Ultrasound for Liposuction Procedures

January 25, 2014

Patients who are considering liposuction may be concerned about excessive swelling and bruising, as well as scars from incision sites. However, there have been a number of advances in the procedure over the years, ranging from thinner cannulaes (the metal tube used to vacuum out the fat from the body), to less invasive anesthesia, to the use of ultrasound to help with liposuction. The latter is particularly important because not only is it less invasive, but it also poses less damage to the body itself.

What Is Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction?

This technique uses ultrasound waves to help loosen fat underneath the skin, where it is then gently suctioned out from the body with the cannula. The ultrasound waves are at a range beyond that of human hearing.

What Are the Benefits of Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction?

Because the ultrasound waves can be specifically targeted, the cosmetic surgeon is able to be more precise with the cannula, thereby reducing the risk of damage to surrounding tissue, nerves, blood vessels, and organs.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction is also particularly effective for areas with fat that is difficult to remove, such as from the back or abdomen. It can also be used to remove fat from areas that have undergone liposuction treatment previously.

Finally, because ultrasound-assisted liposuction is more precise than traditional liposuction, the skin over the targeted areas will shrink more. This is particularly beneficial in areas that are prone to leaving loose skin after liposuction, such as the abdominal area. Some cosmetic surgeons believe this effect provides a better contour to the body than with traditional liposuction methods.

What Type of Anesthesia Is Used for Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction?

When patients undergo ultrasound-assisted liposuction, surgeons can use what is known as twilight anesthesia. With this anesthesia, the patient is still awake, but is very relaxed and cannot move. Most cosmetic surgeons prefer the use of twilight anesthesia because it is less risky for patients than using a general, epidural, or regional anesthetic.

What Are the Possible Side Effects and Risks from Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction?

The two most common side effects from ultrasound-assisted liposuction are swelling and bruising at the incision sites. However, the amount and duration of bruising and swelling is less severe than with traditional liposuction methods because the cannula does not have to be moved around as much. Ice, cold compresses, and taking the herb Arnica montana will reduce the amount of swelling and bruising. Most bruising and swelling should fade within two to three weeks after the surgical procedure.

The two most common risks from any liposuction procedure are excessive bleeding and infection. In the case of ultrasound-assisted liposuction, there is likely to be less bleeding because the ultrasound waves do less damage to surrounding blood vessels and tissue. Taking any antibiotics as prescribed, as well as keeping incision areas clean and dry for the first few days after the procedure will reduce the risk of infection.

Advances in medicine have made many cosmetic surgical procedures more effective, safe, and fast, with a lowered risk of infection, bleeding, bruising, and swelling. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction is one such technique, which both surgeons and patients may find easier than more traditional liposuction methods.

Contact Crawford Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation.

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