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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*

Liposuction-Related Death And Finding A Safe Doctor

From the Chicago Tribune:

A 35-year-old woman who wanted to resculpt herself for the new year with liposuction and a buttocks enhancement is dead from apparent complications of plastic surgery, her husband and lawyer said Thursday. Miami customer service representative Lidvian Zelaya died Monday, hours after the operation began at Strax Rejuvenation and Aesthetics Institute, a busy cosmetic surgery practice in Lauderhill. Zelaya went to Strax to have fat suctioned from her back and belly, and to have the material injected into her backside, family representatives said. She chose Strax because she got a good deal. Aronfeld said the operation was to be done by Dr. Roger L. Gordon. He was disciplined by the state in connection with two plastic surgery deaths in 2004.

This is getting ridiculous. Liposuction deaths have been frequent in the media as of late. And this surgeon, Roger L. Gordon, M.D., is a real, board-certified plastic surgeon as per the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Then again, plastic surgery IS surgery and therefore has risk associated with it. Was this an unfortunate accident or something else? How can a potential patient choose well to limit the risk of cosmetic surgery? Read more »

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

About Scar Prevention And Treatment

I saw a Scarguard product on sale at a drugstore locally. The claims on the packaging were over the top as usual:

1. “Guards against new scars forming” – Difficult to prove.

2. “Flattens and shrinks old scars” – Not really.

3. “Scarguard is the #1 choice of plastic surgeons” – Really? Nobody asked me.

Scar treatment is pretty simple. Avoid wounding if you can. If you have plastic surgery, seek a skilled surgeon who will spend the time to do the best. After surgery avoid sunlight and smoking, and consider scar massage as directed by your surgeon. This “Scarguard” product is not going to make a bad scar much better unless it is applied early, and even then the results are debatable.

- John Di Saia, M.D.

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

Military Plastic Surgery: Using Liposuction To Make The Weight Cut

The Orange County Register blog posted on military plastic surgery and mentioned liposuction:

Army Times reports that soldiers are turning to liposuction to remove fat if extreme dieting, laxatives and other methods fail to get them under the Army’s weight limit for their height, age and gender.

“Liposuction saved my career. Laxatives and starvation before an [Army Physical Fitness Test] sustains my career,” a soldier told the periodical. “Soldiers are using liposuction, laxatives and starvation to meet height and weight standards. I did, do and still do.”

I am well aware of the military patient looking to stay within military parameters to stay in the service as my San Clemente office is quite close to Camp Pendleton, and I give military discounts. I have seen several of these patients in my decade in San Clemente. Surgery for wives still outnumbers surgery for soldiers, though.

As some of these clients have explained, the Marine administration requires active duty soldiers to have certain measurements at a certain weight. Those who do not fall within these expected norms are first warned and then penalized. Liposuction has worked at times to keep some of these soldiers in the service.

- John Di Saia, M.D.

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

Breast Implants Under Local Anesthesia?

Reader question:

A surgeon I’m thinking about seeing said on his website that breast implants were able to be done under local + intravenous anesthetic (like twilight). Can this really be done? I always thought it was too invasive for just twilight, especially if it is under the muscle. Is there an advantage to using twilight? After looking it up, there are lots of differing opinions out there, but I think that this may just be a way for the surgeon to cut costs. What is the cosmetic surgery truth here, Dr. D?

I am not a fan of local anesthesia or twilight sleep for breast implant surgery except in rare cases (simple redos and such). The reasons are patient comfort and practicality. I place most of my breast implants under the pectoral muscles, and these muscles need to be relaxed for this to work out. That relaxation is suboptimal under less than a general anesthetic. Read more »

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

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