Just like the English language itself, the terminology of cosmetic surgery has evolved to become more precise and exact in describing what various procedures do. Like other facets of the English language, this evolution may not always be what it seems, much like certain terms like “driveway,” where you park a car, and “parkway,” where you drive a car. It’s no wonder people often get confused about the exact meaning of certain words and phrases. A great example is the topic of this week’s Ask Dr. Pane segment. The viewer asks, “What is liposculpture?”
Dr. Pane says that truthfully, “liposculpture” is just a fancy way of saying “liposuction,” mostly used to market liposuction and make it sound a bit more glamorous or important than it really is. However, there is a bit more to it than that. Liposuction describes the process of removing fat from the body using a specific technique and equipment. Liposculpture, however, is a bit different when it’s used in its proper form. Although it relies on the basic technique of liposuction, the end result may be modestly to dramatically different.
In liposuction, the idea is simply to remove unwanted fat from a specific area or areas of the body to achieve an intended aesthetic outcome. With liposculpture, the objective is to remove a targeted amount of fat from a certain area, similar to the way a sculptor working in stone may remove precise amounts of rock in order to reveal the beautiful statue within. This fat may or may not be placed elsewhere in the body to enhance certain areas, such as the breasts, buttocks or cheek area of the face, in lieu of synthetic implants.
Many cosmetic surgeons, Dr. Pane included, use these terms more or less interchangeably. Where this becomes complicated and potentially problematic for the patient is the fact that there are so many clinics and people offering liposuction in south Florida. Unfortunately, some of these clinics and people are perfectly willing to take a patient’s money and assure them that liposuction or liposculpture is exactly what they need, even when it may not be the best or most appropriate course of treatment. Even worse, some of these people may not be trained or board certified cosmetic surgeons, and some don’t even have medical degrees! While there are many very competent surgeons who practice cosmetic medicine as a sideline in addition to their primary practice, there are enough faux “surgeons” around to warrant caution, especially for patients who are seeking relatively “simple” procedures. Even procedures like liposuction, which tend to have a fairly short healing time, are still surgical procedures and should be undertaken only by trained and experienced professionals.
In the hands of a properly skilled professional, liposculpture is a very safe procedure which offers great results with a very low incidence of postoperative complications. It may not be indicated for every patient, especially those with very low body fat. In cases where liposculpture may be an option, the patient should consider carefully the available volume of fat with which to work and what their intended outcome is. As with any other cosmetic procedure, patients should keep their goals realistic and take into account the effects of aging and gravity on the body when deciding what and how much they should have done, in conjunction and consultation with a trained cosmetic surgeon.
Dr. Thomas A. Pane is board certified in both emergency medicine and cosmetic surgeon. Double board certification is a distinction less than 20% of all surgeons nationwide can claim, and speaks to a high degree of demonstrated practical skill and hands-on experience and knowledge. It is always a good idea to review your provider’s credentials and make sure you feel comfortable with both their level of knowledge and their bedside manner. When you are confident in your surgeon’s ability and their interest in your care, you are more likely to get the results you want.
If you have a question regarding any facet of cosmetic surgery, we at Atlantic Coast Aesthetics welcome the chance to talk to you about your specific areas of interest or concern. Simply follow us on our social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; email us through our website; or call us at (561) 422-4116. Your question may even be featured in an upcoming Ask Dr. Pane segment, allowing us to inform and educate other patients who share your interests. Remember, at ACA we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!