Much gentler than traditional liposuction, water-assisted liposuction is an innovative new liposuction technique that uses the power of water to gently flush unwanted fat away. If you are fewer than 25 pounds overweight and have stubborn fat ”pockets” that won’t budge with diet and exercise, you may be a good candidate for water-assisted liposuction.
When diet and exercise fail, water-assisted liposuction provides patients with excellent liposuction results with less bruising, swelling and downtime compared to traditional liposuction procedures and techniques. Dr. Robert Colgrove uses this procedure to permanently remove fat cells from treated areas, resulting in excellent body contouring for a long-lasting solution.
Water-Assisted Liposuction Procedure
Water-assisted liposuction uses a slightly pressurized stream of saline to dislodge fat and simultaneously remove the cells. Water-assisted liposuction injects tumescent fluid (saline and medicines including a local anesthetic) into the body part being treated. With the water-assisted liposuction technique, the removed fat cells may be ”harvested” and transferred to restore fullness to other areas of the body where extra fat is considered desirable. This is possible because the fat cells are not destroyed, as they are with other liposuction techniques.
Typically, this procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Anesthesia is required for treatment, and may be general, intravenous sedation or local, depending on the body areas to be worked on, your wishes and your physician’s input. Pain-relieving lidocaine is also added to the water to help minimize discomfort.
Once the local anesthesia has taken effect, a cannula (small tube) is introduced into the tissue to irrigate and then simultaneously suction the loosened fat cell from the body. Finally, any remaining fluid is removed. The procedure is considered gentle and minimally invasive, since the force seen in traditional liposuction methods is not needed when using water-assisted liposuction.
The amount of time required depends partly on the size of the area being treated. Water-assisted liposuction may take one to three hours to perform. This can be much shorter than a traditional liposuction procedure because there is no lengthy infiltration phase with water-assisted liposuction. The infiltration phase is when large volumes of wetting solution (a saline/epinephrine/lidocaine mixture) are infused into the body.
Water-Assisted Liposuction Risks and Recovery
Although liposuction is very safe and effective, you should be aware of the general risks associated with liposuction of any type, which can include temporary swelling and bruising at the site or sites worked on. The area may feel numb, but this effect is temporary. In addition, aesthetic complications such as skin irregularity or waviness can occur if too much fat has been removed. Fortunately, complications are uncommon and most patients are satisfied with their results. Other risks may include asymmetry, seroma (fluid accumulation) and hematoma (collection of blood outside the blood vessels that may clot). The discussion of potential risks and/or concerns you may have about the procedures should occur during your initial treatment consultation.
There is usually very little bruising or swelling and water-assisted liposuction often has a very short recovery time, partially because the use of water means that there is less tissue trauma to the body. This is another liposuction technology that does not require general anesthetic, which reduces risks to the patient and reduces costs. Also, because of the fluid management used in this technique, the surgeon can do a more detailed anatomical assessment while conducting the procedure, so the results are excellent.