High-definition liposuction, also known as hi-definition liposuction, hi-definition liposculpture, or simply hi-def lipo, is a surgical procedure that involves suctioning excess fat out of target areas of the body to create a slim, muscular and athletic appearance in different areas of the body. In the abdominal region of the body, for example, plastic surgeons remove excess fat and provide sculpting to create the appearance of a six-pack in men or a "turtle tummy" in women.
Liposuction techniques using ultrasonic waves were developed in the 1980s. Initially, patients using ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) experienced mixed results. Patients were occasionally overexposed to the ultrasound energy, leading to tissue damage and other complications. In response to the problems associated with first and second generation ultrasonic liposuction technologies and the limitations of tumescent liposuction, researchers began developing new UAL technologies in the mid-1990s.
Vaser, which stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance, is a third-generation ultrasound-assisted lipocustion tool that delivers energy in pulses through a specially designed probe. Pulsating energy and the specially developed probe help to prevent overexposure to ultrasonic waves and the subsequent side effects. Dr. William W. Cimino began developing Vaser systems in 1998 as the founder of Sound Surgical Technologies, LLC in Lafayette, Colorado, United States. The Vaser high-definition liposculpture procedure involves liposuction using ultrasound around muscles groups such as the abdominals, hips and flanks, upper back, breasts, bra roll, arms, mal pec, glutes and legs. The Vaser instrument used during surgery liquefies the fat and allows the surgeon to target specific fat layers which helps to create the sculpted appearance of the muscles.
During high-definition liposculpture, small incisions are made in the target area and either ultrasonic energy or laser energy is transmitted through a small probe into the targeted area. This energy breaks cellular membranes surrounding fat cells releasing the lipid contents. A small cannula or hollow tube is then inserted under the skin and moved back and forth while suctioning the melted fat out of the body. The Vaser device is capable of selectively delivering ultrasound energy to liquefy the fat in the body without damaging other types of tissues. Once the fat has been melted, it can be suctioned out of the body through very small 2.2 mm to 3.7 mm sized cannulae without causing great trauma to the surrounding tissue structures. The SmartLipo Triplex cannula is slightly smaller in diameter than Vaser cannulae at only 1 mm. Using laser lipolysis, the fat is also melted and then suctioned from the body. Laser wavelengths cause blood to coagulate in surrounding blood vessels, reducing swelling, bruising, and excessive bleeding during the procedure. In abdominal high-definition liposculpture, the plastic surgeon uses the rectus abdominus, linea alba, linea semilunaris, and transverse tendinous intersections as visual landmarks. These areas are then accentuated using superficial liposuction to make deeper grooves in the underlying tissues, thereby highlighting the musculature. By depositing additional fat cells to create more volume where it is needed, the plastic surgeon is able to sculpt the target area to create an athletic appearance to the abdomen. The same technique is used to accentuate muscular definition in other areas of the body.
After the surgeon has finished suctioning and sculpting the target area, incisions are closed up and the patient is moved into a recovery area to be monitored for a brief time before returning home. The entire procedure may take up to 6 hours to complete.
Patients typically return to their normal routines within 7–10 days after their high-definition liposculpture procedure. Within two weeks, a moderate level of exercise can be resumed. Strenuous exercise must be delayed for a least one month after the procedure. Many patients feel pain or discomfort following high-definition liposculpture. Plastic surgeons typically prescribe medications that keep pain under control. Compression garments must often be used after hi definition liposculpture to ensure that treated tissues are supported during the healing process.
Candidates for the high-definition liposuction procedures should be in good general health before surgery. Though both small and large volume fat removal is possible using the Vaser device, the most appropriate candidate for high-definition liposculpture is a patient who is close to their ideal body weight and who has good muscle tone already.
More than 70,000 Vaser procedures have been performed without serious complications developing. However, because high-definition liposculpture is a surgical procedure, there are still risks involved, such as bleeding, bruising, swelling, scarring, infection, and negative reactions to the anesthesia.
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