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A Quick History of Liposuction

By Peter Fisher, MD on December 01, 2018


A two cross-section of skin and fat tissue receiving liposuction and after the procedureUnwanted fat that does not go away can be frustrating. If you have an area of the body that is affected by excess fat, then liposuction may be the right body contouring procedure for you. Liposuction is a popular cosmetic procedure that removes unwanted fat in patients within 30 pounds of their ideal weight.

If you are considering liposuction to achieve your body goals, Dr. Peter Fisher can meet with you during a consultation at our San Antonio, TX, practice to determine your candidacy.

In the meantime, learn about the history of liposuction to understand how this procedure has evolved over time.

Liposuction in the 1920s

Liposuction first began in the 1920s with French surgeon Charles Dujarier. He came up with the idea of removing fat and contouring the body via surgery.

Sadly, one of his patients developed gangrene as a post-operative complication, leading Dujarier’s early liposuction attempts to be abandoned.

It would be several decades, about a half a century in fact, before the practice of liposuction would reemerge in the surgical community.

Blunt Tunneling Technique in the 1970s

In 1974, Italian surgeons Arpad and Giorgio Fischer developed the blunt tunneling technique, the approach to liposuction that most resembles contemporary techniques.

Blunt tunneling involved the use of rotating scalpels to break up fat. Then, a tube is inserted to suction out the fat.

Illouz Method Approach in the 1980s

Cosmetic surgeons made improvements to the blunt tunneling approach that minimized blood loss and nerve damage associated with surgical articulation to break up fat.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, French surgeon Yves-Gerard Illouz used a blunt-tipped cannula (a type of tube), rather than rotating scalpels, to dislodge unwanted fat. The result was fewer complications, faster healing times, and improved aesthetic results.

Following this, another French surgeon, Pierre Fournier, modified the incision methods to minimize trauma. He also introduced compression therapy after surgery to reduce swelling and enhance cosmetic results. In addition, he used lidocaine as a local anesthetic, which helped pave the way for other developments in the patient comfort area.

For example, in the 1980s, American physicians began to deploy different sedation methods, eliminating the need for liposuction patients to undergo general anesthesia.

Improvements in the 1990s

With advances in medical technology, cosmetic surgeons have improved liposuction techniques.

For example, adding lidocaine and compression techniques improves patient comfort and produces better long-term results.

Surgeon also started using ultrasound technology to liquefy fat prior to liposuction, so the fat can be more easily removed. All of these improvements contributed to the liposuction techniques that are offered today, which are associated with a lower risk of complications, less pain, and quicker recovery periods.

Learn More about Liposuction

Liposuction is consistently one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. It can quickly and effectively improve body contours.

If you are interested in learning if this procedure is right for you, reach out to us today. You can speak with a team member by calling our practice. You can also fill out our online form and we will get back to you shortly.

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