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“Tickle” Liposuction?

Liposuction (aka “lipo”) is plastic surgery’s “gimmick procedure” having had more angles applied to it than a child’s toy. But there’s money to be made in fat reduction, so the gimmicks will just keep coming.

Enter “tickle” lipo, a new technology superimposed on the liposuction game. In this newer version of the basic liposuction technique, the cannula — the instrument used to remove the fat — vibrates like a whip inside your fatty layers. This supposedly helps remove the fat more evenly and with less pain.

Tickle lipo looks like a hybrid between two other forms of lipo already on the market: Power-assisted liposuction (PALS) in which a motorized cannula breaks up the fat, and ultrasonic liposuction in which sound waves do it. Will tickle lipo be better or worse than its fat-sucking competitors? That will likely depend upon the technology and the skill of those who use it.

However, a funky high-tech instrument won’t make a non-surgeon into a master plastic surgeon, just like a hot race car won’t make you into Jeff Gordon. Check the credentials of anyone who wants to use this tool on you. At this point I would consider tickle lipo an experiment.

- John Di Saia, M.D.

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Video: “The Too-Informed Patient”

This video, “The Too-Informed Patient,” came my way lately. It’s featured on NPR’s Mar­ket­place website:

The Too Informed Patient from Marketplace on Vimeo.

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The pup­peteer skit fea­tures the inter­ac­tion between a young man with a rash and his older physi­cian. The patient is an informed kind of guy: He’s checked his own med­ical record on the doctor’s web­site, read up on rashes in the Boston Globe, checked pix on WebMD, seen an episode of “Gray’s Anatomy” about a rash and, most inven­tively, checked iDiagnose, a hypo­thet­i­cal app (I hope) that led him to the con­clu­sion that he might have epi­der­mal necro­sis.

“Not to worry,” the patient informs Dr. Matthews, who mean­while has been try­ing to exam­ine him (“Say aaahhh” and more): He’s eli­gi­ble for an exper­i­men­tal pro­to­col. After some back-and-forth in which the doc­tor — who’s been quite cour­te­ous until this point, call­ing the patient “Mr. Horcher,” for exam­ple, and not admon­ish­ing the patient who’s got so many ideas of his own — the doc­tor says that the patient may be exac­er­bat­ing the con­di­tion by scratch­ing it, and ques­tions the wis­dom of tak­ing an exper­i­men­tal treat­ment for a rash. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medical Lessons*

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