‘Tickle Lipo®’ is the new, much talked about procedure in the world of liposuction for body contouring and fat removal.
The device in question is manufactured by Euromi of Belgium and uses a technology originally called Custom Acoustic Liposuction (CAL) or Nutational Infrasonic Liposuction (NIL) and was originally marketed in some countries as Vibroliposuction or Vibro Lipo™. It also has FDA approval for fat removal and body sculpting.
“Most of these acronyms are just marketing rubbish to get the unwary patient to try something supposedly new, because of course we are programmed to think new must be better!”; said one UK based Consultant Plastic Surgeon that we asked for comment.
With many reports of patients experiencing a slight tickling sensation during treatment you can see why the U.S. distribution company Medical Alliance Services filed a trademark to market the more consumer friendly ‘Tickle Lipo®’ term to consumers. There are in fact many videos on You Tube™ which show testimony to patients practically beside themselves with laughter proclaiming that the surgeon is tickling them during this procedure, not what you might expect from serious cosmetic surgery!
Although it is said to be well known in Europe, it is one of the newest methods of liposuction offered in the United States and is not currently actively promoted in the UK to our knowledge.
Traditional liposuction tends to require a large amount of physical effort on the part of the practitioner during the performance of the procedure. CAL/NIL was first introduced in Belgium by a physician who performed several liposuction procedures each day and was developed with the aim of increasing the physician’s performance whilst decreasing his/her physical effort.
Unlike other new breed liposuction or lipolysis devices on the market such as VASER® Lipo or Smartlipo® it doesn’t use a ultrasound or lasers to break up the fat prior to removal. Instead it relies on the motion of the cannula itself which is powered by air pressure and moves in three dimensions in a whirling movement, vibrating and rotating (known as ‘nutational’), whilst also delivering an infusion of anaesthesia in a tumescent solution.
It is also claimed that the patented technique of nutation provides faster infiltration of the tumescent solution - 25% faster than other liposuction technology, shortening the length of the procedure for both practitioner and patient.
It is this vibration and movement which causes the tickling sensation for the patient, who is of course numbed to the pain of the cannula inside them by the infiltration of the anaesthetic. The nutational vibration of the cannula is also said to interfere with the brain's pain receptors in the same way that scratching relieves an itch.
The technology used is a 3D acoustic energy which is emitted as a low, infrasonic frequency (10Hz), said to be safer than ultrasonic waves as this means that the cannula remains cool during the procedure so poses less risk to surrounding tissue.
We asked UK VASER Lipo trainer, Dr. Ravi Jain for his thoughts on Tickle Lipo® as a competitor to VASER which was proved to produce superior results to standard suction assisted liposuction*.
“Tickle Lipo is not a new phenomenon but is a new marketing brand! Nutational Liposuction is relatively old technology and has been around for a long time. I certainly doubt that 3 out of 4 patients will be laughing throughout a decent procedure, unless one gives them laughing gas!
Vibration assisted infiltration is an interesting concept and may well reduce discomfort during infiltration, but so will slower infiltration rates and more care when infiltrating.
The liposuction part of this procedure is suction assisted liposuction, so nothing new there. I think it’s just a company which wants to push their product with a new marketing concept. I still believe VASER offers patients the safest and most effective treatments.”
With so many options available for the reduction of fatty tissue, from non-invasive ultrasound devices such as Ultrashape™ and Liposonix™, invasive systems such as laser lipolysis with Smartlipo™, ultrasound assisted liposuction with VASER® or radio-frequency assisted liposuction with Bodytite™, and on to more traditional tumescent liposuction procedures, it’s difficult for the consumer and the practitioner to evaluate the best methods to employ. The only way this can be done is with further clinical trials and comparative work. One such interesting piece of clinical data which compares various types of liposuction is available here.
*Study: A Multi-Center, Prospective, Randomized, Single-Blind, Controlled Clinical Trial Comparing VASER-Assisted Lipoplasty and Suction-Assisted Lipoplasty
Let us know your thoughts on the differing liposuction options.
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Lorna has been the Editor of The Consulting Room (www.consultingroom.com), the UK's largest aesthetic information website, since 2003. She is an industry commentator on a number of different areas related to the aesthetic and cosmetic surgery industry; collating and evaluating clinical data, news and statistics and writing a magazine, blogs and feature articles for The Consulting Room and various consumer and trade publications, including Aesthetic Medicine, Cosmetic News and Aesthetic Dentistry Today. Lorna regularly attends key conferences and educational events for the industry and has close contact with many of the suppliers who manufacture and distribute products and devices utilised in aesthetic medicine. Lorna also liaises with press and members of the media researching cosmetic surgery, with the aim of educating and raising awareness amongst the public.