Types of Liposuction Techniques
There are various methods used in liposuction, each designed to suit the patient’s individual’s needs and each with their own set of pros and cons.
It is important to fully understand these and discuss option thoroughly with you surgeon before choosing the one you fell is right for you.
The method you choose may impact results, recovery time, possible bruising as well as the type of risks you are subjecting yourself to.
Types of Liposuction Procedures
Our plastic surgeon will be sure to thoroughly discuss each of these options with you before you choose the one that is the most suitable.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that when consulting with our plastic surgeon or the patient consultant, you disclose your full medical history, including current medications you are taking or medications you have taken, as well as any existing conditions as this may have an impact on the safety of each procedure.
Suction Assisted Liposuction (SAL)
This is the standard method of liposuction. A cannula, attached to a vacuum device, is inserted under the skin through a small incision made by the surgeon. The surgeon will proceed to move the cannula throughout the layer of fat, in a push and pull motion. By doing this, the fat cell are broken up, and then sucked out of the body, using the vacuum.
All forms of liposuction are basically a form of SAL, with various forms of assistance.
Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
This method utilizes the power of ultrasound technology to further break down the fat cells using a specialized cannula. This ultrasound cannula first transmits ultrasound vibrations throughout the body. These will break the walls of the fat cells, thus liquefying the fat, making removal easier. However, with is method there is a lower risk of blood loss.
This method is ideal for areas with more resistant fat, typically found in the more fibrous areas of the body such as the chest, shoulders and back. This technique is most popular among men as their bodies’ tend to contain more of the fibrous fat.
- As the fat is broken down first, it is easier for the surgeon to remove, making their job easier. Surgeons enjoy the fat-removing ease, and the more easily the surgeon can do their job, the better your chances of great results are as this means they have better control
- Great for difficult, fibrous tissue that is otherwise near impossible to handle with other forms liposuction.
- The excess heat can cause more bruising and swelling. Fat cannot be re-used in other parts of the body (Analogous fat transfer).
- Since this is a two part process (emulsification of the fat and then removal) it is more time-consuming.
VASER ( Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance)
Vaser is very similar to Ultra-sound assisted laser liposuction. In fact it is a refinement of that procedure and is even referred to as 4th generation ultrasound technology. Whereas UAL uses high energy frequency to melt fat, this may cause burns in the tissue, Vaser has been adapted to address this problem.
Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL)
PAL uses a specialized cannula that creates as gentle and reciprocating mechanized movement. It is designed to maneuverer more easily through fibrous tissue so that the surgeon need not move around as much. The gentle vibrating impulses help to remove fat cells from their connective tissue.
It does not make use of heat as ultrasound-assisted liposuction does.
There is less risk of damage to tissue including the friction burns that ca often be associated with liposuction.
- This method is becoming increasingly popular among patients and surgeons. Surgeons benefit from having more control over the cannula, which leads to better contouring and fewer complications.
- There is less risk of damage to tissue including the friction burns that ca often be associated with liposuction
- This method causes much less damage to the nerve tissue that the fat surrounds than other methods. This means faster recovery and less chance of complications during the procedure.
- As the fat cells are not destroyed during the procedure, the removed fat can be cleaned and re-inserted into other parts of the body as part of body contouring. This is known as autologous fat transfer.
Laser Assisted Liposuction
This method of Liposuction makes the use of laser-technology to first melt and thus liquefy the fat before it is suctioned out. This procedure is usually performed in an outpatient setting. A specialized micro-cannula is used to insert the fiber through which the laser is administered. There are many variations in laser-liposuction.
- It is suitable in nearly every area of the body, including face, chest, back arms and other areas where the fat is tougher and more fibrous.
- It is one of the most minimally invasive techniques. The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting, using a local anesthesia and causes the least amount of bleeding, bruising.
- It is also beneficial for improving the appearance of the skin. Besides removing excess fat, the laser affects the collagen, making skin tighter and firmer.
- It is not recommended that more than 500 ml of fat be removed in one laser-lipo procedure as this will not be safe for the patient. For more fat than that to be removed, other conventional methods of liposuction will need to be employed.
- Not suitable for people on various blood thinning medication, although this can be discussed with you surgeon beforehand.
- It may take 3-6 months to see the full effect of the liposuction.
External Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction (XUAL or EUAL)
This is a relatively new alternative to the classic Ultra-sound assisted liposuction. Here the ultra-sonic energy is applied externally, and is transmitted through the skin. It is believed that this method is a lot safer and more comfortable than the original UAL.
- Lower risk of complication associated with the traditional UAL, such as Skin Necrosis (which is rare, but can lead to death), Seromas (pockets of fluid which build up in tissue).
- Since it is relatively new, little is known about this procedure and studies about the effectiveness are still quite inconclusive.
Other types of Liposuction:
There are various other methods of liposuction on the market today as the art and science of liposuction are constantly evolving. Although not every surgeon and every cosmetic clinic will be able to perform every one of these procedures, it helps to explore every alternative out there until you find one that is right for you. Here is an overview of some of the other types of Liposuction around today:
Water Assisted Liposuction (WAL)
This method employs the continuous use of water to assist in breaking down the fat. Water is inserted into the fat using a fan-shaped beam. This water loosens the fat tissue, which is then removed by a cannula.
- This method needs less infiltration solution and so side effects are minimized.
The Twin Cannula (Assisted) Liposuction
The Twin Cannula (assisted) Liposuction uses a specialized twin-tube cannula. What this twin tube basically is, is a tube within a tube. The main purpose of this is to prevent the tissue damage to the surrounding fat tissue while removing fat. It is the inner tube which will aspirate the fat out of the patient’s body while the outer tube protects healthy tissue.