It’s long been tempting to contemplate magically ridding the body of pockets of fat that accumulate in certain areas such as the lower abdomen and thighs. In fact, French surgeon Charles Dujarier tried to do exactly that way back in the 1920s. Unfortunately the procedure caused gangrene in the model’s leg, so the end result didn’t quite merit much interest… at the time.
Still, the concept of liposuction was born.
Due to this failure, it took 50 more years for interest in liposuction to return. In 1974 two Italian doctors, Drs. Arpad and Fischer, developed the blunt tunneling technique from which modern liposuction has since evolved.
Liposuction comes into its own
Liposuction can really be traced to 1982 when French surgeon Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz used the “Illouz Method,” which was the first to use suction from a cannula. He injected fluid into the tissue to break up the fat deposits and then suctioned them out.
The next step came when another French surgeon, Pierre Fournier, introduced lidocaine into the fluid injections, providing local anesthesia for the patient and eliminating the need for general anesthesia. He also made a smaller incision and advocated the use of compression garments after the procedure to help the body adhere to its new contour.
Liposuction came to the U.S. in the late 80s. Originally, the relatively violent movements of the cannula under the skin caused fairly extensive bruising and tissue trauma. But much of that trauma was addressed when ultrasound was used to liquefy the fat, making its removal all that much easier. Other techniques have been introduced since to further minimize incision size and tissue trauma, resulting in far less pain and blood loss, and easier recovery.