External Ultrasonic Liposuction

By: Rommel C. Castillo

The medical technology of today has delivered so many new and exciting tools for any possible medical need that a person might require. In the field of Lipoplasty, the medical procedure used by cosmetic surgeons to remove fatty cells through the use of cannula or tubes inserted into specific parts of the body to vacuum fat has been augmented by newer technology.  The use of metallic paddles to deliver ultrasonic energy to disrupt fatty tissue, the use of Ultrasonic Assisted-Liposuction (UAL) in traditional liposuction has made the procedure more effective.

There are actually two kinds of ultrasonic assisted-liposuction one is the internal UAL and the other one is the external ultrasonic liposuction. The internal UAL procedure involves the injection of a combination of saltwater solution and anesthetics, together with epinephrine into the area to be treated, this solution aids in the removal of the fat deposits and also makes sure that there is still enough fluid in the specific area of treatment. The ultrasonic energy is delivered with the cannula, which is also the same tube-like tool that vacuums out the liquefied fat deposits through a powerful vacuum machine.

Experts have determined that there are inherent risk in the use of internal UAL procedure since the treatment itself involves varying degrees of heat that may result in skin blistering, scalding and burns, also, the treatment might result in a condition referred to as seroma, which is the build up of a yellowish transparent liquid into cavities in the UAL treated areas, seroma may result from slow removal of fat deposits and or anesthetic that have deposited in the cavity directly under the skin. Risk of peripheral nerve damage and blood clots are also present.

External Ultrasonic Liposuction does not involve the use of cannula since no incisions are made by the cosmetic surgeon to remove fat deposits. Paddles are used to deliver ultrasonic energy from outside of the body to disrupt fat. The procedure uses around two to three Megahertz with strength of 3 W and has been cited to be useful for liposculpting or body contouring.

External UAL is advantageous over internal UAL because the external application of the ultrasound device will result in less discomfort for the patient during and after the procedure, the external location of the device means none of the patients internal tissue is physically touched, thus, resulting in minimized blood loss, it allows superior access through scar tissue; and finally it is not constrained by internal structures and can be applied to larger areas of the body.

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