High Definition Liposuction

By Dr Omar Tillo FRCS (Plast), Centre for Surgery, London, UK

What is High Definition Liposuction and what’s the difference between this and the standard liposuction?


Liposuction in general is a technique used by plastic surgeons to remove external fat deposits in the body. In order to understand the difference between the traditional and the High Definition liposuction it is important to know the distribution of the fat in the human body.


Fat tissue, also called the adipose tissue, is located in 2 main places: 

  • Visceral fat: this is stored around the internal organs of the body such as the intestine, liver, stomach and others.
  • The external fat is found outside of the body between the muscle linings and the skin.

Only the external fat, not the visceral fat, can be removed by liposuction. 

The external fat spreads in 2 levels separated by a thin layer called fascia:

  1. The superficial fat, also called subcutaneous fat: is a thin layer of fat immediately under the skin and above the fascia. This has a uniform thickness of about 1-2cm and provides padding to the skin.
  2. The deep external fat sits deeper under the fascia and directly over the muscle. This forms distinctive lumps and hump, known as fat pads, all over the body that have the major contribution in body shape and figure. They vary in thickness and volumes widely among individuals and anatomical areas giving different body shapes and figures. Examples of these fat pads are love handles and lower flanks (also known as Muffin Top), gluteal fat, and abdominal fat.

Standard definition liposuction removes the deep fat under the fascia and preserves all the subcutaneous fat. This technique achieves basic general body contouring or reshaping and is the most commonly used.


High definition liposuction is a modern and more advanced procedure that removes the deep fat as well as specific subcutaneous areas to achieve stronger definitions and enhance the contour of the underlying muscle.


What areas are most commonly treated?

  • Lower abdomen (lower abs and V)
  • Full abdomen (six packs, full abs, serratus anterior)
  • 360 abdomen and back (flanks, latissimus dorsi, gluteal, full abs, six packs, serratus anterior)
  • Chest (pecs)
  • Arms, deltoids
  • Calfs


What are the advantages and disadvantages of HD-LS?

The main advantage and benefits of the High Definition liposuction is achieving an enhancement in the muscle shape and significantly sharper definition compared to the standard liposuction.


However, there several limitations to this technique such as:

  • It is more invasive (traumatic) therefor needs deeper anaesthetic, is more painful to recover from, and has longer down-time
  • It can be more expensive than the standard liposuction because it is more complex, longer operation to perform and needs a plastic surgeon with specific training and experience with this technique
  • It can not be combined with skin tightening procedures such as tummy tuck


Am I suitable for this procedure?

  • Body weight: you shouldn’t be too slim or too heavy. The best outcome is achieved with those individuals with body mass index (BMI) between 20 and 28
  • You should be medically fit to undergo the anaesthetic and recover from the surgery and should not be smoking


How can I explore this further?

  • Find a plastic surgeon with the specific skills and experience in performing this type of procedures and book a consultation.
  • A trained experienced plastic surgeon should be able to assess your aims and expectations and give you a tailored individualised advice about suitability and outcome.

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