Body Contouring Glossary

Dallas Cosmetic Surgeon Breast Augmentation Tummy Tuck Liposuctio


The explosion in medical aesthetic technology has resulted in a market that is literally flooded with new products, devices and procedures, all claiming to be the ‘latest and greatest’ or the ‘next big thing’. Many tout the new techniques are minimally invasive and deliver the same results as the more traditional forms of liposuction. A great deal of commitment and caution should be used to sort through all of the new (and often not-so-new) technology, which is marketed simultaneously to aesthetic professionals and to the public.

Although many aesthetic cosmetic surgery procedures are not performed in hospital operating rooms, the fact that a hospital has granted a surgeon privileges for a given procedure ensures that the surgeon has met an accepted standard of competence. It also means that your surgeon will be able to take care of you at a hospital should any complications from cosmetic surgery arise. If you are planning to have any type of cosmetic surgery performed, you should do your due diligence to determine if your surgeon has the appropriate credentials and experience.

Invasive Liposuction Techniques:
Suction Assisted Liposuction (SAL)
SAL was one of the first techniques described in liposuction and remains one of the most commonly used methods today. Cannulas used to suction and contour are typically smaller in diameter than when the procedure was initially described.

Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction (UAL)
UAL was originally introduced in 1982 and is particularly advantageous in patients with larger volumes to be suctioned and in areas where there is more fibrous tissue or decreased skin tone. It is performed with a metal probe that delivers ultrasonic energy and heat to subcutaneous fat which melt or liquefies the fat cells. Lysonix and Vaser Liposuction are types of ultrasound techniques.

Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)
PAL is similar to Suction-Assisted Liposuction, except that it is performed with a specialized cannula that uses mechanized movements to help break up the fatty tissue. It is helpful in large volume liposuction where it can reduce surgeon fatigue. MicroAire®,and Airbrush® are forms of power-assisted liposuction.

Less Invasive Techniques:
Laser-Assisted Lipo/ Laser Lipolysis (SmartLipo®, Cool Lipo®, LipoLite®, ProLipo™, SlimLipo™, AccuSculpt™)
A fat removal procedure using a small cannula equipped with a special laser that produces thermal energy to liquefy fat. The liquefied fat is then removed with a traditional suction cannula. These less invasive techniques are only good for small pockets of fat and can cause thermal damage to important tissues.

All of the above techniques are performed with some type of fluid being infiltrated into the area being contoured before starting the procedure. The different techniques refer to varying the amounts of fluid being infiltrated; from wet, super-wet (most commonly performed) and the tumescent technique (larger volume infiltrate). The fluid infiltrated is typically a saline solution that contains a local anesthetic and epinephrine (a solution that contracts blood vessels) that helps loosen the fat cells, aids in the removal of fat with a more even contour and decreases bleeding. The volume of the fluid creates a space between the muscle and fatty tissue allowing more room for the surgeon to maneuver. The local anesthetic may allow the surgeon to perform the procedure under local anesthesia, but it is difficult to remove large volumes of fatty tissue with a local anesthetic alone.

Non-Invasive Techniques:
Mesotherapy (LipoDissolve®)
A non-invasive treatment using multiple injections of pharmaceutical and homeopathic medications, plant extracts, and vitamins into the fat layer breaking up fatty tissue so it can then be absorbed by the body. There is no scientific or clinical data to suggest that Mesotherapy reduces fat volume and this technique is not FDA approved.

External Laser (VelaShape®, SkinTyte™, SmoothShapes®)
This non-invasive technique uses heat generated by laser energy to stimulate collagen in the skin to cause a tightening effect. This technique requires multiple treatments and the effects are only temporary.

External Radio Frequency (Thermage®, Accent®)
A non-invasive technique that uses heat generated by radio frequency energy to stimulate collagen in the skin to cause a tightening effect. This technique requires multiple treatments and the effects are only temporary.

External Ultrasound (UltraShape®, LipoSonix®)
A non-invasive technique that uses ultrasound waves to break down fat to be absorbed by the body. The ultrasound waves are targeted at fatty areas of the body and are administered externally through the skin. This technique requires multiple treatments and may be painful. Final results are still being studied. LipoSonix has recently been approved by the FDA.

by Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S

About Dr. Gibby
Diane Gibby, M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S Licensed in Texas, Dr. Diane Gibby is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the founder of The Women's Center for Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery. She is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), American Medical Association (AMA), Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons (TSPS), Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS) and the Board Certified Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons of Dallas. She is also a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.). Dr. Gibby's office is located at Medical City Dallas, Building C, Suite 820, (972) 566-6323. Individuals interestedin brochures or names of qualified plastic surgeons in their area may call the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons at 1-800-635-0635.