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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

Date: 18th December 2020

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

Last reviewed: 19th January 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. 

What are the different types of liposuction?

There are a number of different kind 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 - We generally use traditional Liposuction 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 as fat grafting. 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 with the added ability to inject local anaesthetic 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. Large volumes can be removed quickly and efficiently. It is particularly good with more difficult areas such as the breast, where the fat is more firmly fixed. 
  • Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL) - MicroAire and Lipomatic are two of several mechanically enhanced techniques. They remove the fat as the motorised cannula moves back and forth, sideways or rotates. It is very effective and popular amongst surgeons, primarily because there is less physical effort involved.
  • 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. As well as the laser breaking the fat down swiftly to allow it to be removed from the body, it also helps to tighten the skin, 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 to encourage skin tightening. This method is not suitable for areas with significant sagging or excess skin. 
  • Cellulaze - Subcision is the standard minor surgical technique in which tethering fibres are cut through tiny stabs. It has been recently popularised by an expensive adaptation called Cellfina. Cellulaze however, does all this by laser, but in addition, has a second laser which shrinks the skin. It can also treat large areas at a single session.

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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. 


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