Unlike a decade ago when conventional (suction) liposuction was the only option and “one size fits all” approach, now there are multiple liposuction techniques depending on your exact anatomy and objectives. Liposuction is now a commonly known procedure used to reduce body fat by breaking down the fat and sucking it out of the body. However, what is not common knowledge is that there are now a variety of different liposuction techniques, each with its own pros and cons. Here are 4 common liposuction techniques:
1. Conventional (suction-assisted) liposuction technique:
In this procedure, a mix of local anesthesia and another chemical solution is typically injected into the portion of the body where fat reduction is desired. This serves to make the area numb and also make it swollen and firm. Then a thin tube also known as a cannula is inserted into the desired location to suck out the fat using a suction machine attached at the opposite end. While this is usually considered the “gold standard” in liposuction, it has its drawbacks as all the fat in the targeted area is difficult to suck out using this method.
2. Power-assisted liposuction technique:
In this procedure, the cannula or tube is made to vibrate at a high frequency to help break up fatty tissue. This fatty tissue is then sucked out through the cannula using a suction machine as in the case of conventional liposuction. This technique is particularly useful in targeting areas with dense fat tissue such as the abdomen and back as all of this fat tissue is difficult to suck out with conventional liposuction. Power-assisted liposuction is also known to cause less trauma to the patient as the power-assisted break-up of fat increases the efficiency of fat suction out of the targeted area without having to re-insert the cannula multiple times.
3. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) technique:
In this technique the surgeon uses ultrasound waves to break up fatty tissue and loosen it from other surrounding body tissue, thus improving the efficiency of fat removal. There are actually two sub-categories of Ultrasound-assisted liposuction namely Internal UAL and External UAL. Internal UAL applies ultrasound energy directly to the subcutaneous fat tissue (under the skin) through the cannula or using metal rod that is inserted through an incision in the skin. External UAL delivers the ultrasonic energy to the targeted area above the skin which does not need to be inserted. This technique has come under some scrutiny in recent years as ultrasonic energy has been occasionally found to cause damage to the surrounding (non-fat) tissue leading to the formation of “seromas” which are fluid-filled cavities under the skin which can last for weeks or even months in some cases.
4. Laser liposuction technique:
This is a relatively newer form of liposuction that uses laser energy to apply heat to fat tissue in a targeted area and melt it. This laser energy is administered through a very thin fiber optic cable that is inserted under the skin through which a laser beam is passed. While some surgeons leave the damaged or liquefied fat tissue in the body to allow the body to drain it naturally, other surgeons insert a cannula to suck out the melted or damaged fat tissue after it has been subjected to laser energy. This technique is suitable for removing fat from areas such as the abdomen, knees, thighs, arms, breasts, face, and back.
The exact choice of liposuction procedure depends on your body anatomy, your treatment objectives (e.g. just fat removal or also improvement in skin tone) as well as the areas which you want fat removed from.
The costs for a liposuction procedure will vary by location and the number of areas where the treatment is applied. For example, this procedure in Thailand will normally cost around USD 1,600 – USD 7,000 while the price is USD 1,200 – USD 20,000 in South Korea.