Minimizing Complications of Ultrasound-Assisted Lipoplasty: An Initial Experience with No Related Complications

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Numerous complications and increased operating times were reported with ultrasonically assisted lipoplasty in the first several months after introduction of the technology in the United States. The purpose of this study was to review early reported complications and management regimens, evaluate possible causes of problems, and apply indications and techniques to attempt to minimize complications during an initial experience with this technique beginning in January of 1997.

Seven specific indications and modifications of existing techniques were developed and applied to an initial clinical series of 70 consecutive patients who underwent ultrasound-assisted suction lipoplasty between January 10, 1997, and August 1, 1997. Follow-up ranged from 1 to 7 months.

No perioperative or postoperative complication occurred in any patient in this series. In this series of ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty cases, application of the following criteria resulted in a series of 70 patients with 1 to 7-month follow-up without complications: (1) selecting patients with well localized fat deposits who were no more than 20 percent above their ideal body weight; (2) infusing a solution of Ringer's Lactate containing 1 cc of 1:1000 epinephrine per 1000 cc into the area of fat removal, stopping infusion when the tissues first become firm, not infusing to marked tissue turgor or skin induration; (3) restricting the level of energy application to a minimum of 1 cm from the undersurface of the dermis; (4) limiting ultrasonic energy application in each area to approximately 1 minute per estimated 100 cc of total aspirate in a wet to superwet environment; (5) not performing ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty in the same area as another procedure that could potentially compromise tissue vascularity; (6) using a Lysonix 2000 generator and 5-mm golf tee tip probe at a power setting of 8 to apply ultrasonic energy to the area of fat removal, ceasing energy application when tissue resistance to the passage of the probe decreases and moving the cannula as rapidly as tissue resistance allows; and (7) using a standard elastic garment without adherent foam or other materials for 2 weeks postoperatively, encouraging all normal activity immediately, and restricting aerobic activities for 2 weeks. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 102: 1690, 1998.)

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