Liposuction Surgery

Tumescent liposuction surgery (also known as lipo surgery, traditional liposuction, lipoplasty, liposculpture, and suction-assisted liposculpture) has been performed for nearly 30 years and is one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures in the country. Over this period, liposuction has undergone a number of medical and technological advances that have greatly increased the safety and effectiveness of the procedure. Notable advancements include the use of tumescent solution and more recently the addition of energy sources like ultrasound and laser.

All liposuction surgery involves the use of a small, hollow, metal tube (or "cannula") that is inserted through a small incision directly into the area of fat accumulation. The surgeon then moves the cannula back and forth to mechanically break up the fat deposits and suction is applied through the cannula for direct fat removal. Lipo surgery procedures may last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours.

Liposuction, when appropriate, provides a less invasive alternative for body contouring than many plastic surgery procedures (e.g. body lifts, tummy-tucks, face lifts, etc.). The incisions required for liposuction are very small, generally only require a few stitches to close, and can often be hidden in natural body creases.

Types of Liposuction Surgery

Tumescent Liposuction

The introduction of tumescent liposuction helped to revolutionize liposuction surgery and make it a much safer procedure. Tumescent refers to a saline based solution that usually contains epinephrine (which causes smaller blood vessels to constrict and reduces bleeding and bruising) and lidocaine (an anesthetic that provides localized pain relief) and is injected into the area to be treated. Performing liposuction surgery with tumescent helps to separate tissues, allowing easier movement of the cannula beneath the surface of the skin. The volume of tumescent solution varies from physician to physician, but may be up to 2-3 times the volume of fat to be removed. The overall volume of tumescent solution injected during liposuction must be carefully monitored, as excessive amounts may increase the risk of lidocaine toxicity.

Wet/Superwet Liposuction

These terms refer to the amount of tumescent solution used in relation to the amount of fat removed. Wet liposuction involves a minimal amount of solution and "Superwet" involves a 1:1 ratio. Superwet liposuction is sometimes used to provide minimal distortion while providing some control of bleeding, but may require additional (general or regional) anesthesia to provide complete pain relief. Use of the superwet technique also reduces the risk of pulmonary edema (due to less fluid infiltration) and lidocaine toxicity.

Energy-assisted Liposuction

Most recently, a number of different energy sources are being used on the tip of the cannula to assist in dissolving fat (lipolysis) and aiding its removal. These techniques (including power-assisted liposuction, ultrasound-assisted liposuction and laser-assisted liposuction) are covered in more detail on our Body Sculpting page.

Anesthesia for Liposuction Surgery

Anesthesia during liposuction depends on the physician, but local and general anesthesia are commonly used. For some liposuction surgery, the pain relief provided by tumescent solution may be sufficient for complete pain relief. In others, it may be better to provide some mild sedation and or put the patient to sleep completely (‘general anesthesia’) to provide maximum comfort. Both sedation and general anesthesia can be administered via an inhaled gas or by needle injection.

To learn more about recovery from liposuction surgery, please visit our Liposuction Recovery page.

Chin Liposuction

chin after liposuction picture
Get rid of that double chin or loose 'waddle' area to get the sculpted chin you always wanted.
> Before and After

Neck Liposuction

neck after liposuction picture
Eliminate jowls or other excess neck fat to create a more defined jaw-line.
> Before and After

Arm Liposuction

arm after liposuction picture
Suck away all that underarm flab in an hour long procedure.
> Before and After

Abdominal Liposuction

stomach after liposuction picture
Make love handles or that annoying 'pooch' a thing of the past.
> Before and After

Thigh Liposuction

thigh after liposuction picture
Saddle bags be gone! Find your legs of yesteryear underneath that excess fat.
> Before and After