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What Are The Different Types Of Liposuction?

Liposuction, or ‘lipo’ as it is sometimes known, is a cosmetic procedure used to remove unwanted body fat.

Tagged: Body & Breast

Author: Mr. Bryan Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

Date: 18th December 2020

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 20th March 2024

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction, or ‘Lipo’ as it is sometimes known, is a surgical cosmetic procedure used to remove unwanted, stubborn fat from different areas of the body. Generally, a cannula is inserted into the body and the fat is broken up before being extracted. This results in a more contoured and toned appearance.

Regardless of the specific technique, Liposuction is a safe and effective procedure for reducing stubborn areas of fat with long term results. Although non-surgical alternatives are appealing due to the minimal downtime and the lower risk of scarring, they are not suitable to treat all concerns and may not have the same comprehensive results

Our founder, Mr Bryan Mayou introduced Liposuction to the UK 40 years ago, and has been at the forefront of its development ever since. As well as new types of Liposuction, new procedures have been introduced which have evolved the scope of what is possible using fat removal options.

What are the different types of liposuction?

There are a number of different kinds of Liposuction which are suited to different areas of the body and are used for different reasons. Your surgeon will discuss the options with you during your consultation and will make recommendations based on your individual concerns and desired results

  • Traditional Liposuction - Traditional Liposuction is generally used to remove small areas of fat. This can be performed under local or general anaesthetic. It is particularly useful for treating the neck and the chin, as it is at least as effective as any other technique, is simple and has the fewest potential complications. We use this regularly to harvest fat for processing and re-injection during Fat Transfer procedures. Traditional Liposuction works through the physical movement of the cannula breaking up the fat to allow it to be extracted. 
  • BodyJet or Water Assisted Liposuction (WAL) - This is an enhancement of the traditional technique which injects fluid at the same time as carrying out the Liposuction. This fluid pulses from the end of the cannula like a low-pressure washer helping to mechanically dislodge and break down fat. It may also contain local anaesthetic or anti-inflammatories to aid the recovery process. Large volumes of fat can be removed quickly and efficiently. It is particularly good for larger areas such as the abdomen or 360 Lipo.
  • Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL) - MicroAire and Lipomatic are two of several mechanically enhanced techniques. The fat is broken down by a motorised cannula moving back and forth, sideways or rotating, before being extracted from the body. It is very effective and popular amongst surgeons, primarily because there is less physical effort involved. This makes it highly suited to procedure which involve a large amount of Liposuction such as Brazilian Abdominoplasty or BBL.
  • Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL) - The most successful of these techniques is the Smartlipo, now in its third generation, Smartlipo Triplex. We are lucky to have the pioneer of this treatment, Mr Al-Ayoubi, with his huge experience using the technique in all areas. A laser is used to break the fat down swiftly to allow it to be removed from the body. This also helps to tighten the skin in the treated area, which is especially beneficial in areas such as the upper arms and the inner thighs, where the skin is thinner and more prone to sagging after Liposuction. 
  • Vaser Liposuction - Vaser is a recent innovation in the Liposuction world. Ultrasound is applied to the skin at the same time as the fat is broken down and extracted which encourages skin tightening. This method is not suitable for areas with significant sagging or excess skin. Vaser is a popular technique with male patients who are concerned about fat around their chest.

How does lipo work?

Lipo works by sucking out small areas of stubborn fat that are not responding to diet and exercise. It is carried out on areas of the body where deposits of fat tend to collect, such as the buttocks, hips, thighs and stomach. 

The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic. The surgeon will mark out on the body the areas of fat to be removed. They then inject this area with a solution containing anaesthetic and medicine, to reduce blood loss, bruising and swelling. The fat cells are broken up, the surgeon makes a small incision and a suction tube attached to a vacuum machine is placed in the cut. The tube is moved back and forth to loosen the fat and suck it out. Excess fluid and blood is drained and the treated area is stitched and bandaged. The whole process usually takes between one and three hours. 

How much weight can you lose with liposuction?

You can lose a few pounds or kilos of weight with liposuction. However, Liposuction is not a weight loss surgery and is intended to remove small areas of stubborn fat, and contour the body. Maintaining a healthy diet after the procedure is essential to help keep this new shape. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Having introduced Liposuction to the UK four decades ago, seeing its continuing development is highly rewarding. The refinement of Liposuction techniques over time has improved patient outcomes, allowing for tailored approaches and enhanced safety. Each innovation allows us to take Liposuction further, improving the procedures we offer in areas like Fat Transfer. I continue to be committed to developing surgical techniques to allow for the best patient results and safety possible.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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