KCTV5 Special Report: Water Lipo - KCTV5

KCTV5 Special Report: Water Lipo

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Liposuction gets rid of fat, but it's a major procedure. It requires anesthesia and often leads to swelling, pain and days of bruising.

A KCTV5 Special Report provides a close-up look at new technology that promises a leaner look without the long recovery. It also fulfills the wish of being able to take fat out of one area and transfer it to another. The secret to this new method is water.

Jennifer, who requested we not use her last name, has a body that would thrill most of us. But when she looks in the mirror, she sees flaws that have bothered her since childhood.

"I was teased as a kid about my large behind," Jennifer said.

Her problem is a common one. She is disproportionate – smaller on the top than she is on the bottom. She says her 34-A bra size doesn't feel right in swimsuits or even regular clothing. The fear of putting a foreign object into her body has kept Jennifer from getting implants. When she learned there was a way to combine this new water-liposuction with a breast augmentation, she decided it was time to do something.

"My husband is very supportive of how I look and it doesn't matter to him," she said. "So, it's for me - extra confidence for myself."

Dr. Gordon Clark of Modern Dermatology and Aesthetics in Shawnee is the only doctor in eight states performing this less-invasive liposuction. During the procedure, the patient stays awake. Clark makes a few small 3 millimeter incisions and numbs the area, then uses a special instrument to spray water into the fat layer right under the skin. The water gently breaks up the fat.

"With the pressurized spray, it's enough to knock the fat cells loose," Clark said, "but it doesn't damage nerves or blood vessels, but it does push them out of harm's way.

Clark uses the same instrument to vacuum out the dislodged fat cells. Unlike traditional liposuction, these cells are still alive after extraction. Once filtered, they can be re-inserted into the body in a variety of places.

"When people have marionette lines in the face, if they have the nasal labial folds, if they're losing volume in cheek structure or edges of the chin," said Clark. "Hands and breasts are far and away are the biggest ones."

Clark knows about water liposuction first-hand. He has had it done. He even describes himself as the perfect candidate for the procedure: someone who has been heavy and then lost weight, but remains unable to erase certain pockets of fat through diet or exercise.

"You can get rid of fat, but you never get rid of, not one, single fat cell," he said.

As for Jennifer's procedure, Clark said, "She'll probably be a B and if she'll put on some weight over the next couple of months, she'll probably be a C."

While Jennifer wishes she would have been able to contribute more than 174 cc's of fat to her breast augmentation, she was more than pleased by the speedy recovery, which is typically less than 48 hours.

"I went to my daughter's game on Saturday. . . .  the next day," she said.

Patients are not required to use expelled fat if they don't need it transferred to other places in their bodies. But it can be frozen for future use. The cost for water liposuction is about $3,000. That price is less than traditional liposuction because it does not require general anesthesia.

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