Liposuction History

The concept of liposuction dates back to the 1920’s, first implanted by French surgeon, Charles Dujarier, whose modern techniques of body contouring and removal of fat sparked interest in body contouring for decades to follow. Dr. Dujarier introduced the technique of contouring during a tragic case of gangrene in the leg of a French model.

In 1974, fluent Italian-American surgeons, Doctors Giorgio and son Arpad Fischer were prized with inventing liposuction. They discovered a way to internally cut away at fat tissue within the body using an electric-powered rotating scalpel inserted through small incisions.

These premature attempts at suction-assisted liposuction resulted in a great deal of blood loss, numbness and very unpredictable results.

In 1977, a French surgeon, Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz prominently improved suction-assisted lipoplasty through the use of a blunt-tipped cannula. The use of a blunt cannula produces less bleeding; less nerve and blood vessel damage, and was easier for the surgeon to manipulate through fatty tissue.

Together Dr. Pierre-Francois Fournier and Dr. Illouz further improved the procedures involved with liposuction and became known as the pioneers of liposuction. Surgeons in the United States began to experiment with liposuction, developing some variations, and achieving mixed results.

Early liposuction procedures were considered dry techniques, although Dr. Illouz originally used an infusion of the treatment area with saline. Surgeons started infusing more saline fluid and mixing the fluid with epinephrine, a drug that constricts blood vessels, and lidocaine, a local anesthetic, in what became called wet techniques.

In 1985, Dr. Jeffrey Klein introduced the tumescent technique, which added high volumes of fluid containing a local anesthetic allowing the procedure to be done in an office setting under intravenous sedation rather than general anesthesia.

In 1986, concerns over the high volume of fluid and potential toxicity of lidocaine with tumescent techniques eventually led to the concept of lower volume “super wet” tumescence, discovered by Dr. Peter Fodor.

In 1987, Italian surgeon Dr. Michele Zocchi pioneered the use of ultrasonic high frequency sound waves in liposuction. High-frequency ultrasound waves are emitted from a paddle or pads that are held near the skin. After a flurry of initial interest, an increase in reported complications tempered the enthusiasm of many practitioners.

In 1999, laser-assisted liposuction was pioneered by Columbian surgeon, Dr. Rodrigo Neira. Dr. Neira reportedly had first attempted to relieve pain and lessen the recovery time with this device, which had been created for pain management. He noticed that fat was emulsified and released from fat cells, but that the fat cell membranes were unharmed.

Overall, the advancements have shown that more fat cells can more easily be removed, with a reduced amount of blood loss, less discomfort and fewer risks.

Recent developments suggest that the recovery period can be shortened as well. In addition, fat can also be used as natural filler. According to ASPS statistics, liposuction has been among the top five most popular cosmetic surgical procedures since 1992, the year ASPS began collecting its plastic surgery procedural statistics.

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