Liposuction used to have a shocking repuation. Not so today. It is sophisticated, highly technical and minimally invasive.
LIPOSUCTION MAY BE the most frequently performed aesthetic surgery, but it got off to an inauspicious start. In the 1920s, surgeons began to remove fat using a surgical tool called a curette. The results were underwhelming at best and disastrous at worst. side effects included blood clots, abscesses, skin unevenness and other health complications.
‘modern’ lipo is credited to father and son Italian gynaecologists, Arpad and Giorgio Fischer. Forty years ago they invented a blunt, hollow surgical instrument called a cannula to replace the sharp curette that allowed them to create tunnels between major blood vessels of the body while sucking out fat. However, it still had the subtlety of a harpoon in the hands of a professional whaler.
The bad rep continued. Patients had excessive bleeding and a citrus like texture to the skin – not to mention an unacceptable mortality rate for what is essentially a cosmetic procedure. Dying to be thin took on a new meaning.
Lipo has come a long way and the development of power- assisted surgery in 1998 is responsible for the advances in the surgery. The more discreet, refined procedure came with a new vocabulary with the words ‘art’ and ‘body sculpturing’ being bandied about. There are a variety of techniques including laser, ultrasound-assisted, and now another new technology to remove the fat. called Nutational Liposculpture, a power-driven device uses compressed air to create 3-dimensional movement in the tip of the cannula. The vibrations encourage the skin to retract, stimulating collagen. The cannula is also slimmer, so causes less trauma.
Laurence Woodburn, founder of Medical + Aesthetic, the Southern African distributors of Euromi equipment says, ‘The nutational infransonic method of lipo (Bodysculpt) is less invasive, faster, heat- and laser-free.’ Marketing speak aside, the technology behind it backs it up with the procedure being dubbed ‘Tickle Lipo’ in the US and because it is minimally invasive and downtime is reduced. That said, for more sensitive areas conscious sedation may be recommended for patients.
So is it really lipo in your lunchtime? ‘As close as dammit,’ says Woodburn. ‘You can drive yourself home’. But if you want to lose your cankles or saddlebags in your lunchtime and get the best results, you need to take it easy for a few days post-surgery to prevent bruising.