Do all surgeons use micro sized cannulas for liposculpture? Does anyone even use the big cannulas anymore for Non bulk lipo?

I understand that in lipo sculpting for athletic patients the smallers cannulas give the best result. However isn't this what all surgeons (even board certified with the patient being under general anesthesia) would use anyway for someone who has a BMI under 30%? Can power assisted lipo even use 3mm or smaller canulas?

Doctor Answers 12

Do all surgeons use micro sized cannulas for liposculpture? Does anyone even use the big cannulas anymore for Non bulk lipo?

Hello dear, thanks for your question and provided information as well.. This is the surgical procedure that revolutionized cosmetic surgery becoming one of the most performed cosmetic procedures. Subcutaneous tissue or fat is removed in order to contour the body in a way that is harmonious and pleasing to the senses. It can be performed in almost all regions of the body such as the neck, chin, abdomen, back, buttocks, thighs, arms and ankles. Usually done through a small incision in the skin through which a cannula connected to a vacuum is applied, it can be performed alone or in combination with other procedures. After liposuction your body is going to be really swollen for at least 2 to 4 months after your surgery. It is important for you to wear your compression garment for at least 6 months, the first 3 months 24/7 and then the last 3 months at least 12 hours per day for your body get use to not having the faja for so many time. When you remove it, your body can get swollen and also you can have pain. Remember to also compress your body to prevent a seroma which is an accumulation of liquid that has to be drained, it is hard to touch and also really painful. Bruises are completely normal for almost 3 months from surgery, that’s why is better for you to use a bruising cream and apply it all over your body 3 times a day. To prevent bad circulation and swollen legs, use compression socks. Brazilian butt lift can be performed with the same procedure and for a month it will be swollen and it will drop a little bit without losing it’s shape if you use your garment.. If you’re going to perform liposuction on your inner, outer, anterior, lateral, postetior thighs, be careful and consult with your surgeon what’s best for you, sometimes we have more extra skin than fat, that can cause severe sagginess on our legs, which can be only be reversed performing a thigh lift…


Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 361 reviews

Do all surgeons use micro sized cannulas for liposculpture? Does anyone even use the big cannulas anymore for Non bulk lipo?

I have done over 3000 liposuction cases in the last 25 years. I do occasionally use very large cannulas for obese patients who want "debunking" liposuction so that they look better in clothes. My typical practice is to use anywhere from 2.5-6mm diameter cannulas. The larger bore cannulas are very effective in the deeper fatty layers while the narrower ones are best more superficially. If your surgeon is so dogmatic that he or she uses only narrow (or for that matter, only wide) cannulas, that should be a red flag. Smaller cannulas take substantially more time to remove the same volumes of fat and once you get to 4 hours of surgery time, the risks of complication increase substantially. So, the correct answer is that, yes, many competent, well trained, and very experienced Plastic Surgeons still use larger cannulas in the right circumstances. Lastly. we have two microaire liposuction systems and we have a variety of cannula sizes ranging from 2.1mm diameter up to 6mm diameter. Equally important is the cannula length because the resistance to flow is determined by tube diameter (to the 4th power) and also by tube length. Good luck!

Steven M. Gitt, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Small, large or micro cannulas for liposculpture?

Generally speaking, cannulas of larger diameter are still used when removal of deep fat is needed, and smaller cannulas are almost exclusively used when working with superficial fat. There is a tendency to promote the use of small cannulas as a sales pitch, but ultimately you should select a surgeon based on the results, not on the instruments. Would you change your hairdresser because a new one is promising to only use tiny scissors that would cut your hair one by one, if the result was a poor hairstyle?

Ciro Adamo, PhD, MD
London Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Do all surgeons use micro sized cannulas for liposculpture?

There is a wide variety of cannulas which can be used for liposculpture including several specialized ones. In general, we tend to use smaller cannulas for more fitness and achieving a shape and a leaner individual. If a very large diameter cannula is used, there is a higher risk for contour irregularities. A smaller cannula takes more time but can give the better cosmetic outcome.

Lipo Cannula choices

Cannulas come in several sizes, but plastic surgeons always consider the best cosmetic result.  That's what we do.  The selection of cannulas is based on the need.  Small cannulas are used for the popular etching in very fit people.  

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

The definition of microcannulas

The word "microcannula" has become a great sales pitch. The size of cannula has nothing to do with the outcome of the procedure. If you were carving a totem pole, would you use a nail file?

The smallest cannulas made are under 1 mm in diameter. Large cannulas can go as large as 10 mm in diameter. Body contouring is typically done using 3 mm cannulas or sometimes 4 mm cannulas. In my opinion, there is nothing micro about 3 or 4 mm cannulas. Microcannulas, in my opinion, are cannulas that are less than 1.5 mm in diameter. These are insufficient for any significant change in body contouring. They are typically used for facial liposuction only. It would take days to remove liters of fat using a 1 mm cannula.

Skip the sales pitch and go to the most reputable plastic surgeon. MicroAire power-assisted liposuction uses various sized cannulas. 3 mm is the most common size. 3 mm cannulas, in my opinion, are a standard cannula used in body contouring and far from what I would consider to be microcannulas. 

It's the surgeon, not the equipment, who determines the outcome. A good surgeon will have the correct equipment. 

Best of luck,

Mats Hagstrom, M.D.

Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Liposculpting

Liposculpting is truly and art and fine cannulas should be used but not necessarily used by all surgeons.  I believe using finer cannulas can lead to a more etched result.

Lipo cannula choices

I always use micro cannulas. The larger the cannula the more fat that is taken with each move. This increases the chances for irregularities. It takes longer to use the micro cannulas but it's all about the results and not how fast your surgeon is. Pick a surgeon who is passionate about Liposcupture. 

Justin Yovino, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Liposculpture

Typically there are 2 plane of fat. The deep fat and the superficial fat.  During liposuction, the deeper fat is first removed using larger cannulae.  During, etching or liposculpture, typically smaller cannulae are used to remove the superficial fat closer to the skin and to create definition, indentations, and contour.  Liposuclpturing is not as simple as liposuction and you really need to select an expert. 

Cannula size means nothing

Worrying about what size cannula your surgeon uses is like interviewing carpenters based upon the type of hammer they use.  The only thing that matters is the capabilities of your surgeon, their sense of artistry, their competence as a surgeon, and how well you get along with them and feel that they understand how you want to look.  For instance, I use a variety of diameters on every case.  I also use different tips and that matters as well, eg two whole, three hole, expanded "basket" three hole, holes all the way around, and holes just on the side.  Focusing just on the diameter is a very incomplete analysis.

Seriously - just pick a surgeon in whom you have trust and don't bother to ask them about what instruments they use.  Anyone whose work you like will know what to use that gives the best results in their hands.

For instance, the link below shows my liposuction results.  Do you like them?  Compare them to others.  Find someone whose photos you like.  Realize of course that most surgeons put up their best results, but it gives you an idea.  Read about their philosophy.  Be sure they are a member of ASAPS.  Look at their reviews.  After your research you will easily narrow it down to one or two.  And again, don't worry about what cannula they use.

Steven Teitelbaum, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.