Diet and exercise are the best ways to eliminate annoying fat deposits, but they don’t always work as we want on the abdomen, love handles, and other body areas. Fortunately, liposuction can remove stubborn fat deposits and give your body a slimmer appearance.
There are several types of liposuction to consider, and some are better at removing fat than others.
The most popular form is called tumescent liposuction. First, the surgeon injects lidocaine and epinephrine into the target area to make the fat swell, making it easier to remove. Lidocaine is an anesthetic, and epinephrine constricts blood vessels, so these work together to reduce pain and bleeding.
After the injections, the fat swells, and a cannula is inserted to remove the fat and liquid. Most swelling and pain from this type of liposuction is gone after a month, but it can take three to six months to see the final results.
Tumescent liposuction works well on most parts of the body, and it can remove a lot of fat. Some surgeons say you can remove between five and 10 pounds of fat per session with tumescent liposuction.
However, tumescent liposuction isn’t as precise as other types of lipo. For example, while it can remove a lot of fat from the abdomen, tumescent lipo cannot sculpt the abs to give you a ‘six pack.’
It also isn’t the best choice for treatment areas that need a high degree of precision, such as the chin.
Tumescent lipo is often combined with surgery after weight loss to remove extra skin.
This is similar to tumescent liposuction but is often ideal for removing a lot of fat. It features a vibrating cannula that more easily breaks up fat.
The main benefit of this procedure is it removes fat faster and easier with less surgeon fatigue. It also may be helpful to remove tough fat in small areas.
Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
UAL uses ultrasonic waves to dissolve fat cells, making it easier to remove them. It is frequently used on tougher fat, such as on the back and male chest. Recovery from this procedure is similar to tumescent lipo, but patients get burns and blistering from time to time.
A significant advantage of UAL is it can more easily take out stubborn, tough fat that often requires more than one session. Also, more fat can be taken out because it is liquid before removal. There also is less bleeding and bruising.
On the downside, this procedure may lead to numbness and blood clots in the treatment area. But many people choose UAL because they want to remove a lot of fibrous fat.
You might consider UAL combined with a tummy tuck to give you a tight, smooth abdomen.
Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL)
LAL works similarly to UAL, but it uses a laser to liquefy the fat. First, the surgeon inserts a small laser probe with the cannula. Next, epinephrine and anesthetic are injected to reduce bleeding and pain.
The surgeon then makes several small incisions and inserts the laser and cannula. The laser breaks down fat to be sucked out as an oil. The body absorbs any fat that was liquified but not removed. It takes about a month of recovery.
LAL uses a small laser fiber and cannula, so small incisions are used, which means minimal scarring.
This type of liposuction can remove a lot of fat because it’s liquified for easy removal. Plus, the laser and cannula are easy to control, so the surgeon can precisely sculpt the abdominal muscles if you want.
Last, lasers can tighten the skin without surgery, so many people discover they have firmer skin after LAL.
However, recovery is longer, and you may need a few weeks of prescription painkillers to manage discomfort.
SmartLipo also uses lasers but features different frequencies. It works well to liquefy fat where you want sculpting, such as the abs. It can also tighten skin and tissue, which stimulates collagen production.
SmartLipo offers more skin tightening than other types, which is helpful in older patients with sagging skin. And one treatment is usually enough for most patients, with recovery time of only a few days.
Because it also liquefies fat, a lot of fat can be taken out in one session, and you can have sculpting and tighter skin.
The primary disadvantage is the risk of burns and blistering, but a highly skilled surgeon can usually avoid this issue.
Also, SmartLipo may sometimes be offered by less experienced plastic surgeons. So make sure to check your surgeon’s credentials to have the desired results.
Which Lipo Is Best For You?
As you decide which type of lipo to get, there are several things to think about:
- Which part of the body you want to treat. For example, if you want to sculpt your abs and love handles, you may want to use laser-assisted lipo or SmartLipo.
- How much fat you want to remove. UAL, laser-assisted lipo, and SmartLipo liquefy the fat, so they often work to remove the most tissue. Tumescent lipo also eliminates a lot of fat but isn’t as precise as the other methods.
- How much money you can spend. Tumescent liposuction is usually the most inexpensive of the types mentioned here.
- Whether you want skin tightening. Lipo using lasers is the way to achieve fat reduction and skin tightening in the same procedure.
- How much pain you can tolerate.
- Whether you can have IV or general sedation.
Talk about your needs and goals with your plastic surgeon, and they can recommend the best liposuction option for your circumstances.
And remember: The most crucial factor when choosing liposuction isn’t the type, it’s the surgeon. The best plastic surgeon can use most of the types above of lipo to remove a lot of fat. Skill means a lot!
Request A Liposuction Consultation
Thinking about liposuction in Beverly Hills? Dr. Nicholas Lahar is pleased to provide plastic surgery procedures to his Beverly Hills patients. He will discuss your aesthetic goals during your consultation and help you decide if plastic surgery is right for you.
Liposuction Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/liposuction/about/pac-20384586