Lipo-this, Sculpt-that—there are so many varieties of liposuction these days! When you research the possibilities, they can make your head spin. Spending just a few minutes on RealSelf recently, we spotted more than 20 different fat treatments, we kid you not. These often-branded procedures utilize ultrasound, lasers, radiofrequency, heating, cooling, injections—you name it.
Why are there so many options on the market? And how is a candidate for liposuction in New York or anywhere else supposed to choose?
Fat Fighting Options
There are a few reasons for the surprising number of ways to remove fat. We’ll outline a few:
• Liposuction is popular
The most obvious reason behind the proliferation of these options is that liposuction is so popular. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the professional organization that has tracked cosmetic surgery trends for many years, liposuction nearly always ranks number one or number two in popular procedures in the U.S. Nowadays, more than a quarter of a million American men and women choose liposuction each year.
• Patient desires
It’s no surprise: patients want the benefits of looking great with the least amount of disruption possible. In the case of fat reduction, people want results with a minimum of downtime, discomfort, and if possible, cash. This wish list has led to the invention of all kinds of less invasive options including fat heating and cooling as well as fat-blasting injectables.
Are the alternatives effective? It’s worth a look on RealSelf to investigate. Most of the better-known techniques have a satisfaction rating from about 90% down to about 70%. Some of the less expensive treatments seem less apt to produce good results, with “worth it” ratings down in the 40’s or even 30’s.
• Avoiding general anesthesia
Both patients and cosmetic surgeons often like to avoid using general anesthesia for liposuction. In New York, in our practice, we use IV sedation instead. We can do this because our anesthesiologist is so talented and has worked with us for many years, and because we have perfected our techniques during three decades of performing liposuction in Manhattan. For best results and patient comfort, however, most cosmetic surgeons need to use general anesthesia. This increases the cost of the procedure.
When cosmetic surgeons offer local anesthesia with a liposuction alternative, to save money, think twice about agreeing. It’s not unusual for patients to suffer pain on the operating table, sometimes severe pain. They may not be able to lie still, complicating the procedure. The session may even need to be shortened before optimum results are achieved, and sometimes the doctor may promise another round. In our view, this is not how you please a patient. Beware of local sedation only. If you can’t find a provider who offers the gentle sleep of IV sedation, it’s better to choose general anesthesia in most liposuction procedures than to agree to local pain relief only.
These factors contribute to a noisy marketplace for fat removal options today. One more thing to know: if a cosmetic surgeon has invested in a certain technology such as CoolSculpting equipment—tens of thousands of dollars, even a used model—he or she has to pay for it. Usually this happens over a period of months or years. Therefore, attracting patients to use it on is a must. Whether it’s the right choice for your situation or not, you may find yourself encouraged to give it a try.
Also, be advised that there are downsides and risks to the “lipo alternatives.” Be sure to ask any practitioner you consult about them, read the “not worth it” reviews on reputable websites and avoid any clinics that put on the hard sell. Here’s a string of reviews on RealSelf that discusses what can go wrong with CoolSculpting.
There are some stories of pain involved with Vaser Liposuction that are difficult to read. It’s truly worth your time to take a deep dive into what can happen with local anesthesia only. Will you be in pain on the operating table and not be able to do anything about it? How will you feel post-op when the local wears off?
What to Do
So, if you’re looking for liposuction in New York, what should you do? Research is key, of course. Note that while some of the less invasive options have decent ratings, some are not much less expensive than traditional liposuction, especially if you need multiple sessions. Some can’t remove the volume of fat you may need addressed. And beware of those claiming easier and quicker recovery—it may or may not be true. In a recent article in Allure magazine touting treatment called AirSculpt, the author/patient, though pleased with her results overall, noted that “the intensity of the recovery was a bit shocking.”
While you learn and weigh your options, we suggest you schedule a consultation with at least one cosmetic surgeon who is very experienced and performs traditional liposuction often. In our practice in New York, liposuction is still our go-to, tried and true best choice. It takes a little longer than some of the new fat removal options, and there is a recovery period that requires a few days of rest. But you can’t argue with the consistent results we deliver. We know when to go deeper with the cannula and when to stay near the surface, plus we are adept at re-draping skin. The bottom line is that fat pockets are gone for good, and skin lies flat and smooth.
If you’re evaluating the best way to blast the fat, we invite you to come in for a liposuction consultation in Manhattan. You can weigh the option against other choices and decide for yourself.