The Evolution of Liposuction
October 31, 2014
Liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures available worldwide, and it has become a safe and effective method for resolving stubborn pockets of fat that do not respond to traditional methods of weight loss, such as diet and exercise. However, it wasn’t always that easy to undergo fat loss surgery. While the history of rhinoplasty stretches back to ancient times, liposuction as a technique is less than one hundred years old, and has only been a relatively safe procedure for the last four decades. Let’s take a look at how one of America’s favorite procedures has evolved over the years.
The first well-known case of liposuction took place in France in 1921. Dr. Charles Dujarier, an OB/GYN operated on a French dancer to shape her ankles and knees into a better contour. The procedure was done subcutaneously, and tragically there were some complications involving her femoral artery. In the end, the dancer lost one of her legs to gangrene. After this failed experiment, the development of liposuction as we know it came to a standstill for several decades.
First Successes: 1970s, Italy, France, and the United States
An Italian father and son duo, Giorgio and Arpad Fischer developed the “dry” technique of liposuction in the mid 1970s, marking the first successful fat removal procedure using suction. This technique used cannula tubes to suction out the fat, and were able to produce revolutionary results for the time. Unfortunately, complications were still common. Hematomas and seromaswere commonplace, prompting further exploration into liposuction techniques.
Dr. Yves Illouz of Paris started using the Fischer technique shortly after its advent, and improved upon the technology by pioneering tumescent “wet” liposuction techniques to help control blood loss during the surgery.
The first American surgeon to perform liposuction was Dr. Lawrence Field, a dermatologist who journeyed to Europe to learn techniques from the inventors themselves. They began teaching other doctors as well, and the group of innovators began to expand.
The Beginnings of Popularity: 1980s, the United States
In the early 1980s, courses for surgeons on the new technique began to pop up, and many in the industry were excited about the new procedure. It was sometime during this period that the term “liposuction” was coined by cosmetic surgeon Dr. Julius Newman. It was also during this period that the practice of liposuction began to shift toward plastic surgeons.
Advances in Anesthesia: 1980s, the United States
Dr. Jeffery Klein, a dermatologic surgeon, developed new techniques in 1987 to make the procedure less invasive by using local anesthetic rather than general anesthetic. He used lidocaine and epinephrine in the tumescent fluid to keep the operation painless, and he worked with patients to get the dosage right, minimizing side effects while still maintaining numbness in the area to be operated on. When his tumescent liposuction was finally the right formula, it became revolutionary in the practice of liposuction, reducing complications, infections, and blood loss, as well as making the procedure less invasive. Established liposuction practitioners, however, were not quick to adopt this new method. What would finally convince surgeons in the ’80s and ’90s to start using the method was a technique that would quickly fall out of favor: ultrasonic liposuction, which required the use of tumescent anesthesia as well as ultrasonic energy. When ultrasonic liposuction was shown to be more risky and not much more effective than plain tumescent liposuction, it disappeared, and tumescent liposuction took center stage.
Compression: 1990s, the United States
Compression garments are now the norm in postoperative liposuction patients, but prior to 1995, tape compression was used to help reduce swelling in patients. In 1995, Klein again proved the innovator, showing the benefits of compression garments for patients.
Laser-Assisted Lipolysis: 2000s, Europe, South America, and the United States
The latest technology, laser-assisted liposuction with tumescent techniques, was used in Europe and South America prior to being described in the United States in 2006. Laser-assisted liposuction was lauded for tightening skin and reducing blood loss. It is today still one of the most popular techniques for liposuction, as it is minimally invasive and effective. Lasers have been continually improving, offering patients better, safer outcomes. It can also be used for small, difficult areas that were not treated in the past with older techniques. The most popular laser-assisted liposuction is known as SmartLipo.
Today, liposuction is a safe and effective procedure that can be performed using several techniques, depending on the patient’s needs. Good candidates are likely to get positive outcomes when the procedure is performed by an expert surgeon, such as board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Raj Gupta. Dr. Gupta is on the staff of Masri Clinic for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery in Dearborn and Birmingham, MI, and offers patients beautiful results with the advanced technology of SmartLipo laser liposuction, as well as traditional liposuction, for patients who need a more intensive treatment.
Dr. Gupta focuses on each individual patient’s needs, and works to come up with the appropriate treatment plans. If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Gupta to discuss your goals and needs for treatment, call 866-487-3223 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.