • Less than 1% prefer non-invasive or non-surgical methods (Zerona, Zeltiq, Mesotherapy, LipoDissolve)

It’s unsurprising that plastic surgeons don’t favor non-surgical fat removal methods. What is surprising is that over half of participants still prefer the original liposuction method: standard suction-assisted liposuction.

A common assumption is that new medical devices and technologies should yield higher success rates compared to older systems. Because new products have the added edge of modern research and past testing results, we would expect newer liposuction techniques to outshine and outperform their predecessors. But in this case, plastic surgeons have weighed in to say newer lipo doesn’t always equal better lipo.

Lead survey author, Dr. Jamil Ahmad, remarked that survey participants "tend to more frequently employ the fat removal methods that have the longest track records and the most data to support their efficacy and safety".

Why Do Plastic Surgeons Prefer SAL?

Plastic surgeons’ suction-assisted liposuction preference was mainly attributed to their greater propensity for using SAL, and their increased level of experience using SAL. Surveyed plastic surgeons also reported a "disproportionately higher rate of complications" with newer procedures like laser liposuction, mesotherapy, etc.

It’s unclear whether this higher rate of laser liposuction complications was due to surgeons’ inexperience, system ineffectiveness, lack of training on new lipo systems, application on poor candidates…or a combination of these factors.

Many surveyed surgeons did express that "industry marketing to physicians without appropriate aesthetic surgery training" created problems when implementing new, trendy liposuction procedures at a practice. A high percentage of surveyed surgeons (68%) also said they thought intense marketing of new liposuction treatments, from manufacturers and the media to patients, "was the most common reason that influenced patients to choose newer treatments such as [laser liposuction]".

Choosing the Right Liposuction Treatment for You

Whether you’re leaning more towards laser-assisted liposuction, suction-assisted liposuction, or another liposuction method, meeting with a board-certified plastic surgeon near you for a consultation is a smart first step towards surgery.

A consultation appointment lets patients discuss their liposuction questions and concerns with an experienced professional to help inform their surgery decisions. During the appointment, plastic surgeons will also provide knowledgeable recommendations on which liposuction type is most appropriate for you based on your personal fat removal goals, your individual body type and BMI, any existing medical conditions, and your liposuction surgery budget.

To help minimize your liposuction surgery risks, always verify a plastic surgeon’s credentials, ask to see before and after photos at your consultation, and confirm the surgeon has experience performing the liposuction procedure in question.

To get all the facts on traditional liposuction or the latest treatments, schedule a consultation today, like the ones at Sono Bello of Austin, TX.

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