This procedure is becoming increasingly popular as a relatively non-invasive way to sculpt the body and reduce fat in problem areas. It’s commonly used on the lower abdomen, hips and thighs, but can be used on any area that’s out of proportion or doesn’t respond to diet and exercise.

There are several kinds of liposuction. In each type, a tube called a cannula is inserted through a small incision. The fat is then suctioned out through the cannula. Liposuction is occasionally done under a local anesthetic, but it is often done under an epidural (which deadens the feeling in a large area of the body) or under a general anesthetic. Patients usually return home the same day, and need to wear special garments for several weeks to compress the treated area to reduce swelling and promote smooth healing.

Laser-assisted liposuction
This is a very new technology primarily used for liposculpture. Liposculpture is a form of liposuction where smaller amounts of fat are taken in patients considered to have fairly normal deposits of fat. It is mainly used to refine areas for a more attractive appearance. For instance, very small amounts of fat can be precisely removed from above the abdominal muscles to give a very “cut six-pack” of the abdominal musculature. The laser assists to liquefy the fat in a controlled manner. This option is very uncommon for the majority of liposuction patients.

Power-assisted liposuction
This is also relatively new and involves the use of a rapidly vibrating cannula that “powers through” the fat to break it up before suctioning. It is a little easier on the surgeon than traditional methods, but hasn’t been shown to significantly improve cosmetic outcome.

Super-wet liposuction
This method is similar to the tumescent technique, but uses less fluid. Because that also means less anesthetic being injected into the area, this technique may require epidural or general anesthesia. This method requires less time than the tumescent technique.

Tumescent liposuction
In this most commonly-used method of liposuction, a large volume of fluid containing an anesthetic and a drug that constricts the blood vessels is injected into the fatty area. The fluid causes the fatty tissue to swell up, making it easier to remove through the cannula. This method tends to take longer than other techniques, but it also has the advantages of reduced postoperative swelling and bruising.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction
This is a relatively new technique that uses a cannula that emits sound waves, liquefying the fat cells which are then suctioned out. This method takes longer than other types of liposuction, but allows for greater precision in sculpting the results. There are some added risks with this method, but it is excellent for repeat liposuction and also tough, fibrous fatty areas, like men’s love handles.

Patients often have questions about how to preserve their new shape following liposuction. In our experience, patients tend to be so pleased with their new appearance that they become more motivated to maintain it. It can be discouraging when repeated dieting and exercise has no effect on an abdominal bulge or heavy hips, but once the desired shape has been achieved through liposuction, most patients find that it’s far easier to maintain, and take greater pride in their new appearance.