Understanding the different types of liposuction can be challenging, especially if you’re new to the world of plastic surgery. Overall, liposuction is a fairly straightforward procedure: Small incisions are made around the target area, and your surgeon inserts a thin tube called a cannula. The cannula suctions out unwanted fat cells. Finally, the incisions are closed, and the patient is whisked off to recovery.
In truth, however, the exact science of how liposuction is performed is far more complex. Various extra techniques and technologies are always always employed to help make liposuction easier and faster to perform and recover from.
Let’s take a look at four commonly performed types of liposuction.
#1 – Traditional Liposuction
Also known as suction assisted liposuction, traditional lipo is now frequently considered to be the “old way” of performing this procedure. While it can certainly still be performed (and tends to be less expensive than newer forms), it also tends to lead to the highest incidence of swelling, bruising, and bleeding after fat removal.
During a traditional liposuction procedure, your surgeon will pass their cannula back and forth throughout the area where you want stubborn body fat removed. This movement and agitation will loosen and dislodge fat cells so that they can be suctioned out through the cannula.
Aside from causing more symptoms during recovery, this lipo option also tends not to be as precise as newer techniques. On the other hand, the liposuction cost for traditional suction assisted lipo is usually more affordable.
#2 – Tumescent Liposuction
Once of the main goals of tumescent liposuction is to reduce the amount of swelling, discomfort, and bruising after surgery. In order to do this, the fatty tissue is injected with a special liquid called tumescent fluid prior to the removal of the fat cells.
This fluid is a combination of numbing fluid, salt water, and epinephrine. Once it is injected, it makes the suctioning out of fat both easier for your surgeon and safer for you, the patient. Blood loss is reduced following surgery, and most patients have an overall quicker and more pleasant recovery.
#3 – Power Assisted Liposuction
Power assisted liposuction is similar to tumescent liposuction with one added element. Aside from the tumescent fluid that is injected before fat removal, the suctioning device that is used to remove fat is connected to a machine that vibrates at a high frequency. These vibrations assist in dislodging the fat cells prior to suction.
The result is that the tiresome job of dislodging the fat cells is easier for your surgeon. Additionally, because the fat is more gently broken up, there is less collateral damage to surrounding blood vessels and tissue. This means an easier and faster recovery for patients, with less bleeding, bruising, and swelling.
#4 – Energy Assisted Liposuction
This technique can fall into several different categories, but the overarching quality is that a special type of energy is always used to help in breaking up the fat cells prior to removal. The use of energy can also help stimulate the skin to tighten and retract better around your new contours after surgery.
Some energy assisted liposuction techniques use ultrasound (ultrasound assisted liposuction). Others use laser energy (laser assisted liposuction). Beyond these categories, there are also different types of laser liposuction and ultrasound assisted liposuction.
Other Liposuction Techniques and Terms
Here are some additional techniques and terms you may hear mentioned in relation to liposuction.
The term VASER stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance. This type of liposuction uses ultrasound energy to basically liquefy the unwanted fat on your body before it is sucked out.
VASER lipo is commonly used with HD liposuction (high definition liposuction). The technique allows for precise fat removal as well as a superior recovery experience. Patients have less damage to surrounding tissue and blood vessels, which results in less swelling, bruising, bleeding, and discomfort.
High Definition Liposuction
Also known as HD lipo, this type of liposuction is commonly performed on those who desire a more athletic, trim appearance. In fact, most HD lipo patients are fairly trim and athletic even prior to surgery.
The procedure itself aims to chisel or etch around the patient’s muscles to produce more muscle definition. Frequently, the amount of actual fat that is removed is less, but the removal process is more exact.
The use of VASER lipo for HD procedures, especially, allows your surgeon to have precise control. It’s one of the newest and most exciting types of liposuction procedures.
360 liposuction is one of those terms that actually isn’t “technical” in the sense that it wasn’t thought up by surgeons or medical professionals. It’s actually a term that was first used among patients. The meaning is “liposuction that is performed 360 degrees around the abdomen” — in other words: all the way around the abdomen.
This is often a good type of liposuction for patients who have excess fat on their sides or flanks and on the upper or lower sections of their back (in addition to their stomach). Such a patient might come into our office only wanting fat removal on their stomach, when in reality, a 360 lipo surgical procedure would give better overall results from all angles. See our liposuction before and after gallery for examples.
FAQ: Different Types of Liposuction
Can liposuction surgery remove loose skin?
No, if you have loose or sagging skin on your abdomen or elsewhere, you will typically require a tummy tuck or another type of “lift” or body contouring procedure. The different types of liposuction only remove fat cells, not skin.
Can you combine liposuction surgery with other cosmetic surgery procedures?
Absolutely. In fact, liposuction is used to remove stubborn fat alongside many other procedures. Tummy tuck surgery, BBLs (Brazilian butt lifts), breast augmentation fat transfers, and body contouring procedures are the most common.
Will I have a liposuction scar?
Most liposuction surgeries do not leave very noticeable liposuction scars. As a general rule of thumb, the incisions required are very small and tend to heal as small dots that are hardly visible after several years.
Call Today to Request a Consultation Appointment
A consultation appointment with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman provides a great opportunity to discuss the different types of liposuction and costs available for patients. As a highly skilled plastic surgeon with many years of experience performing cosmetic procedures for patients around the world, you are always in good hands with Dr. Schulman.
Please contact us today to set up your consultation appointment.