This week’s Atlantic Coast Aesthetics Question of the Week comes from a viewer in Palm Beach, and asks, “Should I get traditional liposuction, smart lipo or tickle lipo? Which one is better?” Our founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas Pane, fielded this question in a live online Google Hangout, and considered the potential benefits and risks of each. The most important thing he stressed is that the overall quality of the patient’s skin and the desired result after a liposuction procedure is really the determining factor and that no one method can be said to be definitively better than or inferior to another.
Liposuction involves the removal of subcutaneous fat from the body, typically and most commonly in the abdominal, thigh and buttock areas, although liposuction in other areas is certainly not unheard of. The patient’s skin is going to be the biggest determinant in the results, said Dr. Pane, because the skin’s natural elasticity and ability to recover from stretching caused by adipose, or fatty, deposits beneath is the single most relevant factor in how the skin behaves after the procedure. For this reason, the overall condition and health of the skin must be taken into account when determining which procedure is most likely to produce the optimal results, and this changes from patient to patient and even over different areas of the body!
The next criterion to consider is how the skin will reshape and reconfigure itself to conform to the altered contours of the body area in question after the procedure. Some methods lend themselves better to certain applications or body areas, so there is no “one size fits all” answer that can be universally given to any individual patient. Dr. Pane says he prefers power-assisted liposuction for its versatility and his level of confidence in the procedure and overall results, but may opt for “smart” or laser-assisted liposuction or so-called “tickle” liposuction depending upon the needs and goals of the patient.
While Dr. Pane and ACA primarily used to use laser-assisted liposuction techniques, this process damages the fat by cauterizing it. In situations where the fat is simply to be removed, this is not an issue. However, for transfer procedures, such as removing unwanted abdominal fat and transplanting it into the patient’s breasts in lieu of a traditional breast implant, the burning of the laser makes this impossible. Therefore, power-assisted liposuction is now the most typical form of this procedure that ACA performs. “Tickle” liposuction is also certainly an option, but again, the viability of this procedure is generally predicated on the desired patient outcome and other factors.
As with any surgical procedure, liposuction does carry certain risks and aftercare is a very important component in obtaining the desired results. Dr. Pane says the single biggest determinant in a successful procedure, after the patient’s overall health and skin condition, is the skill and experience of the surgeon performing the procedure. A more experienced surgeon will be better able to predict the outcome of your liposuction and sculpt the remaining subcutaneous fat to give the shape and tone you want. By contrast, a less-experienced surgeon may be perfectly qualified to handle the procedure, but may not be able to as fully or accurately predict how this method might stack up against that one.
Dr. Thomas Pane is a double board-certified surgeon with certifications in both general and cosmetic surgery, having worked full residencies in both types of medicine. ACA advises patients to be sure to ask about their plastic surgeon’s credentials regardless of location or clinic before undergoing any procedure. Physicians with Dr. Pane’s credentials are not as easy to find as regular surgeons, but the results are far likely to be in line with patient wishes and expectations and much less likely to be prone to problems during or after the surgery. However, the patient must also be diligent about following aftercare instructions, because even the finest surgeons in the world can’t help patients who refuse to help themselves.
To find out more about the various types of liposuction available or to schedule a consultation to determine which kind of liposuction will best meet your needs, visit us at acplasticsurg.com or call us at 561-422-4116. You can also email us or send us your question on Facebook, because it may become our next “Question of the Week!” The questions you have are probably questions that a lot of other prospective patients share, and Dr. Pane and ACA want to help ensure our clients are as well-informed as possible about the benefits and drawbacks of any procedure and what to expect from them. It’s your body, and ACA wants to help you look and feel your best!