With technology as the leading trend in cosmetic surgery, the marketplace has been flooded in recent years with new products and devices designed to enhance the results and ease the downtime of various surgical procedures. As a liposuction specialist here in Miami, I have had the distinct honor to partner with a company that is on the forefront of producing one of these new technologies. Palomar Medical Technologies, Inc. developed SlimLipo, a new form of laser-assisted liposuction that has been studied at Harvard for the past eight years.
The genesis of the standard liposuction surgery involved using very small canulas to aspirate subcutaneous fat. In recent years, many doctors have also started performing liposuction surgery using ultrasound-assisted technology. This is similar to the standard procedure, with the addition of an ultrasound tip on the canula. The tip of the reciprocating probe breaks up fat cells and makes it much easier for the surgeon to remove the fibrous fat.
Following the ultrasound-assisted devices, more technological advances brought us laser-assisted liposuction, one of the industry’s newest technologies. This equipment employs the use of wavelengths of light that are specifically targeting fat cells and literally melting the fat, all while tightening the skin by contracting the tiny fibers that lie just underneath the dermis of the skin. Initially, some patients may be leery of laser-assisted liposuction surgery because of various problems associated with previous, older, laser-assisted technology. Those particular devices did not uniformly melt the fat and often produced uneven, bumpy results.
Palomar has improved upon the laser-assisted lipo technology and has patented their own device, ensuring that nobody can infringe on the particular wavelengths of light that they use. Rather than tearing through the tissue structure, SlimLipo preserves more of the connective tissue. Additionally, the heating of the dermal tissue has greater skin tightening effects than other lasers, which results in enhanced body contouring, and because the laser actually stops bleeding, bruising is 80 to 90 percent less than it would be with traditional and ultrasound liposuction procedures. After using SlimLipo and seeing the results, I stopped using ultrasound liposuction altogether.
Palomar approached me to teach other specialists the techniques of using SlimLipo because of my experience in performing a high volume of liposuction surgeries. They were also drawn to the fact that I am solely a cosmetic plastic surgeon. I am now the regional instructor for Palomar SlimLipo and the only plastic surgeon performing this technique in South Florida. When deciding upon a liposuction surgeon, I believe that it is important to opt for a specialist who is surgery-based because of the extensive technical training that is required to become certified as a surgeon. Liposuction surgery pulls off great amounts of fluid and fat volume, therefore the surgeon must be able to resuscitate and rehydrate the patient for a stable recovery. Additionally, ensuring that your surgeon is board certified is of the utmost importance. Board certified plastic surgeons have been reviewed by a panel of peers who are all the top doctors in their particular specialty. Certification ensures that this group has deemed the specialist knowledgeable and safe. It is an important and serious process because these doctors review specific case files and question the decision that the surgeon made, such as the amount of fluid used, or the volume of fat removed. The surgeon must be able to defend his actions with honesty and legitimacy in order to receive certification from the board. It is a tough panel of experts to go in front of because if they disagree with a decision or judgment call, they will not hesitate to say so. Check the website for the American Board of Plastic Surgeons (www.abplsurg.org) to research the credentials of a particular plastic surgeon before undergoing any procedure.
In the end, liposuction surgery is an intricate art form that involves the sensation of touch, attention to detail, and proper judgment calls on determining the end point. It is important to understand what makes particular regions of the body beautiful and to accentuate these during the body contouring and liposculpting procedure. It is comparable to when an artist knows his painting is finished; it just looks and feels right.
Phillip R. Craft, M.D.
8720 North Kendall Dr., Suite 112
Miami, FL 33176