Liposuction is the surgical removal of excess fat by way of a tube called a cannula and a vacuum designed for fat extraction. Liposuction can be performed while the patient is under general anesthesia or local anesthesia. There are different liposuction techniques a doctor may use. Below are descriptions of three popular methods.
Tumescent literally means “swollen”. When tumescent liposuction is performed, a diluted local anesthetic is injected into subcutaneous fat, making it firm and swollen. A capillary constrictor called Epinephrine is also injected to reduce bleeding. The site of the liposuction becomes numb and eliminates the need for a general anesthetic. Fluid is delivered by subcutaneous injection so an IV is unnecessary. The patient is conscious but comfortable during the procedure. Then the cannula is inserted via tiny incisions and fat is extracted.
Laser liposuction uses a laser to liquefy fat deposits under the skin before they are extracted. Before the laser is inserted, a local anesthetic is injected at the surgery site. Once the area is numbed, tiny incisions are made. The laser is inserted through these incisions to target the subcutaneous fat deposits. As the laser is moved back and forth, it ruptures the fat cells, causing the fat to liquefy. The fat and the fat cells are then extracted from the body. The laser is used to contour the body’s shape, eliminating bulky pockets of fat under the skin. Once the treated area heals, the skin will appear smoother and body will have an improved shape.
During ultrasonic liposuction, ultrasonic waves are used to emulsify fat so it can be easily removed by the cannula. Ultrasonic waves target fat cells and leave the surrounding tissue untouched. The liquefied fat is then extracted using a cannula, just as it is during other types of liposuction. Ultrasonic liposuction is similar to laser liposuction in its ability liquefy the fat before extraction.