Since its invention in 1974, liposuction has evolved greatly. Modern liposuction is safer, smarter, and much more effective. And better yet, patients can choose from a myriad of liposuction techniques to suit their needs. Some popular liposuction options include traditional liposuction, ultra-sound assisted liposuction, and laser liposuction.
How do you know which liposuction technique is right for you? Start by taking a minute to learn about the liposuction variations available. With this helpful guide, you may be able to find the perfect treatment.
What Can Liposuction Treat?
Liposuction can treat almost any area of the body:
- Chin, neck
- Upper arms
- Lateral breasts/chest
- Back/bra rolls
- Thighs/inner knees
Liposuction removes stubborn pockets of fat that aren’t affected by diet and exercise. By sculpting the body, liposuction can help patients achieve a sleeker, slimmer figure.
Of course, not all areas are the same; some are harder to treat than others. More difficult parts of the body may need a longer operating time. Areas with more fibrous tissue, like the chest and back, may require laser or ultrasound liposuction.
All liposuction surgeries begin with the creation of a few small incisions on the area of choice. The next step is inserting a cannula – a small narrow tube – through the incisions. The cannula is attached to a vacuum device that suctions the fatty tissue out of the body.
In traditional liposuction, the surgeon first injects a special solution under the skin. This “tumescent” solution, which contains epinephrine and saline, is designed to prepare the fatty tissue. The saline in the solution will engorge the fat cells, making them easier to extract, while the epinephrine will constrict the blood vessels, reducing bleeding.
An ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) uses ultrasound energy to efficiently remove fat. Essentially, a special cannula will deliver ultra sound energy into the fatty tissue. This melts the fat, allowing it to mix with the tumescent solution. The mixture can then be easily removed from the body. The less force a surgeon has to use, the less trauma there is on the tissues.
Because of its special mechanism and extreme precision, UAL allows for a milder and faster recovery. It’s also ideal for hard-to-treat areas like the chin, neck, cheeks, knees, calves, back, and ankles.
Laser Liposuction/Smart Lipo
One of the biggest caveats of liposuction was that it couldn’t tighten loose skin. In fact, if the patient had terrible skin elasticity, liposuction created loose skin. But with the arrival of laser liposuction, patients gained an effective option for removing fat and tightening skin.
Laser liposuction works by delivering laser energy into the fatty tissues. This liquifies the fat cells, making it easier for the surgeon to remove the fat without harming surrounding tissues.
That laser energy can also be applied to surface tissues. When our tissues absorb heat from the laser, it reacts by increasing production of collagen and elastin – the proteins responsible for keeping our tissues nice and tight. Over time, patients should see a lifting and tightening effect in their skin.
Recovery from Liposuction
A patient’s recovery will depend on what type of liposuction they underwent. Laser liposuction and ultrasound-assisted liposuction recoveries tend to be shorter and milder, but there are other factors to consider. For instance, the size of the treatment area and volume of fat removed can affect how intense a recovery may be. Laser and ultrasound-assisted liposuction also requires patients to wear drains in their incisions.
By and large, patients experience some degree of swelling and bruising for a few weeks. They’re the most intense for the first 2 weeks, but most of the side effects dissipate after that.
Patients tend to see an immediate improvement after their liposuction. However, it may take up to a year before a patient is able to see their full results.
How Do I Choose?
Multiple liposuction techniques exist because there’s no singular way to perform a liposuction. It needs to work with the patient’s unique needs and anatomy. What matters more is finding the right surgeon to perform your procedure.
An experienced, skilled surgeon will be able to recommend the right liposuction method. More importantly, they’ll be able to explain why it’s the right one.
If you’re ready to work with a compassionate, experienced surgeon, contact the Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery. Any one of our board-certified surgeons can help you determine which liposuction technique is right for you.