A new type of liposuction -- known as ScultpEase™ -- combines vibration, power-assisted liposuction and massage therapy to produce pleasing and quick results.
Patients of plastic surgeon Kenrick Spence, M.D.,www.spencemd.com in Orlando, Florida, have so little downtime, many go shopping on the eve of their procedure.
Dr. Spence hit on the SculptEase™ method while injecting his liposuction patients with the various fluids that makes liposuction easier. He tried different ways to distract them from the sting of infusion by needle and applied topical pain killers, which are spread on the skin, but the substances did not last.
Dr. Spence uses a vibrating, power-assisted cannula -- the wand that does the actual fat vacuuming under the skin -- in a procedure known as PAL (power-assisted liposuction.)
One day, he noticed if he placed the vibrating cannula on top of the skin where the needle was inserted, the patient reported feeling no discomfort. As time went on, Dr. Spence observed the patients were barely distracted from their iPods or magazines when vibrations accompanied injections.
After two years of observation and refining the process, Dr. Spence confirmed vibration caused the infusion segment to go much faster. He also found when patients have less discomfort and anxiety, they recover faster, with less bruising and swelling. Consequently, Dr. Spence reduced the average operation time from two hours to one hour and 15 minutes.
However, the piece de résistance for SculptEase™ was adding massage therapy immediately after the liposuction and refining the process to the point where most patients can drive themselves home, with many returning to their jobs the next day.
Currently, the 1/8 to 1/4 inch surgical incisions are left open to allow the fluids to drain. Before, most patients had drains inserted in surgical wounds so the discharge continued. However, patients consider drainage messy, inconvenient and ruinous to clothing. Swelling is also minimized if the massage therapist drains liposuction sites as much as possible.
Because Dr. Spence has scientifically tracked his SculptEase™ patients, he can "reliably and predictably" say the lion’s share of his patients can return to work the next day, with a few requiring 48 hours away from the job.
"The typical patient can usually return to his or her exercise routine in two or three days and can lift heavy things within a week." says Dr. Spence. "Our moms enjoy making soccer practice with kids on the same afternoon."
SculptEase™ also includes some small but proprietary improvements to the equipment used in liposuction.
Dr. Spence wanted to speed things up because many of his patients are working mothers and dads with children and demanding careers. That group is foremost among those who just do not have time to wait for recovery.
Many of Dr. Spence’s patients are from Jamaica and Barbados -- islands with strong British connections.
"Through my strong British ties, word of mouth spread dramatically," Dr. Spence says. "As more patients underwent ScultpEase™, word of its dramatic effects and ease of recovery made its way throughout Orlando, into the Caribbean and to the United Kingdom."
Thus, many English patients interested in plastic surgery started booking appointments and flying in. ScultpEase’s™ uncomplicated recovery allows patients from overseas to shop at American malls on the evening of their procedures.
43-year-old Elizabeth, an Orlando, Florida, urban planner with a six-year-old, had "saddlebags" on her thighs and other areas on her hips liposuctioned during a two-hour procedure.
"I was pleasantly surprised," she says. "I didn’t see or really feel the injections. Pain has been minimal and, although I stayed around home, I walked several hours a day, slept great and felt fine." (More patient interviews are included in a longer article about SculptEase™ currently running on CosmeticSurgery.com www.cosmeticsurgery.com/articles/archive/an~215)
Before Dr. Spence started using SculptEase™, patients asked him to perform two or three procedures at once so that recovery was a one-time event. But now, less time away from work is required so Dr. Spence’s patients are asking for multiple procedures because they can go back to work the next day. Thus, they are scheduling their next SculptEase™ liposuction several months in advance.
"A typical patient asks for her hips to be done a month from now and saddlebags in two months," says Dr. Spence who continues refining the SculptEase™ process by studying how magnetic therapy can help reduce swelling even faster.