Well, not exactly. It’s been about two years since the “new liposuction” hit the market. Instead of the standard technique, with a hand held cannula and a suction machine, the new techniques involved the use of a power tip that “melted” the fat.
Unfortunately, the marketing that went along with the power liposuction was, frankly, outrageous. Many non plastic surgeons purchased these machines in order to make some money outside of their medical expertise. This led to many dissatisfied patients, who got more than they bargained for—minimal results, lots of pain and discomfort, or even burns and irregularities. The treatments were also very expensive. The other scary issue is that saying you don’t need anesthesia seems to make the procedure seem simple, almost like a car wash. This is absolutely untrue. Liposuction is a surgical procedure, and needs to be treated as such, or the consequences can be very serious. In the best of hands, lipo is a very reliable, and life changing, procedure with minimal risk.
There is no evidence that these machines offer you any benefit that doesn’t exist with cannula liposuction—that’s right. Claims about less bruising, faster recovery, and more skin retraction are simply false. How would I know this? For starters, I have performed thousands of liposuction procedures, and I have used many of the various machines and found that I couldn’t get the beautiful results that I obtained with standard liposuction. The cases took much longer, and I couldn’t remove the amount of fat that was required to obtain the most natural and proportional result.
That’s not to say that in the future these machines might improve and offer patients benefits not seen with the cannula technique. It’s just that they have ended up in the wrong hands. Marketing and hype is driving demand. I hope by now that consumers have learned the truth and seek liposuction only from Board Certified Plastic Surgeons who are doctors first, not salespeople trying to make a buck at your expense.
Robert Caridi, MD