The basic procedure is done with a small, thin metal tube called a cannula. The plastic surgeon makes very small incisions in the area where the liposuction is going to be done. The cannula is inserted and breaks up and vacuums away fat deposits beneath the skin.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) – ultrasonic energy is administered to the fat, forming an emulsion. This liquefied fat is then removed. UAL is appropriate for fibrous areas, large areas, and redo liposuctions.
- Tumescent liposuction – a large amount of anesthetic is injected into the area being treated, which causes the fat to swell and firm up, allowing the surgeon to remove it more smoothly and with minimal bleeding.
- Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) – uses tumescent liposuction and a special cannula that uses vibration to break up fat cells so they can be suctioned out. PAL allows plastic surgeons to remove more fat in a shorter period of time, providing enhanced results, a safer procedure, and faster recovery.
- Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL) – uses a fiber-optic laser source that heats the fatty tissue and melts it. Then, a suction cannula is inserted to remove the melted fat. Unlike the other forms of liposuction, this may be done under local anesthesia with the patient awake with minimal, if any, discomfort. This is a highly specialized type of lipolysis, or fat melting, procedure and is available in certain locations. Ask your cosmetic surgeon for further details.