Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. in Minnesota was the first clinic in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area to offer ultrasonic liposuction for body contouring, which uses sound waves to liquefy fat for removal from the body. The new procedure, developed in Italy in the 1980s, differs from traditional liposuction in that it is a true "sculpting" technique for the body. Patients benefit from ultrasonic body contouring because it is more precise and controlled, causing less bleeding and bruising, as well as allowing more thorough fat removal with smaller cannulas. This, in turn, reduces swelling and irregularities during the healing process, giving a more smooth result with less likelihood for touch-up or revision surgery being necessary. Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. was the first plastic surgical practice in the upper Midwest to perform liposuction, teaching these techniques in the mid-1980’s to other plastic surgeons prior to it being introduced elsewhere, including the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota. Being first does not automatically confer excellence, however, and our plastic surgeons continue to offer refinements and evaluate other techniques to help achieve better fat removal results for our patients.
Much has been written and publicized recently about Mesotherapy, Lipodissolve, SmartLipo™, or other “new and advanced” techniques. Some of these may be harmless ways to reduce your wallet more than your fat, others may ultimately prove to be of questionable value in limited situations, or some may simply be unsafe in some patients. Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. does not offer these techniques for a reason—our plastic surgeons are not interested in unproven procedures or techniques that have not withstood the scrutiny of reputable, board-certified plastic surgeon/scientists in the peer-reviewed literature. Our curiosity and awareness about these things have not overwhelmed our training, experience, and personal scientific approach to “New and Improved.” Although you may know of someone who has undergone one of these procedures and is happy with their result, we have seen numerous patients who have had unsatisfactory results and irreversible damage after undergoing these unproven techniques.
Ultrasonic body contouring is an excellent option for people of healthy weight who have one or several stubborn pockets of fat. Excess fat in the love handles, thighs, abdomen, or other areas can be removed with this procedure. The ultrasonic liposuction procedure performed at our Minneapolis, Minnesota practice differs from traditional liposuction, or suction-assisted lipectomy, which uses mechanical suction to break up and remove fat. Surgeons combine these techniques, along with "tumescent" or "super-wet" lipoplasty, depending upon the individual case. With ultrasonic body contouring, patients can often return to work within a few days, depending upon the extent of the surgery and the nature of their occupation. All patients are up walking and carrying out normal daily activities within a day or so after surgery, though strenuous activities and exercise is prohibited for two weeks. As with traditional liposuction, fat cells are removed permanently.
The procedure works by delivering ultrasonic energy (sound waves at 22.5kHz, just above normal hearing range) via a probe, or cannula, through a small, inconspicuous incision to the fat tissues beneath the skin. Ultrasonic liposuction does not “melt” fat cells -- the energy is not thermal at all; rather it vibrates and ruptures the fragile cell membranes of the fat cells adjacent to the ultrasonic cannula tip, allowing more efficient and smooth removal with smaller cannulas. The sound wave energy emulsifies the fat, which is aspirated through the cannula and removed from the body. The number of incisions made depends on the locations and amount of fat to be removed. Each incision is short and discreetly concealed, resulting in scars that are usually inconspicuous, small, and barely visible when healed.
After the tiny incisions are closed, foam pads and elastic garment(s) are applied to provide compression to the areas that have just had fat removed. The tunnels and pockets created by the removal of fat with liposuction cannulas will swell and collect blood and fluid if not compressed so they can heal with as little internal scarring as possible. This reduces irregularity and lumpiness in the treated areas, and is why it is essential that you leave your garment in place for a full 5-7 days after surgery. During this time you will not shower or take a bath, but you can sponge bathe. Even if there is drainage from the incisions (this is NORMAL for the first day or so after surgery), or you get urine or sweat on the garment, you must leave it in place to keep the operative site(s) compressed. Patients who feel compelled to ignore this instruction, even “for just a few minutes,” find that swelling is immediate and severe enough that they cannot get the garment back on, compromising their cosmetic result.
While liposuction can remove localized pockets of fat permanently, it should not be used as a weight loss technique, nor should it be used when skin tone is poor. For large abdominal fat deposits or loose skin, abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck surgery, may be preferable. Complimentary consultation with our experienced plastic surgeons can determine what recommendation is best for you.
Liposuction involves a similar recovery period to most cosmetic surgery procedures. Patients can carry out normal daily activities within a day or two after surgery, but should avoid strenuous activities or exercise for a full two weeks after surgery. During the first week, the compression garments are left in place, and the patient sponge-bathes. Sutures are removed after one week, and the garment(s) can now be removed and laundered (and the patient gently shower), after which compression is reapplied full-time (except when bathing) for a total of two weeks or until bruising is gone. Most patients wear compression for about three weeks total, after which a body shaper, or similar commercially-available elastic garment is worn as the tissues return to their new shape. During this time you may be referred to our massage therapist for external ultrasound and massage techniques to help reduce swelling and hasten healing.
Liposuction patient are typically able to return to non-strenuous work one week or less after the surgery, and it is normal to experience some minor discomfort or twinge-like sensations as the tissues and skin nerves heal. It is advisable to be up and moving immediately after surgery, continuing normal daily-life activities, but avoiding strenuous activity, lifting, or exercise. Some improvements can be seen immediately, but final results will take 4-6 months to emerge as the skin tightens over the treated areas. Careful adherence to diet and exercise are critical to obtaining your best result. The fat cells removed through liposuction are removed permanently.
To learn how liposuction can improve your figure, schedule a complimentary consultation at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. in Minnesota with one of our plastic surgeons. Both Dr. Richard H. Tholen and Dr. Douglas L. Gervais are experts in liposuction and other techniques to treat problem areas.
Please contact Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. if you have any questions about our procedures or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our plastic surgeons.
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Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD.
4825 Olson Memorial Highway (Hwy 55) Suite 200
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55422
Phone: (763) 545-0443
Fax: (763) 545-2784