History Of Lipo
Lipo is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the United States and around the world. Over 300,000 procedures are performed every year in America alone, and there are also high numbers of surgeries performed in Asia, Europe and South America. Lipo, also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, has been ranked as the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery in America twelve out the past thirteen years.
However, Lipo isn't merely a static procedure that has been unchanging over time. Every year, this procedure is refined. New variants and new technology are introduced, and old techniques are fine tuned. This article will explore in brief the history of Lipo and will give a number of important highlights in its development.
Although the roots of Lipo stretch back at least into the 1920's, the first successful lipoplasty was performed in Italy in 1974. Two American surgeons named Arpad and Giorgio Fischer who were working overseas got the idea to suction fat out using a blunt hollow tube (called a cannula). After seeing good results themselves, these surgeons published their findings in 1976.
The next stage of Lipo's development happened in France. Around 1978, a French doctor named Pierre Fournier took the initial findings of the Fischers and helped to publicize and promote them. Another French doctor, named Illouz, developed a technique that came to be called the "wet technique". It used fluids to help make the removal of fat easier. This wet technique subsequently spread to America.
During the 80's, Lipo had already begun to be fairly popular in America. However, it was met with a fair degree of suspicion, because many of these early Lipos created unwanted side-effects such as blemishes of the skin. Some of these surgeries caused excessive and dangerous blood loss.
In 1985, the tumescent technique was invented by a Californian dermatologist named Jeffrey Klein. This tumescent Lipo technique used large amounts of liquid to cause the target fat to "tumesce", or become firm and rigid. The tumescent Lipo technique made it possible for suction lipectomy to use much smaller cannulas. Perhaps most notably, it made it possible for lipoplasties to be performed solely under local anesthetic. The tumescent Lipo method is still the most commonly used form of Lipo today.
In the years between the 80's and today, a number of new Lipo techniques have been put forward, each using a different form of technology to assist in the removal of fat. Laser lipolysis uses surgical lasers to melt fat, making it easier to suction out. Ultrasonic assisted Lipo (UAL) uses ultrasonic waves to achieve a similar effect; however, many Lipo doctors now feel that UAL is unsafe because it can cause burns if not used properly. Power assisted Lipo uses a special cannula that moves on its own, which saves effort for the surgeon.
One of the most recent advances in Lipo is water assisted Lipo (WAL), which uses jets of water to loosen fatty tissue, and the custom acoustic method, which uses infrasonic waves to break up fat. This Lipo technique is particularly noteworthy because it has proved excellent at keeping fat alive. This has led to Lipo fat being used more safely and effectively in fat transfers. Some Lipo surgeons have begun sucking fat out of one area of the body and then replacing it in a more desirable area, such as the breasts or the buttocks. More amazingly, recent studies suggest that Lipo fat can easily be manipulated, which could make it invaluable in stem cell research.
Another newcomer is the SmartLipo MPX Lipo system, a form of laser lipolysis that utilizes a surgical laser to selectively target fat cells. Once these fat cells are broken down, they can easily be drained from the body. The SmartLipo MPX is one of the newest lasers on the market, and it allows Lipo surgeons to use a much smaller cannula (the hollow needle used to suction out fat). This should mean less tissue damage, less bleeding and swelling, less scarring and less pain.
Officials also claim that the SmartLipo MPX laser Lipo promotes collagen growth. This tightens the overlying skin and helps the surrounding tissues to contract. According to official estimates, this collagen growth and skin tightening continue for up to six months after the Lipo procedure. If this is true, that could be quite a benefit, given that saggy and loose skin is one of the most common problems associated with Lipo.
A third development in Lipo also involves a surgical laser, but, strangely, doesn't involve surgery. The Zerona technique, a form of non-surgical Lipo, is beginning to become more popular throughout the country. In this procedure, a surgeon uses cool lasers to target fat layers under the skin. The cells are broken down, but are left within the body. The cells are eventually naturally excreted by the body. This procedure is performed over the course of a few weeks, with patients coming in at intervals to receive this painless process.
A fourth Lipo development uses an entirely different sort of technology altogether. Custom Acoustic Lipo (CAL) works through the use of infrasonic sound waves. These sound waves are relatively low in frequency, and are considered to be much safer than ultrasonic waves. One immediate benefit is that the low frequency of the waves allows the cannula to be kept cool during the procedure, which avoids problems of burning. The lack of heat also makes it easier for fat cells to be retained alive, meaning that the fat can be more easily transferred to other parts of the body.
Initial studies seem to show that works well in areas of dense and fibrous fat. This means that patients may be able to undergo Lipo on areas with extreme scarring, or in areas where they have had previous surgery. CAL may also work well in eliminating the embarrassing problem of gynecomastia (enlargement of the male breast).
Many of these Lipo techniques are so recent it is hard to say whether they will be as effective in the long run as the older methods, but it is exciting for Lipo patients and Lipo surgeons alike to have so many options. Furthermore, many of the advances in Lipo that are groundbreaking today may be only laying the foundation for even better discoveries in the future.