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History of Liposuction

Liposuction procedure is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the United States. The practice is constantly evolving with the introduction of new techniques. The roots of procedure liposuction date back to 1920s when a French surgeon, Charles Dujarier, attempted body sculpting and fat removal surgeries. Unfortunately, in 1926, one of his patients, a French ballerina, after surgery to improve the appearance of her knees, developed a gangrene infection. Her affected leg had to be amputated. This incident caused a furor in the cosmetic medical community and was a serious setback for the procedure in the coming few decades.

In 1964, Dr. Schrudde performed a fat removal operation using a curette to make a tiny incision in the lower leg. However, this caused hematoma & seromas at the site. Other physicians attempted similar fat extractions in the 1960s & early 1970s. These did not get much attention, due to varying results with significant bleeding & injury. In 1974, two noted Italian surgeons, Dr. Giorgio and Arpad Fischer, invented the liposuction technique, with the development of a hollow suction cannula. In the same decade, Kesselring and Meyer favored sharp curettage for fat elimination, but their method did not gain wide acceptance.

Liposuction further evolved as a surgical procdure in 1978, when two French physicians (Dr. Yves-Gérard Illouz and Pierre Fournier) worked on efficiency and accuracy. In 1983, Dr. Illouz demonstrated the use of blunt cannulae & high-powered vacuum suction, which resulted in less bleeding and more consistent results.

This was a pivotal development in modern liposuction. He later pioneered the wet technique. All these measures still caused a significanat blood loss and blood transfusion was often required for the patients undergoing liposuction surgery.

Most of these techniques evolved in Europe. In the late 1970s American dermatologists developed an interest in lipo suction. By 1980, the procedure gained a firm footing in the United States. In June 1983, the American Society of Cosmetic Surgeons and the American Society of Liposuction Surgery convened the first live liposuction surgery workshop in Hollywood, California.

In the early 1980s, American cosmetic surgeons experimented with varying techniques producing assorted results. The real breakthrough came in 1985, with the development of tumescent liposuction by Dr. Jeffry A. Klien, M.D., a dermatological surgeon based in California. This technique is performed under the influence of local anesthesia and uses small cannulae which minimize blood loss and eliminate the hazards of general anesthesia. Apprehensions about lidocaine toxicity in the tumescent method eventually led to the evolution of the super wet method of liposculpture. However, the tumescent process continues to be one of the safest and most reliable liposuction procedures to date.

In the late 1990s, ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL) was introduced in the US. The method used ultrasonic energy to liquefy the fat before aspiration. In spite of its vast popularity in the Europe, ultrasound liposuction was not successful in America. Numerous health complications associated with the surgery and ongoing FDA approval issues restrained the interest of practitioners. In recent years, numerous variants of laser liposuction have been developed. These involve the use of a laser tipped probe for liquefying adipose tissues before extraction. Water assisted liposuction, power assisted liposuction, VASER liposuction and such other techniques have been developed to make liposuction a safer and less complicated method of fat removal.

The last three decades have brought several advances in the sphere of liposuction surgery. The procedure has evolved into an innovative technology for extracting more subcutaneous fat with negligible bleeding and morbidity, minimal complications, and added ease for both patients and surgeons. As the popularity of liposuction continues to grow, the procedures & techniques will constantly progress, rendering the surgery even more effective, safer, and more comfortable.