Liposuction doesn’t have the finest track record. It was a fat-removal technique first performed by French surgeon Charles Dujarier in the 1920s, but it had a bumpy start. It was a dangerous and bloody affair, with a high death rate and poor results.
They didn’t understand the impact of removing so much fat tissue from the human body, and it had bad results. The instruments were fat scrapers, and did nothing but damage, leaving scarring and other undesirable effects.
It wasn’t until 1974 that a father and son gynaecologist team developed the cannula, a very small tube, which allowed movement between blood vessels to suck fat out of tunnels in tissue, sparing the blood vessels.
In 1978, improvements were made to liposuction equipment by French surgeons, and the ‘wet technique’ became popular across France. Saline was injected into the fat before it was suctioned out to reduce bleeding and make the suctioning easier.
Soon enough, anaesthetic lidocaine was used instead, which resulted in the development of the tumescent liposuction technique that is used today.
Today, liposuction has been revolutionised by several introductions.
First it was the special tumescent fluid that stops bleeding before it starts, reducing bruising and recovery times, and pressure garments, required for healing for many weeks post-procedure. Nobody has ever died after having liposuction with the tumescent technique, which cannot be said for other, earlier techniques. This is where liposuction’s bad reputation came from.
A newer technique again is now laser-assisted liposuction, which may again revolutionise liposuction, but has yet to take off due to problems with skin peeling, burns, and fluid build-up.
Modern liposuction is considered very safe and effective, despite many providers of alternative fat-removal procedures constantly referring to ‘dangerous’ liposuction – they are talking about the liposuction of olde, not the newer techniques.