What Are the Different Types of Liposuction Surgery?

As one of the most popular cosmetic surgical treatments with more than 1.4 million procedures conducted globally each year, liposuction is revered for its ability to permanently and dramatically alter the body’s shape and contour.

When undergoing liposuction treatment, patients are given the option between the following types of liposuction surgery:

 

  • Tumescent Liposuction
  • Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction
  • Laser Lipolysis
  • Power-Assisted Liposuction.

 

While each liposuction technique works in the same way by carefully extracting unwanted fat cells from the body using a thin tube (called a cannula) and a suction device, there are a few differences between the various liposuction methods.

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction is the most commonly performed type of liposuction surgery and is the preferred treatment option for most patients.

During treatment, small incisions are made in an inconspicuous location and a tumescent solution containing lidocaine, epinephrine and saline is injected. The solution works as an anaesthetic, also causing the blood vessels to contract and the treatment area to swell making it easier for the surgeon to locate and extract the unwanted fat cells.

Tumescent liposuction is a popular treatment method because it can be completed in a short period of time while still offering patients a fast recovery with minimal discomfort and bruising.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction combines tumescent liposuction with the use of an ultrasound device which utilises ultrasonic vibrations to rupture fat cell walls to liquefy or ‘melt’ the pockets of fat. This makes it easier for the surgeon to extract the fat with the use of a cannula, while minimising any damage to surrounding nerves and tissue. For this reason, it can be the preferred treatment for dense or fibrous areas of the body. It can also be helpful in cases requiring the removal of a significant volume of fat.

Laser Lipolysis

Like ultrasound-assisted liposuction, laser lipolysis uses fibre-optic lasers to liquefy or melt body fat with the additional benefit of causing collagen fibres to contract. This can result in tighter skin and a smoother result.
While laser lipolysis can be performed on its own as a minimally-invasive alternative to traditional liposuction (with the liquefied fat gradually eradicated through the body’s natural processes), patients often prefer to undergo laser lipolysis in combination with vacuum liposuction to expedite the final result.

Power-Assisted Liposuction

A similar technique to tumescent liposuction, power-assisted liposuction uses a very small power cannula which also emits fine vibrations (in a similar way to ultrasound-assisted liposuction) which gently separate fat cells in the treatment area. This makes it easier for the surgeon to control the cannula and delicately move through the fat, allowing for a more precise and thorough extraction of fat cells.

Selecting the right type of liposuction

At Me Clinic, we generally perform the tumescent liposuction method. Depending on the treatment area, your physique and what you want to achieve, your surgeon will recommend which type of liposuction will be most suitable to achieve the desired result.

Liposuction treatment is most commonly performed on areas such as the abdomen, waist, hips, and thighs, however, it is also an effective way to eliminate unwanted fatty deposits from other areas of the body including chin, neck, calves, knees, ankles, upper arms, face, mons pubis, buttocks and chest.

  • Abdomen and waist: Also known as stomach liposuction, liposuction performed on the abdomen and waist is one of the most performed liposuction procedures in the world and is an effective way to address common complaints of ‘love handles’ and ‘muffin tops’. By removing excess fat from your sides, flanks, lower or upper stomach area, you can achieve a flatter abdomen or flawless hourglass contour.    
  • Chin and neck: Can produce a more youthful facial appearance by strategically removing small fat deposits to address complaints such as drooping neck or a double, triple or receding chin.
  • Hips: Liposuction can eliminate fat deposits on the outer side of the hips (commonly referred to as saddlebags) to produce a smoother, more proportionate shape and perfectly contoured silhouette.   
    Thighs: Liposuction can be performed on the inner, outer, upper and outer zones of the leg to create a more slender appearance, reduce saddlebags or achieve a ‘thigh gap’.
  • Calves, knees and ankles: When performed on the lower half of the legs, liposuction can address concerns such as a lack of definition between the ankle and calf (often referred to as ‘cankles’ or fat knees) to produce more slender and proportionate legs that are subtly tapered.
  • Upper arms: Most commonly performed on the posterior flap of the arms, liposuction can address complaints of ‘batwings’ or ‘tuck shop arms’ to create slimmer and more toned arms. It is common for upper arm liposuction to be combined with a scar less arm lift or brachioplasty.
  • Face: Facial liposuction performed on areas such as the cheeks, chin and neck can create a lifting effect on the upper half of your face to produce a more youthful facial appearance. Facial liposuction can also be combined with a range of other cosmetic and anti-ageing facial treatments to achieve the desired result.
  • Mons pubis: Liposuction can reduce the appearance of a bulging upper pelvic area by extracting fat and fatty tissue from the pubic region.
  • Buttocks: Liposuction can be used to alter both the volume and contour of the buttocks to create a more rounded, lifted or perky posterior profile.
  • Chest: Liposuction can be used as a less invasive alternative to traditional breast reduction surgery, while also addressing general or asymmetrical breast hypertrophy. Liposuction can also be performed on the male chest to treat Gynaecomastia or ‘man boobs’ to produce a firmer, more sculpted chest

Where suitable, liposuction can be performed on multiple areas of the body during a single procedure to achieve a comprehensive body transformation and offer a shorter total recovery period (compared to undergoing multiple individual treatments).

Many patients choose to combine liposuction with liposculpture, which involves sculpting and shaping the body throughout the fat removal process to produce a more proportionate, contoured shape and smooth final result.

Patients undergoing liposuction also have the option to combine their treatment with an Autologous Fat Transfer procedure, where the fat extracted during their liposuction procedure is injected into the face or another area of the body. As a popular alternative to treatment with dermal fillers, fat transfer procedures are non-allergenic and typically achieve longer lasting results.

When selecting which type of liposuction is most suitable for you, it is important to follow the advice of your surgeon.

Contact us

Contact us if you would like to know more about undergoing liposuction surgery at Me Clinic or to arrange a personal consultation with one of our cosmetic surgeons.

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Other resources

View our Liposuction before and after images
Female Liposuction
Male Liposuction
Chin and Neck Liposuction
Mega Liposuction
Fat Transfer to Body & Legs
Upper Arm Lift Surgery

  • Dr. Ashley Granot

    Dr Ashley has over 30 years of Cosmetic Surgery experience and is regarded as one of the leading Cosmetic Surgeons in Australia.
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  • Dr. Simon Rosenbaum

    Dr. Simon has performed over 2,500 Breast Augmentations procedures and is a leader in the use of tear drop profile implants.
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