When liposuctioning away excess fat first hit the public consciousness about 30 years ago, the procedure got a reputation for being well, a bit rough, and for leaving uneven patches or ridges of fat on treated areas. Fast forward to today, and the many improvements in liposuction technique and tools allow plastic surgeons to perform liposuction in Las Vegas fat reduction that looks and feels natural, and requires a shorter recovery time than ever.
Traditional Lipo V. Ultrasound-Assisted Lipo
One of the most exciting new tools for women and men who are looking to re-contour their bodies is the advent of ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL). While the basic concept — suctioning away excess fat — remains the same, the differences between traditional liposuction and UAL can be profound. Depending on your body-contouring needs, Dr. Julio Garcia — an expert plastic surgeon who’s spent more than 20 years helping patients sculpt their ideal figures with liposuction and UAL — helps you decide which procedure is best for you.
The Basic Concepts of Lipo
Whichever method you choose, Dr. Garcia first injects the treatment area with a saline solution that contains lidocaine to numb pain, adrenaline to control bleeding, and sodium bicarbonate to help break up the fat. The latter ingredient makes suctioning the fat away much easier than it was in the early days of lipo. The greater fluidity of the fat allows Dr. Garcia to use smaller cannulas (metal straws) during the fat-removal process.
After the treatment area has been injected with the tumescent fluid, which makes the area swell (tumesce), Dr. Garcia makes a small incision through which he inserts an appropriately sized cannula. If you’re having traditional lipo, Dr. Garcia then proceeds to use a high-powered vacuum to suck out the excess fat.
If you’ve opted for UAL, there’s one more step before fat removal. Dr. Garcia inserts a tiny probe through the cannula. He then uses the UAL device to send ultrasonic energy down the probe and into the treatment area. He moves the probe in a criss-cross fashion to collapse and liquefy the excess, unneeded fat cells.
Both traditional lipo and UAL can effectively reshape or eliminate:
- Muffin tops
- Double chins
- Saddle bags
- Thunder thighs
- Arm fat
- Back fat
No matter which procedure you choose, the effects of liposuction are permanent. Once the fat cells have been vacuumed away, they can’t regrow or regenerate. As long as you keep your weight stable, you’ll maintain your benefits over the long term, or even for life.
UAL Targets Only Fat Cells
The UAL procedure is less traumatic than traditional lipo because the ultrasound energy is set to a level that only affects fat cells, and not blood vessels or other tissue. The liquified fat is also easier to remove than fat that’s merely been broken down with sodium bicarbonate.
Because of the extra step that liquefies the fat cells with ultrasonic energy, UAL does take longer than traditional lipo. In both procedures, when Dr. Garcia vacuums away the fat, he also removes the anesthetic saline solution he’d injected into the area.
UAL Can Remove Larger Amounts of Fat
Both traditional lipo and UAL are body-contouring treatments that are designed to sculpt away excess fatty areas. You need to be a healthy weight (usually a BMI of 30 or under) to be considered for either type of liposuction. Lipo and UAL trim away inches, but aren’t weight-loss treatments.
In fact, with traditional lipo, you can only safely remove about 4 to 5 pounds of fat during a single session. However, because UAL liquifies the fat, making it easier to remove, Dr. Garcia may be able to vacuum away fattier areas, such as the back and lower abdomen, and remove a slightly greater volume of fat. He bases the amount of fat he can remove with UAL on factors such as:
- Your weight
- Your health
- Your skin quality
During your initial consultation, Dr. Garcia estimates approximately how much fat he’ll be able to remove and what kind of difference it should make to the circumference or shape of the treated area. He also lets you know if your skin is too inelastic for liposuction alone and if you’d do better with a combination procedure, such as a tummy tuck, neck lift, or other skin-tightening surgery.
UAL Facilitates Greater Detailing
Another advantage of UAL is that Dr. Garcia can select the absolute smallest cannulas, which go down to a diameter of just about 0.6 mm. These tiny tubes allow him to sculpt away more delicate areas of fat, such as that underneath your chin or in your jowls.
The combination of using small cannulas and the ease of vacuuming out the liquified fat also lets Dr. Garcia create subtle variations and contouring that increase the naturalness and beauty of your final results. He can even gently sculpt around your muscles to give them greater emphasis and definition.
UAL Treats More Areas
By giving Dr. Garcia more flexibility and control over the fat-removal process, UAL allows him to contour areas that would be difficult or impossible to treat with traditional lipo. He selects UAL as the treatment of choice for gynecomastia (male breast reduction) because of the finer detailing allowed. The specialized, smaller areas that Dr. Garcia treats with UAL alone include:
- Mons pubis
- Breasts (male and female)
As with traditional lipo, UAL does require a recovery period. Because it’s performed on an outpatient basis under general or twilight anesthesia, you need a friend or family member to drive you home afterward and make sure you’re taken care of for the first 24 to 48 hours.
Before your liposuction procedure, Dr. Garcia and his staff ensure that you receive and understand all of your pre-operative and postoperative instructions. Dr. Garcia also goes over the surgery in detail, including the risks involved, so that you understand what to expect before, during, and after your liposuction.
Is traditional lipo or UAL the best choice for you? The only way to know is to start with an in-depth liposuction in Las Vegas consultation. Call us or use the email form to set up an appointment today.