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History of Liposuction

Liposuction dates back to the 1920’s where techniques for body contouring and fat removal were first performed by Charles Dujarier a French surgeon. Unfortunately, these early pioneers’ often lacked the modern knowledge, skills and equipment needed to ensure success and complications were frequent and severe. In one memorable case a simple liposuction procedure on a renowned French model resulted in gangrene of the leg. Cases such as these effectively set back liposuction and body contouring for many decades.

Liposuction again came to the fore in the late 1960’s, with surgeons based in Europe and America. Even then though, the primitive curettage techniques employed led to inconsistent results with significant morbidity and bleeding.

LiposuctionThe modern form of liposuction burst onto market in 1982 by a French surgeon Dr Yves-Gerard Illouz. “Illouz Method" featured a technique of suction-assisted lipolysis. Fluid was infused into the tissues using blunt cannulas and then high-vacuum suction performed to remove the fluid and fat cells. This procedure demonstrated both reproducible good results and low morbidity.

In 1985, Klein and Lillis described the "tumescent technique". This procedure added volumes of fluid containing a local anaesthetic which allowed the procedure to be done as a local anaesthetic procedure in an office based setting, under intravenous sedation rather than general anaesthesia. Although a significant improvement on the former technique, there were some concerns over the high volume of fluid and potential toxicity of the local anaesthetic which this procedure required.

In the late 1990s, ultrasound was used to facilitate the fat removal, not in its more recognised role as an imaging means, but by using high energy ultrasound to liquefying the fat. After a flurry of initial interest, an increase in reported complications tempered the enthusiasm of many practitioners.

More recently in the evolution of liposuction saw the use of laser tipped probes to induce thermal lipolysis.

This procedure is called Laser lipolysis and will be discussed shortly. It has now become the technique of choice for most surgeons worldwide.

The overall results of the improvements made to the liposuction procedure have seen an increase in the number of fat cells that can easily be removed, with less bleeding, less discomfort and less risk. New developments have also reduced the recovery time and the fat that is removed can be used as natural filler.

This is known as "autologous fat transfer" and simply sees fat removed from one area of the patient's body (for example, the stomach), cleaned, and then re-injected into an area of the body where contouring is desired, for example, to reduce or eliminate wrinkles


Continue here to read about the various Liposuction Techniques in use today and the relative advantages of each.