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2016 ASPS Fat Removal Statistics: New Fat Removal Techniques

Dr. Mark Deuber has many prospective patients seek out his services to help in removing pockets of excess fat that have not responded to a healthy diet and regular exercise. In fact, liposuction procedures have remained the second most often requested cosmetic procedure after breast augmentation for both 2015 and 2016, according to member survey data collected by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (the largest professional organization for plastic surgeons). A total of more than 235,000 liposuction procedures were performed by ASPS member surgeons in 2016, which was up by 6 percent from more than 225,000 such procedures in 2015.

However, while the continued popularity of liposuction procedures may not be particularly surprising, there was a sharp increase for 2016 in new ways to remove excess fat. It appears that 2016 may be the year in which excess fat is being removed with newer, less invasive technology. Several of these techniques are listed below.

New Fat Removal Techniques

Standard liposuction involves a series of small incisions made into the areas targeted for fat removal. Dr. Deuber then inserts a thin, metal, hollow tube through the incisions to suction out the fat. Ultrasound and lasers can be used to help break down the fat cells for easier removal. In some cases, Dr. Deuber will use a technique known as tumescent liposuction, in which he will first inject the area with a mixture of epinephrine and a local anesthetic, which will cause the fat cells to swell and move closer to the surface. This will make the fat easier to remove.

Cryolipolysis is a form of fat removal that involves freezing the fat cells. For 2016, more than 333,000 cryolipolysis procedures were performed, which was up by 5 percent from more than 318,000 procedures in 2015. The procedure works by pressing the area targeted for fat removal between two metal plates that slowly cool the area until the fat cells freeze and die. The body will naturally eliminate the dead fat cells. Because fat cells will freeze faster than skin cells, there is no danger of damage to the skin. One treatment session takes approximately an hour, and several treatments may be needed until all the fat has been successfully removed from the target area.

Injection lipolysis uses a particular drug substance that is often used to break up fat embolisms in the bloodstream, but in this case to remove excess fat cells from targeted areas. In 2016, more than 55,000 of these procedures were performed, which was an astonishing 18 percent jump from more than 47,000 procedures in 2015. Injection lipolysis treatments are best on small pockets of fat that are relatively soft, such as under the chin or the inner thighs. As with cryolipolysis, several treatments may be needed to be fully effective.

This upswing in new fat removal techniques that are non-invasive appears to indicate that patients are looking for ways to benefit from having fat removed but without having to undergo a surgical procedure. The current 2016 ASPS statistics can be seen here.

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