The plastic surgery field thrives on innovation; combining the cutting edge with the tried and true. One of the latest steps forward in this ongoing story is called Renuvion. It’s a technology that improves our ability to tighten skin, used on its own or in tandem with liposuction at our San Jose practice.
Let’s start there. Liposuction is a valuable tool that plastic surgeons have used for years to remove stubborn excess fat. In the right patient, this minimally invasive procedure can create great results. But it is not right for everyone.
Who’s a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
As we explain in more depth in a related blog post, a great candidate for liposuction is someone who wants correction of an area that has:
- Modest to moderate fat excess
- Good underlying muscle tone
and most importantly–
- Good elasticity of the overlying skin. Skin elasticity is critically important because liposuction depends on the skin tightening down over the area of fat removal to achieve a good, smooth contour after the procedure.
The Balloon and the Sandwich Bag
Here’s a comparison to illustrate the concept:
Imagine 2 objects: an empty balloon and an empty sandwich bag. The balloon is elastic, the sandwich bag is not. When you fill them both with water, the surface of each is tight and smooth.
When you let half the water out, the elastic balloon remains taut. But—what happens to the non-elastic sandwich bag? It sags and becomes loose and wrinkly.
The same is true for skin. Perform liposuction on someone with good skin elasticity, and the skin will remain tight over the area after the procedure, leaving a pleasingly smooth contour.
Do the same for someone with even modestly inelastic (looser) skin, and the risk of that patient developing sag is significant. That can often mean disappointment with the result.
How Do You Tighten Skin After Liposuction?
In general, patients with severe skin inelasticity, evidenced by sagging and stretch marks, remain poor candidates for liposuction.
But yes, there is now more help for this skin sag effect than ever before.
Renuvion, a recently introduced technology also known as J-plasma, has opened the liposuction door for the many patients with less than perfect skin elasticity, who until now were considered poor candidates for this highly sought-after procedure.
For these patients, the only option has been the possibility of just living with areas of loose skin or pursuing more invasive procedures requiring skin excision.
How Does Plasma Skin Tightening Work?
- Renuvion is performed at the time of liposuction. Once the fat is removed from the area of concern, the Renuvion wand is introduced into one of the small incisions made during the liposuction procedure.
- It infuses small amounts of harmless helium gas into the tunnels left by the liposuction device and then uses electrical current to create what is known as a cold plasma cloud.
- The plasma cloud acts on the connective tissues between the skin and the underlying covering of the muscle, causing these structures to tighten over time. (If you have a large area of hanging or sagging skin, such as in areas of large weight loss, this subtle kind of skin tightening will not resolve your issue. Surgical removal of skin is needed to remedy those situations.)
- The good news now for liposuction patients with some excess sagging skin is that they may be good candidates for this minimally invasive skin tightening with Renuvion.
At Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Associates, we saw the value in this exciting new treatment in 2020. We are using this technology frequently for our patients who would like both liposuction and skin tightening in a single, minimally invasive procedure. If you are wondering if liposuction and Renuvion are right for you, we invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. We look forward to seeing you!
[Dr. Benjamin Maser, Dr. Steven Bates, and Dr. Vincent Lepore are board-certified plastic surgeons serving San Jose and other cities throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Please use our online form to contact us or call to schedule your visit – 408-356-4241]