Liposuction (Lipo): The Basics
For many of us, there may be areas of our bodies that aren’t up to par even with the strictest diets and intense workout. Stubborn pockets of fat can remain around the abdomen, thighs, neck, face and buttocks. For these problematic areas, there is liposuction for men and women.
Liposuction isn’t a substitute to healthy living. Rather, it is a tool that can help you sculpt your body and achieve your aesthetic goals. The procedure is a minimally invasive technique where a thin tube connects to a suction device and is inserted through tiny incisions. The tube, a cannula, moves through the fat to suction it out.
Types of Liposuction
It should be no surprise that there are several types of liposuction. Unfortunately, many patients don’t know the differences between the different techniques. Thus, they are left learning about them through marketing ads which can be terribly misleading or by online searches which may or may not be accurate.
To make things simple, all techniques remove fat with a cannula. Freezing fat is not liposuction. Nor is the injection of Kybella for the neck, if you happen to know what that is. The two most common forms of lipo are traditional and Vaser. There is no “laser” liposuction.
Both traditional and Vaser forms of lipo have the same start and end game. It’s the middle game which is different. Allow me to explain the following steps in both techniques:
1. Administration of fluid containing lidocaine to reduce pain and epinephrine to reduce bleeding into tissues via a cannula.
2. With Vaser lipo, the plastic surgeon places the Vaser probe under the skin. This heats the fat and skin. This heating effect *may* cause tightening is certain individuals more than traditional liposuction. If no Vaser, then we’re onto step 3 for both techniques.
3. Aspiration of fat from a cannula
As you can see, Vaser liposuction adds an additional step to the process. But, the true effects of Vaser are not clear. This is because traditional liposuction also tends to tighten the skin in certain individuals. That is, it’s debatable as to whether or not Vaser is worth the added time and money. Probably, there are benefits to certain skin types.
Dr. Tim Neavin is a board-certified plastic surgeon located in Beverly Hills, California.