Liposuction, one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures, is a body sculpting treatment. It treats areas of disproportion. And we cannot empasize more, it is not a weight reduction tool.

For this discussion, I will divide liposuction into either “non-power assisted” or “power assisted” techniques.

NON-POWER ASSISTED

 

This is the “Traditional liposuction” where fat cells are sucked out of the body by a cannula connected to a suction device. The force of the pump as well as the elbow movements determines how much fat is removed. Large areas can be treated in a short period of time. But an element of exhaustion on the part of the surgeon can sometimes affect the results. Under good hands, the results can be very even and trauma to the surround tissues quite minimal. As with all things, but particularly in liposuction, the learning curve is steep and long. It is easy to do (liposuction is techincally not difficult), but it is hard to do it well.

POWER ASSISTED

 

There are many power-assisted liposuction techniques. Some use a vibrating tip, while others use a jet of water or ultrasound. All with the aim of easing the surgeon’s job of having to suck out large areas of fat.

Second generation machines incorporate mechanised tips to assist in liposuction. Third generation machines add one more step between the anaesthesia and the suction. It breaks up the fat either with a jet of water or with ultrasound like in VASER before the loosened fat is sucked out.

VASER selectively loosens up fat deposits using high-frequency sound waves prior to suction . The loosening up of fats makes the job of sucking out large areas easier. As such, there is less force needed during suction and hence less trauma to the surrounding tissues. Recovery time is hence less.

The precision of the VASER probes also means that it can even be used to treat very close to the skin for skin retraction. This allows loose skin to tighten up after VASER. This ability to remove fats close to the skin also gave rise to VASER HD.

Smartlipo is also a third generation liposuction technique. But it is in a class of its own because the fat cells are actually destroyed, albeit very slowly and very little. With the fat cells destroyed, there is actually no need for suction anymore. In its purest form, no suction is needed. The destroyed fats are absorbed into the lymphatic system. When suction is applied after Smartlipo, it is actually a hybrid “Smartlipo/Traditional Liposuction.”

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At this point we would like to dispel a common misconception that Vaser is the best form of liposuction. The best form of liposuction could be by any method, traditional or power assisted. What is most important is the surgeon’s experience and skill, and also what tool he/she is most comfortable with.

THE TUMESCENT TECHNIQUE

 

This is NOT another technique of liposuction. It is an anaesthesia technique that is widely used in traditional and power-assisted liposuctions. By infusing a solution containing xylocaine, adrenaline and buffered saline into the areas to be treated, the anaesthesia can also minimize bleeding. Very large area of fat can then be treated only under sedation. The tumescent technique gave rise to Office-Based Liposuction. Liposuction in a clinic setting as opposed to having it done in a hospital.

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