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Safer surgical slimming

BY KIM DAME Hernando Today Correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 16, 2013 at 11:52 AM

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Beach weather is already upon us. And the focus on toning up and slimming down to fit the ideal bathing suit image seems to be an annual practice.

But what if regular cardio exercise, strength training and eating a healthier diet haven’t provided the solution to unwanted bulges and saggy areas? Surgical procedures might be something to consider.

Liposuction, which is the most popular cosmetic procedure performed in the United States, has been a surgical option for years, with mixed reviews about the effectiveness versus the financial and physical impacts on patients.

The traditional procedure is basically described as a surgical option where the cosmetic surgeon makes small incisions in the areas where fat is to be removed. A cannula, or long, hollow tube, is then inserted to break up the fat cells using a firm back-and-forth motion. The broken cells are then removed through suctioning.

Patients are under a general anesthesia during the procedure and therefore experience no pain. But recovery after the anesthesia wears off can be extensive.

Laser liposuction, which has various trade names, is similar to traditional liposuction but uses a narrower cannula, which allows for a smaller incision. A laser inside the cannula emits energy into the targeted fat cells, breaking them down and leaving them in a liquid-like consistency.

Using laser energy allows the procedure to be performed on an outpatient basis under local or sedation anesthesia.

Fluid containing a mixture of saline, local anesthesia and epinephrine, which constricts blood vessels to minimize blood loss, is first injected under the skin in the targeted areas.

The laser heats the fat and turns it into a semi-soft liquid that is easier to remove through suction.

In addition to softening the fat tissue for easier removal, the laser energy heats the skin cells, which also stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen, the main structure protein found in skin, begins to slow its production during advanced aging.

Therefore, laser liposuction is also believed to improve the appearance of skin.

Laser liposuction, or more correctly termed laser-assisted liposuction, was introduced in 2007 with Smart Lipo, according to Plastic Surgery Consumer Guide. Other procedures of laser liposuction were then added to the group, with names like Slim Lip, Cool Lip and ProLipo Plus.

Benefits for laser liposuction over traditional liposuction are obvious. A smaller incision and a narrower tool mean less scarring.

No general anesthesia eliminates risk. There is little or no bleeding since blood vessels are sealed during the procedure, and faster recovery since the procedure is significantly less invasive.

Black Swan Spa, a medical spa in Spring Hill, promotes positive body image through cosmetic procedures.

Located at 443 Mariner Blvd., Black Swan has been in the county for more than nine years, offering many advanced treatments and procedures, including Botox and Juvederm.

Black Swan doesn’t do massages, manicures, pedicures or hairstyling. It targets instead a more permanent solution to the problem areas caused by aging.

And while they do body sculpting with ultrasound technology, they haven’t yet added laser liposuction to their menu of services. “But it’s something we want to offer our clients,” said Tami Juliano, Black Swan’s general office manager.

Recently, Black Swan hosted a seminar on Smart Lipo with guests from Clarity MedSpa out of Land O’ Lakes.

A team from Clarity demonstrated on video the procedure for Smart Lipo and discussed the procedure they perform at their facility.

Dr. Danny Abbruzzese began the 90-minute session with a quick, detailed video about the procedure and opened the floor for questions about Smart Lipo versus traditional liposuction. Nurse practitioners were on hand to do private consultations with guests who might be interested in beginning a custom plan based on their specific areas of concern.

Black Swan, in collaboration with Clarity MedSpa, will soon make Smart Lipo available for clients.

“We’re trying hard to team up and to do it together,” said Juliano.

“We are asked a lot if we would recommend plastic surgery,” she continued. “No one wants to drive to Tampa or Clearwater. Working with another medspa that can offer those services is in our best interest because we want to be a full-service spa for our patients.”

Black Swan is known for its procedures in enhanced treatments to stave off signs of aging in an environment that is comfortable and confidential.

All medical services are under the supervision of a physician.

Procedures like Botox, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser hair removal are becoming increasingly popular and can be less expensive than many realize.

Proponents say the benefits can have an empowering impact.

It all comes down to the results and how they make the client feel, Juliano said. While many Black Swan Spa clients don’t openly broadcast the procedures they have performed, the positive results are impossible to miss.

“They just look and feel better,” Juliano said.

Two medically trained, advanced registered nurse practitioners perform several procedures that can refresh the look without surgery, saving recovery time and money.

Holly Boyd and Jamie Johnson bring experience to Black Swan Spa. Boyd worked at a well-known competitor, MedSpa in Tampa. Johnson was an emergency room nurse.

All procedures at Black Swan Spa begin with a complimentary consultation to determine what the client hopes to achieve. And since each client is different, the plan is then customized to the individual’s needs and budget.

The price for each procedure is then determined, based on the customized plan.

Black Swan regularly offers workshops and seminars, like the Smart Lipo discussion, to anyone interested in attending, free of charge.

They also hold regular events where visitors can observe procedures and receive special discounts.

For more information about Smart Lipo laser liposuction, contact Black Swan Spa at (352) 666-1300 or visit their website at

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