Aesthetic Surgery & Liposuction

An Overview for Patients, Surgeons & Clinic Staff

Liposuction (the removal of excess body fat through means of aesthetic surgery) is one of the most popular aesthetic surgery procedures today. Since there are several different types of liposuction & body-contouring methods available today it may seem hard to distinguish between them.

The purpose of this guide is to give an overview of the different benefits & drawbacks of today’s most popular liposuction methods. The guide is not meant to be all-encompassing but may serve as a good starting point for a consultation with your aesthetic surgeon.

Reasons for getting Liposuction

Please note: Each patient has a unique medical history and body composition. There is no blanket statement about which liposuction method is best for you, but general medical tendencies may give you a better understanding of liposuction.

Liposuction methods overview

Suction-Assisted Liposuction (SAL)

During Suction-Assisted (Traditional) Liposuction, the surgeon makes an incision in the desired area and removes the fat cells with a cannula connected to a vacuum. While this technique is effective it can be invasive, damages more body cells than necessary, and requires significant downtime for the patient.

In its early stages, Suction-Assisted Liposuction was performed without the use of tumescent local anesthesia. However, today TLA has become a standard and highly recommended procedure preceding any liposuction surgery. As a patient, it is crucial to advocate for the inclusion of TLA during your liposuction procedure. Failure to administer TLA may result in increased blood loss and extended recovery time.

By ensuring the implementation of TLA, you can experience a more comfortable procedure with reduced risks and a smoother recovery process.

Power-Assisted Liposuction

Power-Assisted Liposuction (also known as Vibration-Assisted Liposuction (VAL)) uses high-frequency vibrations to break up and remove stubborn fat deposits and is less invasive than Traditional Liposuction. As with most other modern liposuction methods, the recovery times of patients are reduced and the surgery is perceived to be less painful. Because of its high degree of precision and efficiency, Power-Assisted Liposuction has experienced a growth in popularity in the last few years.

Water-Assisted liposuction (WAL)

Water-Assisted liposuction represents one of the least invasive liposuction methods compared to regular Suction-Assisted Liposuction. During a Water-Assisted Liposuction procedure, the previously mentioned TLA injection is followed by an injection of a fan-shaped pressurized jet of water into the target area to loosen and suction off fat cells to reduce tissue damage. The result is a shorter recovery time compared to traditional liposuction.

Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL)

Laser-Assisted Liposuction employs a clinical laser to melt and remove fat cells. Laser-assisted Liposuction is popular among patients because it helps to tighten the skin after surgery and can lead to a reduction in the appearance of cellulite. While the general procedure is less invasive than traditional liposuction the pain during surgery can be greater than during Suction-Assisted Liposuction or Water-Assisted Liposuction.

It is important to note that Laser-Assisted Liposuction can lead to higher-degree burns if performed improperly. This risk should not be underestimated and risk-mitigation methods should be discussed with your surgeon before committing to a procedure.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL)

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction is another modern and less invasive liposuction method. UAL uses ultrasound energy to liquefy fat cells before removal. Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction can lead to tighter skin after surgery and shows improved overall body contouring.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction comes with a similar risk for tissue burns as Laser-Assisted Liposuction. During the procedure, an external power is applied to the patient which needs to be handled with the utmost care to avoid tissue damage. However, the risk for tissue damage is slightly reduced compared to LAL.

Benefits & drawbacks of each liposuction method

Suction-Assisted Liposuction

Suitable for Benefits Drawbacks
Patients seeking improved body contouring High-volume fat removal capability Invasive procedure with longer downtime
Patients who prefer shorter recovery times and less discomfort Effective for larger areas of fat removal Risk of scarring and complications
  Long-term results Higher cost compared to some other methods

Power/Vibration-Assisted Liposuction

Suitable for Benefits Drawbacks
Patients who require a more precise liposuction method for smaller or more delicate areas Minimally invasive and precise Simultaneous skin-tightening procedure is not possible
Patients who prefer a less traumatic method with smoother contouring results Reduced risk of skin burns and tissue damage  
Patients who would prefer a faster procedure with reduced surgeon fatigue Reduced downtime and post-operative discomfort  
Patients who prefer a faster recovery with fewer hematomas Improved fat removal efficiency  

