Current measures for assessing the results of body contouring surgery are limited. The goal of our study was to analyze objectively and quantitatively the results of ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty by use of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). A prospective study of nine patients who underwent ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (Lysonics 2000® generator) was performed. Each patient underwent preoperative and postoperative DEXA scanning (Lunar®). All patients were women, and the average age was 42 years (range 26 to 57 years). The amount of emulsion was recorded, and analysis of the emulsion demonstrated that approximately 40% was infiltration solution, serum, and blood. The average patient follow-up period was 14 weeks (range 8 to 22 weeks). The amount of fat that was measured after aspiration (adjusted for infiltration solution, serum, and blood) was consistently less than the fat reduction demonstrated by DEXA. Fat reduction by DEXA was shown to be 45% and 46% greater than the measured aspirated fat from the right and left thighs, respectively. For both the right and left hips, the difference was 48%, and for the abdomen, DEXA recorded a 30% greater fat reduction than was aspirated. DEXA can be used to assess objectively and quantitatively the results of ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty. Furthermore, DEXA more accurately reflects total fat reduction, including aspirated fat and resorbed emulsion, as well as any prolonged lipolytic effect that may be caused by thermal injury or any regional toxic effect of the emulsion.
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