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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

What is liposuction?

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

What are the different types of liposuction?

Yes, a thigh lift is likely to leave a scar. The location and length of the scar are dependent upon where the incision is placed and the extent to which skin is removed. Your surgeon will try to hide this in the natural creases and folds of your thigh region.

These scars will heal over time and can heal faster with the use of over the counter treatments. You should expect most scars to be well hidden with particular underwear or clothing.

  • Traditional liposuction - We generally use traditional simple liposuction to remove small areas of fat and usually under local anaesthesia, such as a bulge or lipoma. 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
  • 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 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 in all liposuction, there is skin tightening, but the laser enhances this, particularly around the inner thighs and arms where the skin is thin.
  • 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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What is Vaser liposuction?

Vaser liposuction breaks apart fat cells and loosens them from deeper tissues. Vaser claimed to be quicker, more effective and less painful than other techniques. However, used elsewhere, we have seen lumpy results and occasional burns. The frequent complication is the development of seromas or collections of fluid requiring drainage. The Cadogan Clinic does not recommend this method of liposuction.

We do not use any ultrasound techniques, popularised in the UK such as Vaser, as we consider that it has no advantage and adds unnecessary complications.

Why do we not use ultrasound liposuction, such as Vaser, as the Cadogan Clinic?

After years of research in the US, the founder of the clinic and pioneer of liposuction in the UK, Bryan Mayou, determined ultrasound liposuction carried many potential risks and it was recommended that ultrasound should only be used for short periods of time necessitating the use of traditional liposuction to complete the procedure.

Since this time ultrasound has reappeared in different forms of which the most popular in the UK is Vaser. As a centre for liposuction, the Cadogan Clinic has built up huge experience and therefore does see a number of poor results from elsewhere, requiring reconstruction. Almost all of these are where Vaser has been used. Mr Mayou believes that trained surgeons can make different techniques work well for themselves, but it remains our experience that Vaser has problems. It is claimed to be quicker, more effective and less painful than other techniques. This is simply not true. We see lumpy results and occasional burns. The frequent complication is the development of seromas or collections of fluid requiring drainage. This does not occur with traditional liposuction, and it is only Vaser that is still producing them. The Cadogan Clinic does not recommend its use.

Which different types of liposuction are performed at the Cadogan Clinic?

There are several different types of liposuction performed here at the Cadogan Clinic.

  • Traditional liposuction: This simple method of liposuction is carried out under a local anesthetic and is used to remove small areas of fat. It is particularly useful for treating the neck and chin. During this procedure, a small tube is inserted into the area being treated and the fat is broken up before being suctioned from the body. There are the fewest potential complications with this traditional method of liposuction.
  • BodyJet or Water Assisted Liposuction (WAL): During this procedure, pulses of saline fluid gently dislodge the fat. This method keeps bruising and swelling to a minimal.
  • Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL): A vibrating cannula is inserted into the fat cells. The vibrations break down the fat, making it easier to remove.
  • Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL): A laser is used to produce a burst of energy which will liquefy the fat.
  • Cellulaze: A minimally invasive laser procedure designed to attack the structure of cellulite beneath the skin. 

There are also ultrasound techniques, but we do not use these at the Cadogan Clinic. We consider that it has no advantage and adds unnecessary complications.

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How does lipo work?

Lipo works by sucking out small areas of fat that are hard to lose through diet and exercise. It's 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 anesthetic. 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. The aim of the procedure is less about losing weight, however, but more about giving the body a more sculpted look. Maintaining a healthy diet after the procedure is essential to help keep this new shape.

Can Liposuction get rid of belly fat?

Liposuction can be carried out on the stomach and is an effective method for getting rid of belly fat. That said, liposuction is more of a sculpting tool for the belly region, than a tool for completely getting rid of belly fat.


Treatments mentioned in this article

For patients who are looking for a non-surgical treatment to reduce unwanted fat, SculpSure™ is an FDA approved laser treatment which works by heating up and destroying fat cells in targeted areas, known as lipolysis.

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SmartLipo, or Laser Liposuction, is an innovative liposuction technique for the removal of unwanted body fat. It utilises laser technology to break down fat cells.

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Cellulaze Laser Therapy is the world’s first aesthetic laser treatment that uses minimally invasive means to reduce cellulite by directly targeting its actual structure beneath the surface of the skin.

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Liposuction can provide an efficient solution for the removal of unwanted fat from specific areas of the body, leaving a more defined shape.

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Thigh lift surgery reduces the amount of excess skin on patients’ thighs, giving them redefined, slim and taut thighs.

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