Water-Assisted Liposuction

Suitable for Benefits Drawbacks
Patients seeking overall bodyfat reduction & body contouring Precise fat removal Increased amount of hematomas/bruising
Patients who want to remove larger amounts of body fat Reduced post-operative discomfort and downtime Bloody aspirate
Patients who have good skin elasticity Reduced risk of skin burns and tissue damage  

Laser-Assisted Liposuction

Suitable for Benefits Drawbacks
Patients seeking both body fat removal and skin tightening Reduced bleeding and bruising Potential for skin burns and complications from laser energy
Patients who want to improve signs of cellulite or sagging skin Tightening of skin and reduction of cellulite May not be optimal for larger areas of fat removal
Patients who prefer a minimally invasive liposuction method with less bleeding or bruising Minimal downtime  

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction

Suitable for Benefits Drawbacks
Patients who want to target fibrous or dense bodyfat areas Precise and controlled removal of fat cells Longer procedure time
Patients seeking both body fat removal and skin tightening Reduced downtime and post-operative discomfort Risk of skin burns and tissue damage from ultrasound energy
Patients who prefer a minimally invasive liposuction method Improved skin tightening and overall contouring  

Body Contouring

To improve the overall aesthetics and reshape specific body parts body contouring is an excellent alternative to other cosmetic surgeries.

Body contouring includes the removal of excess skin on arms, thighs or buttocks or the lifting/reshaping of these areas of a body.

Patients that have experienced significant weight loss can especially benefit from body contouring. Body contouring targets areas of your body that are resistant to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Most of the time body contouring is used in conjunction with one of the above liposuction methods to achieve optimal results.

The most common body contouring procedures include:

  • Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): This procedure removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, resulting in a flatter, more toned appearance.
  • Arm Lift (Brachioplasty): An arm lift removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms, resulting in a more toned, sculpted appearance.
  • Thigh Lift: A thigh lift removes excess skin and fat from the thighs, resulting in a more toned and streamlined appearance.
  • Buttock Lift: A buttock lift removes excess skin and fat from the buttocks, resulting in a lifted, firmer appearance.

The biggest difference with respect to liposuction methods is that body contouring is typically performed under general anesthesia and patients experience longer recovery times of several weeks. It is important to understand that to make the results of body contouring and liposuctions long-lasting, patients need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and have a regular exercise routine.

Advancements in Liposuction and Body Contouring Techniques

It should not be a surprise that the techniques for liposuction and body contouring are continuously advancing. The last few years especially have been eventful. Below are the latest trends in the field of aesthetic surgery.

  • High-Definition Liposuction: HDL summarizes all advanced liposuction methods (such as power-assisted liposuction) which use specialized cannulas to achieve more sculpted and defined body areas. These methods are especially effective when trying to achieve the appearance of a “six-pack” in the lower-upper-body area.
  • Non-Invasive Liposuction: NIL procedures, such as CoolSculpting and SculpSure, use advanced technology to target and destroy fat cells that don’t require any surgery or incisions. Non-invasive liposuction methods are typically used to get rid of smaller areas of body fat that are resistant to diet & exercise.
  • 3D Imaging: 3D Imaging is a fantastic way for surgeons to approach pre-surgery planning. With 3D imaging technology, it’s possible to create a detailed 3D model of the patient's body before the surgery and also compare it after surgery. This allows surgeons to better visualize and plan the procedure resulting in more precise results post-surgery.
  • Brazilian Butt Lift: This procedure involves using liposuction to remove fat from other areas of the body and then injecting that fat into the buttocks to create a fuller, more lifted appearance.

Advancements in liposuction and body contouring techniques have made these procedures safer, more effective, and less invasive than ever before. If you are interested in getting aesthetic surgery you should consult with a qualified surgeon to discuss which method is best to achieve your individual goals.

For Surgeons & Clinic Staff

Our Aesthetics Solutions equip practices with the latest technology to carefully and easily handle fat while performing body contouring procedures.

The main goal behind our solutions is to enable aesthetic surgeons and their teams to create an optimal practice workflow and help them to achieve the best possible results with highly viable fat cells during fat transfer. Therefore, all products are perfectly coordinated to provide you with state-of-the-art technology and safety.

Your patients will love the result.

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