The Lowdown on Liposuction


Liposuction has become a very popular way of body contouring, due to its minimally-invasive nature and the ability to treat a wide range of areas with the same procedure. Liposuction has also evolved in recent years, with the introduction of new techniques and devices that allow for more versatility than ever before. By understanding the different options available, you can select the best treatment for your specific situation.

Traditional Liposuction

Traditional liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses a small tube called a cannula to remove excess areas of fat from the body. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis in most cases, and may be done under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. Small incisions are made to insert the cannula into the fat deposit, so the cannula can loosen up the fat cells and suction them away.

Liposuction may be performed on any of the following areas:

  • Face and neck
  • Upper arms
  • Back and buttocks
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Knees and calves
  • Abdomen and hips

Compression garments are worn after liposuction to reduce swelling and promote healing to the treatment area. There is some pain and swelling after liposuction and most patients require oral pain medication for the first few days to remain comfortable while they recovery. The majority of our patients are back to regular activities within approximately one week.

Laser-Assisted Liposuction

Laser-assisted lipo is a newer take on a proven procedure. This treatment involves the same basic process of using a cannula inserted into the fat deposit to remove the fat cells. However, the device adds laser energy to the equation, which liquefies the fat cells for easier removal. At the same time, the laser tightens up the skin in the treatment area to create a smoother contour overall.

Laser-assisted liposuction is also referred to as SmartLipo. This procedure is less invasive than traditional liposuction, which means less discomfort for the patient after treatment, as well as a shorter recovery period. SmartLipo may also be recommended when there is mild skin laxity as well as isolated areas of fat to remove, since the skin tightening benefits of the laser will produce a better result for patients.  

Ultrasonic Liposuction

Another option in liposuction is ultrasonic liposuction. This technique combines traditional liposuction with the use of ultrasonic energy to liquefy fat cells for easier removal from the body. Ultrasonic energy involves high frequency sound waves, rather than laser heat. Those sound waves are the same ones that are used to perform painless ultrasound examinations. When the energy targets the fat cells, it emits negative energy that destroys the cells so they can be suctioned away.

Making the Choice

The right liposuction technique for you will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of fat to be removed and the overall condition of the skin in the treatment area. 

Liposuction is an excellent method of body shaping that has become even better, thanks to a variety of techniques now available. 

Article by
Staten Island General Surgeon