Liposuction Turns 20

Press release from The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Dr. Simeon Wall Jr., of The Wall Center for Plastic Surgery in Louisiana, was a featured panelist at the annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, recently held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas, NV (May 2, 2009) – The evolution of liposuction will be discussed by leading experts at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), being held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Convention Center May 2-7, 2009. "Liposuction 20 Years Later: Precision in Shaping, Prevention and Correction of Contour Irregularities" will be moderated by V. Leroy Young MD, and will include Arturo Prado MD, Sydney ColemanMD, Claudio Calabrese MD, and Simeon Wall Jr. MD.

In the early 1970s, "suction-assisted lipectomy" (SAL), or lipoplasty (liposuction), first appeared in the peer-reviewed literature. Originally used to remove lipomas (fatty tumors) and fatty deposits in various reconstructive procedures, the procedure was soon found to have a much wider application as a cosmetic surgery technique. In 1989, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified suction lipoplasty systems for use in aesthetic body contouring.

Since that time, the demand for liposuction has grown significantly and, according to ASAPS statistics, it was the second most popular surgical cosmetic procedure in 2008, with 341,144 procedures performed. With such popularity, however, comes greater responsibility to patients in terms of safety and cosmetic outcomes.

"Liposuction has come a long way in twenty years," said Dr. Young, a plastic surgeon in St. Louis, MO. "Advances in knowledge and the evolution of technology and technique have resulted in increased safety with improved outcomes. However, even after twenty years, there is still room for the field to grow. In the area of cellulite, for example, we still do not have a recognized successful treatment."

The panel will discuss liposuction technologies that have appeared over the years, including ultrasound-assisted, laser-assisted, power-assisted, and VASER®-assisted liposuction methods, the new RealLipo™ technique, fat grafting for the correction of deformities, and others.

In addition, which technologies yield the best outcomes will be debated. Some plastic surgeons feel that the best liposuction results are obtained without the use of the latest technologies – particularly those technologies that aim to thermally or otherwise damage fat cells.

"In my opinion, these technologies are actually causing worse results because they do the very thing we should be avoiding – damaging fat cells and causing scarring – both of which lead to contour deformities," said Dr. Wall, a plastic surgeon with a practice in Shreveport, LA. "Instead, one of the main goals in liposuction should be to leave a smooth 'blanket' of undamaged fat cells under the skin, which will inhibit the scar contractures we later see as contour deformities."

There is more to successful body contouring than advanced technology or surgical technique. An understanding of aesthetic body proportions can mean the difference between a svelte, womanly figure and a "boxy", man-like appearance. And thorough documentation and analysis of deformities, for example – particularly through the patient's perspective via refined photographic techniques – is instrumental in ensuring predictable and pleasing results.

"Liposuction is a powerful tool for alteration of the proportions of the body, but the consequences of removing elements of the body or adding artificial elements must be recognized," said Dr. Coleman, a plastic surgeon in New York, NY. "Careful planning with a clear vision of the overall result is paramount for aesthetic excellence."

Whatever advances lie ahead and debates that remain, it is important to note that, just as when the first lipoplasty systems for aesthetic contouring were approved twenty years ago, today's lipoplasty technology is still secondary to the skill of the surgeon. Every surgery has risks, but selecting a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon helps to ensure both patient safety and satisfaction.

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Liposuction 20 Years Later: Precision in Shaping, Prevention and Correction of Contour Irregularities
Wednesday, May 6th, 8:30am
Moderator: V. Leroy Young MD of St. Louis, MO
Panelists: Claudio Calabrese MD of Florence, Italy
Sydney Coleman MD of New York, NY
Arturo Prado MD of Santiago, Chile
Simeon H. Wall Jr. MD of Shreveport, LA

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