Liposuction/ Ultrasonic Lipoplasty
About The Surgery
In the late 1980’s, several physicians began placing large amounts of water under the skin prior to suctioning. This technique, called the tumescent formula, significantly reduced the amount of blood loss with liposuction. Several TV programs such as ABC News 20/20 and the Univision network program Primer Impacto ( featuring Dr. Perez) touted this “new” liposuction as safer than before.
Now, the newest advance in body contouring is Ultrasonic Assisted Lipoplasty (UAL). The principle is to use sound wave energy to liquefy areas of fat deposits and remove them with gentle suction. The technology has been available for several years and the procedure has been performed thousands of times in Europe and Latin America. This advancement has recently been introduced in the United States.
Several manufacturers have developed machines capable of generating sound energy for Lipoplasty. Mentor H/S Inc., a leader in biomedical science, has been involved in this research for years. Their engineers, along with the input of plastic surgeons experienced in the field of liposuction, have developed this revolutionary new device for the U.S.
Dr. Perez was selected by Mentor H/S, Inc., as one of the only ten surgeons, to design and evaluate this new device. He has traveled throughout the world training other plastic surgeons in this technology. Dr. Perez’ schedule hasincluded UAL and Breast Augmentation lectures in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
” A minute on the lips- A lifetime on the hips.”
* Not if we can help it.
What is Ultrasonic Assisted Lipoplasty (UAL)
Ultrasonic Assisted Lipoplasty is a new technology which has revolutionized body contouring surgery. The procedure involves the use of a new device that produces sound energy to melt the fat prior to its removal.
How does the UAL device work?
The device produces sound energy which is transmitted through a hollow canula. The cannula, a narrow rod, is introduced into the fat through a small opening in the skin. This is in much the same way it is done today for conventional liposuction. The sound waves liquefy the fat cells and create an oil. The fluid is then removed by gentle suction through the hollow rod.
Has UAL been performed before?
Ultrasonic Assisted Lipoplasty was first described by an Italian plastic surgeon several years ago. Since that time the procedure has been successfully performed on over 100,000 patients throughout the world.
Has Ultrasound energy been used before in medicine?
Yes, Ultrasound has been used for many years and in many different ways. Sound energy is used in medicine in both a diagnostic and therapeutic fashion. It is helpful as a diagnostic tool in pregnancy, as well as an effective way for Urologist to dissolve kidney stones.
How is liposuction currently performed?
Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed procedures. It involves the introduction of a hollow rod into the fat in a manner similar to UAL. However, the solid fat is removed by high-pressure suction. The rough, traumatic nature of this technique tends to also destroy fibrous tissue, fine nerves and blood vessels. This can lead to significant pain, bleeding and prolonged bruising.
What are the similarities between conventional liposuction and UAL?
Conventional liposuction and UAL have many similarities. Both procedures require a trained, experiences surgeon. Surgery can be performed in the hospital or outpatient setting. Both procedures can be performed with either general or local anesthesia and share many of the same risks and possible complications.
What are the differences between conventional liposuction and UAL?
The differences between the two techniques are based on the way the fat is removed. Ultrasound energy is applies preferentially to the fat cells, generally sparing the fibrous tissue, fine nerves and blood vessels. Consequently, there is less disruption of the normal architecture with less pain, bleeding, swelling and bruising. This allows for removal of greater volumes of fat and a faster recovery, in a less traumatic fashion than with conventional liposuction. In addition, some surgeons believe that UAL stimulates the skin to shrink more efficiently to accommodate its new shape. This produces a smoother and more even result.
UAL tends to take slightly longer to perform because of its slow, gentle motion. The actual length of operating time will depend on the individual surgeon and the amount of fat removed.
Are there risks with UAL?
Just as with any surgical procedure, there are risks and possible complications associated with UAL. These include the general risks of surgery and anesthesia as well as those specific to body contouring. The theory is that by diminishing blood loss, UAL is a safer way to remove fat than conventional liposuction. An honest discussion, by an experienced surgeon, of the risks and benefits is an important part of the consultation.
Who is a candidate for UAL?
In general, anyone interested in body contouring who is an acceptable candidate for conventional liposuction, can be considered for UAL. In addition, patients who traditionally were not able to have liposuction because they required removal of greater amounts of fat, may now benefit from the procedure. However, the patient’s expectations must be reasonable and realistic. The tone and quality of the skin still play a significant role in the final results.
Who is able to perform UAL?
The exact guidelines have not yet been established. Courses on UAL are being taught by the combined plastic surgery societies. However, it is generally advisable that patients choose Board Certified surgeons with experience in liposuction and specific UAL training.
How much will UAL cost?
UAL just like liposuction, is not a medically necessary procedure. As such, all costs associated with the surgery are the responsibility of the patient. The actual cost of surgery will depend on the areas to be treated, the experience of the surgeon and the prevailing fees in the community. In general, fees may be slightly higher than conventional liposuction because of the increased operating time and the additional cost of the device. The exact cost of the procedure is determined at the time of consultation. Most patients feel that the diminished pain, faster recovery and superior aesthetic results are worth the expense.
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