When you first start to research cosmetic surgery and liposuction, in particular, the amount of information can often be overwhelming. What type of procedure do you actually need, what method is the surgeon going to use, and who is the best surgeon in London? It can often feel as if the list of questions to look up is endless. It can be difficult to fully comprehend some medical information, or you will find different websites that have conflicting information. So what is liposuction, who can have liposuction, and what are the different methods used?
What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a body contouring procedure involving the removal of excess body fat via small cannulas connected to vacuum suction.
Who can have liposuction?
People who have stubborn body fat which they have not been able to lose as the result of a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and healthy eating. It is a common misconception that liposuction is a procedure for those who are obese and have a large amount of weight to be removed. Instead, these patients are often deemed unsuitable. Having too much body fat removed will leave patients with lots of excess, loose skin, which will require a tummy tuck to fix.
To have liposuction, you will need to be:
- At least 18 years or older
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or lower
- Be physically and mentally healthy
- Have reasonable expectations about what the liposuction procedure can achieve
What are the different liposuction methods?
There are numerous different liposuction methods that can be used. These will vary from clinic to clinic. The types of liposuction include:
This is the original method of liposuction. Unlike newer methods of liposuction, traditional liposuction involves administering a general anaesthetic, so the patient is asleep throughout the procedure. The surgeon will make an incision and use cannulas which are moved back and forth to remove the body fat. A vacuum pump will also be used for additional suction. The incisions will be closed with dissolvable stitches, and drainage tubes may be used to prevent fluid build-up. Unlike other types of liposuction, you will be given a general anaesthetic for this procedure, however, it can allow surgeons to treat more areas of the body.
This is considered to be a fairly common method of liposuction. This involves injecting a diluted solution into the skin, which makes the area large and swollen, which is known as tumescent. Doing this makes it easier to remove the body fat, and will result in less bleeding and bruising. Surgeons are then able to make incisions into the target area and use small, narrow cannulas which remove the unwanted body fat. This is the method which is used at Centre for Surgery. It is the preferred method as you can avoid symptoms such as bleeding and swelling. It also does not involve the use of heat, lowering the risk of damage to your body. Finally, there is a lowered risk of the typical signs of liposuction occurring, such as the rippling of the skin.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL)
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) or liposculpture, VASER uses ultrasound energy to remove unwanted fat. Unlike the two-step tumescent liposuction, VASER involves three steps. Patients are given the tumescent liposuction, after which an ultrasound probe is inserted, and is moved back and forward to liquify the fat. The cannula is then used to suction the fat. This method requires a larger incision in order to accommodate the ultrasound device, so it is important to take this into account when considering the recovery period. While manufacturers will claim VASER will lower the risk of side effects and will achieve better results, there is no real evidence to prove this is dramatically better than other methods of liposuction.
Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL)
Also referred to as SmartLipo, laser-assisted liposuction uses a laser which produces heat and melts the excess body fat. SmartLipo also uses the diluted anaesthetic to make the area tumescent. Rather than the use of an ultrasound probe or cannulas, SmartLipo uses lasers beneath the skin to melt the fat, causing it to liquify. Cannulas are then used to remove the liquefied fat.
Unlike many types of liposuction, SmartLipo can be very comfortably performed under a local anaesthetic. However, because of the use of thermal energy, there are some extra risks associated with SmartLipo which your surgeon will take extra precautions with.
Power-assisted liposuction (PAL)
Power-assisted liposuction or PAL lipo uses a powered cannula that vibrates rapidly – about 5,000 times per minute. This helps to loosen and break up the fat cells. This is considered to be a gentler method than traditional liposuction. As with the other newer methods, PAL uses the tumescent method to remove body fat. However, the vibrating cannula can help to remove body fat from more difficult areas such as male breasts, belly button area and inner thighs.
Are you interested in having liposuction? Contact Centre for Surgery today for more information or to book a consultation with one of our surgeons.