Liposuction: The concept of suction lipolysis, more commonly known as liposuction, originated in Europe in the late 1970's. The procedure is based upon the removal of fat through a closed system suction cannula apparatus. (A cannula is a thin, metal tube). This procedure utilizes tiny, hidden incisions for introduction of the cannula, and is controlled by the operator via direct observation and palpation. Since no skin is removed, the skin must shrink by means of its intrinsic elastic properties. Because the body no longer produces new fat cells after adolescence, fat removal is permanent for most.
"Localized Fat Deposits (LFD's)," also called "blocked fat," are physiologically different from the fat immediately beneath the skin. Their location is determined by the genetic background, ethnicity, and gender of the patient. The most distressing characteristic of this deep fat is its resistance to loss via dieting. (Patients normally lose only one pound of blocked fat for every six pounds of superficial fat lost during normal dieting). While this is a minor consideration for patients who are clinically obese, many people who are close to their ideal weight can be plagued with unsightly areas which do not respond to either diet or exercise. LFD's are very effectively treated with suction lipectomy.
As the technique of suction lipolysis became widespread, surgeons began to discover that residual superficial layers of fat limited the amount of skin retraction possible after liposuction. With this observation, a new trend emerged; the use of smaller, more refined liposuction cannulas to more closely approach the surface of the skin. Utilization of these smaller cannulas allows the surgeon to treat more superficial fat with less danger of significant skin rippling. After treating the deep LFD, the surgeon may work near the skin's surface where direct visual assessment allows accurate tailoring of the overall contour. With the change in technique has come a change in the philosophy of fat removal itself. The term "liposculpture" has now effectively replaced the older terminology of suction lipolysis, or liposuction.