Considering the growing popularity of liposuction at New York’s Alizadeh Cosmoplastic Surgery—and across the entire United States—Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh wanted to use the current interest in surgical fat reduction to discuss a related element: skin laxity.
While liposuction removes large fat cells to reduce volume in the abdomen, buttocks, or similar area where a pocket or bulge is visible, the procedure is not intended to address excess skin. That said, surgical fat removal does typically cause some skin contraction, leading many patients to wonder whether one specific technique is better than others for getting skin to conform to the new contours.
Dr. Alizadeh led a peer-reviewed study that examined the effects of multiple liposuction options: laser, ultrasound, and PAL® (power-assisted liposuction). The study’s goal was to determine whether one technique stood out over another as better for skin contraction.
While liposuction was limited to one technique for decades (surgeons used a cannula to loosen fat cells for removal), more recent developments have introduced the concepts of rapid mechanical vibrations, ultrasonic vibrations, heat, and more to break up or liquefy fat cells.
Though the researchers hypothesized that they would find one technique as a standout in skin tightening, the results showed no statistically significant difference in fat-reduction strategies. The average amount of skin tightening three months after all of the procedures was 22 percent.
While the initial findings seemed to indicate that one liposuction technique is as good as another when it comes to post-surgical skin laxity, the doctors behind the study recommended that a larger study be conducted to confirm the results. But the most important factor appears to be the surgeon’s technique—not the technology.
Liposuction patients who find that they have excess skin they want to address also have several options, from surgical lifts and tucks to nonsurgical tightening treatments.