Comparative Evaluation of Traditional, Ultrasonic, and Pneumatic Assisted Lipoplasty: Analysis of Local and Systemic Effects, Efficacy, and Costs of These Methods
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- Scuderi, N., Paolini, G., Grippaudo, F. et al. Aesth. Plast. Surg. (2000) 24: 395. doi:10.1007/s002660010066
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Recently ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL) and pneumatic assisted liposuction (PAL) have been introduced as an attempt to improve the results and reduce the pitfalls of standard liposuction (SAL). Until now no studies comparing, at the same time, UAL, PAL, and SAL have been published. The aim of this study was to analyze these methods from the surgeon's point of view, focusing not only on aesthetic results but also on local and systemic trauma, efficacy, handling, and cost. Forty-five cosmetic patients affected by local lipodystrophy, divided into three equal groups, have undergone liposuction with the three above-mentioned techniques. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of lipoaspirates, together with blood chemistry, local and systemic complications, time to aspirate 100 cm3, distress, fatigue, and costs of the procedures, has been recorded. Our results showed bloodier lipoaspirates in SAL and a higher percentage of triglycerides in UAL lipoaspirates. Blood tests revealed a slight decrease in the postoperative Hb in SAL only. Early complications observed were four erythemas in PAL, three ecchymoses in SAL, and one long-lasting edema in UAL. Aesthetic results rated by independent viewers were similar for all methods. Efficacy was higher in the PAL group (4 min × 100 cm3 fat aspirated) than in SAL (7 min × 100 cm3 fat) and UAL (10 min × 100 cm3 fat). Surgeon's distress was higher in PAL than in SAL and UAL. Surgeon's fatigue was much lower in the PAL group than in the others. Costs expressed as multiples of 1 unit (1 unit = $500 U.S.) were highest for UAL, low for PAL, and lowest for SAL. In conclusion, PAL and UAL caused reduced vascular injury, UAL being more selective for adipocyte removal. Complications of UAL and PAL were mostly related to the longer learning curve of these methods. The UAL procedure was much more expensive than PAL and, especially, SAL. PAL proved to be a handy technique, with the most favorable cost/benefit ratio, and seems to be the best option for busy liposuction practices or fast office procedures, even though the choice of the ideal technique always depends on the surgeon's preference.