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Liposuction is a body-sculpting procedure that has helped many patients remove fat that is unresponsive to dieting and exercising. This procedure can be applied to nearly any area of the body and is commonly used on multiple areas during an operation.  Liposuction results in a slimmer and better proportioned figure.

Typical problem areas that can be treated with liposuction surgery include:

  • Arms
  • Inner and Outer Thighs
  • Stomach (or Abdomen)
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Knees
  • Chin

However, liposuction surgery can be performed on any area of the body and the technique is often used as part of other cosmetic surgery procedures such as the tummy tuck, breast reduction and male chest reduction.

Vaser assisted lipo

Vaser liposuction, also called LipoSelection, is another alternate technology to traditional liposuction. Vaser ultrasonic liposuction is still a process by which fatty deposits are removed from beneath the skin to improve the aesthetics of a particular body part. Optimally, patients who are treated by Vaser liposuction are in good physical condition and are looking for a contouring or body sculpturing as opposed to using liposuction as a way to lose weight.

Sound Surgical Technologies, LLC in 2002, introduced vaser ultrasonic liposuction. This FDA technology uses sound waves to gently loosen fat and pave the way towards liposuction and smooth contouring of the body.

In the case of vaser liposuction, tumescent liquid, or a saline solution mixed with anesthetics, is injected into the body area being treated. Instead of using a cannula and manual movement to break down the fat tissue, or a laser, or water pressure, vaser liposuction uses ultrasound high frequency vibration to break fat cells apart.

The cosmetic surgeon uses Vaser ultrasonic probes, inserted into the fatty tissue to gently break the fat cells down. The vibration gently disengages and loosens the fat cells and ultimately emulsifies the tumescent fluid that has been infused into the body area. Once the emulsification is in process, a small cannula is used to remove the liquid and the fat cells. Some of the local anesthetic remains in the tissue and that helps to reduce post-procedural pain.

This process is considered gentler that the more traditional liposuction techniques and ultimately offers your cosmetic surgeon a great deal of control and you get the smooth, contoured look for which you are looking. Additionally, vaser liposuction is specifically designed to loosen fat but to protect and preserve other tissues and by using the saline solution there is typically less bleeding and bruising.

Laser assisted lipo

Laser assisted liposuction is a generic term that refers to the use of one of the lasers ( SlimLipo, SmartLipo etc) to help with the breakdown of fat and tightening of the skin. The fat is still removed by a cannula and incisions are still necessary. Make sure you do your due diligence in terms of your health care provider. I am definitely prejudiced, but I believe that surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are most likely to give you the most consistent and predictable results.

The laser is used to produce heat to help melt the fat as it is extracted during the liposuction procedure. It is also believed that the heat causes the skin to shrink through the formation of scar and the collegen produced during the healing cycle. There are many forms of liposuction, and the laser systems are one of many. We always suggest a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Laser assisted liposuction, also know as Smartlipo, is a technique which combines traditional tumescent liposuction with a use of a laser to decrease bruising, break fibrous tissue, destroy fat cells, and cause skin contracture. In my experience I have had excellent results with Smartlipo in the abdomen, arms, neck, flanks, and thighs due to the skin contracture. I routinely offer it to my patients at El Paso Cosmetic Surgery.

Power assisted lipo

Power assisted liposuction (PAL) consists of using a liposuction cannula that oscillates or vibrates to help break up fatty tissue as it is being removed from the body. It allows for a slightly more gentle technique than traditional liposuction to be used and is especially helpful in areas of dense adipose tissue. I have used the PAL for about a year now and have been very happy with the results. Ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL) also uses vibrating technology, but the vibrations are fast enough to create ultrasound energy that emulsifies fat. The fat is broken up with a separate wand as the first part of the procedure and then traditional liposuction is then completed with cannulas to remove the liquified fat. There is some evidence that when used properly, the energy can induce some additional skin tightening. There is also evidence that when used poorly, that thermal burn injuries can be produced.

In the end, it really does not matter what technology is being used nearly as much as the expertise of the plastic surgeon that is performing the procedure.

Power assisted liposuction or PAL uses vibration of the cannula to help the surgeon extract fat faster.  There may be less trauma with this approach as well.  The vibration breaks up the fat so it is easier to remove by suction.  This is quite safe as the vibration cannot really hurt the skin.  In terms of results, there is probably not much difference between PAL and traditional techniques.  For recovery, as the surgery is shorter and there may be less trauma to the body, it may be less painful and recovery shorter.

UAL, or ultrasonic liposuction, uses a very high frequency vibration to achieve a similar effect.  However, the degree of vibration is much higher and heat is produced, which can cause burning of the skin.  The fat is liquified by the ultrasound prior to removal.  Some surgeons say this is an advantage to remove the fat more precisely and less trauma, but I feel the risks outweigh the benefit.  Although some suggest that UAL can cause skin tightening, most surgeons uses laser assisted liposuction such as SlimLipo to achieve this instead.  I feel that laser energy is more selectively targeted towards the skin and can be precisely delivered, which I feel is safer that UAL.