Liposuction evolved from work in the late 1960s from surgeons using primitive curettage techniques which were largely ignored, as they produced inconsistent results with significant morbidity and bleeding. Modern liposuction came onto the scene in a presentation by French surgeon, Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz, in 1982. The Illouz method used a technique of suction-assisted lipolysis, using blunt cannulas and high vacuum suction. His method yielded both reproducible good results and low morbidity.
Throughout the 1980s the cosmetic surgeons in the United States experimented with liposuction. Some developed variations and improvements to existing procedures, achieving mixed results.
The tumescent technique was developed in 1985 by two American dermatologists, enhancing the safety of office-based procedures, partly by avoiding the use of general anesthesia.
Ultrasound was introduced to this area of cosmetic surgery during the late 1990s. It was used to facilitate the removal of fat by first liquifying it by using ultrasonic energy. After an initial flurry of interest in this technique, increased reports of complications curtailed the enthusiasm of many practitioners.
The advantages of 30 years of improvements have been that more fat cells can be removed with more ease than in the past, with less blood loss, and less risk of complications.
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