What Happens During Liposuction?

Cosmetic Surgery Enquiry

Liposuction is a type of surgery, which aims to re- shape your body by removing the fat from underneath your skin. This is achieved by breaking down the fat and then removing it using suction. This is done using a cannula, which is inserted into the body to break down and remove fat. Liposuction allows a surgeon to re- shape the body but should not be used as a weight loss technique as it does not change the factors that can cause you to gain weight in the first place.

There are several types of liposuction each of which uses slightly different methods to achieve the same results. Choosing the right type of liposuction for yourself can be a difficult process and involves research the advantages and disadvantages of each one individually in order to compare them.

Traditional Liposuction

Traditional liposuction was discovered in the 1970' s and is a process whereby the fat of the body is broken down using the cannula itself. The surgeon manually breaks down the fat using the push- pull method on the cannula. The fat is then removed from the body using suction. This technique is rarely used nowadays as it causes unnecessary trauma, blood loss, and discomfort.

Power Assisted Liposuction

Power assisted liposuction is a modern version of the above technique. Instead of the surgeon manually breaking down the fat using the cannula, the cannula is fitted with an electronic mechanism, which automatically breaks down the fat. This is much more accurate, providing smoother results. It also causes less damage leading to quicker and more comfortable recovery.

Water Assisted Liposuction

Water assisted liposuction is similar to traditional liposuction except for the fact that the fat is broken down by a jet of water before being suctioned out of the body. This is more commonly used than traditional liposuction as it causes less trauma and much less pain for the patient.

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction is similar to water assisted liposuction. However, the fluid used is known as tumescent fluid. This contains an anaesthetic to numb the area as well as a drug that closes the blood vessels preventing blood loss. Tumescent fluid is a popular choice in different types of liposuction as it cushions the tissues surrounding the surgery and limits the number of complications.

Vaser Liposuction

Vaser liposuction uses ultrasonic waves to break down the fat. These enter the body and cause the fat to break up allowing it to easily be suctioned out of the body. Vaser liposuction is becoming more and more popular as it has a quick recovery time and causes fewer complications both during and after the surgery.

Laser Assisted Liposuction

During laser assisted liposuction a laser fibre is inserted into the body. This causes the fat to turn into liquid by heating it. This is popular as it allows for smooth accurate results but can also cause complications such as the burning of the tissue. Laser assisted liposuction is very painful and can take a long time to recover from.

Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction

Radio frequency assisted liposuction is very similar to laser assisted liposuction. However, an external electrode is placed outside of the body to monitor the temperature of the tissue. This means that the radio frequency waves that dissolve the fat are automatically cut off before they can begin to burn the tissue.

Each liposuction procedure is slightly different; however, they all follow the same basic principles.

Liposuction Preparation

The first stage of preparation for liposuction treatment is a consultation with your surgeon. During this meeting, your surgeon will assess your general health and skin condition to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for liposuction. They will then give you more details about the procedure and provide you with pre- liposuction instructions to follow.

You should follow the instructions given to you by the surgeon carefully as this will ensure that you get the results that you expect from your liposuction treatment. You will be given information about the correct diet before surgery and told to avoid alcohol for at least two days prior to treatment. You will also be given information on whether you should avoid or take certain medications. It is likely that you will be told to stop taking aspirin, anti- inflammatory drugs, and the contraceptive pill before your surgery. You may be required to take iron supplements for a few weeks before your treatment as well.

When preparing for your surgery you should arrange for someone to drive you home from surgery, and arrange for time of work should this be required.


On the day of your treatment, your surgeon will highlight the areas to be treated using a marker pen. You will then be anaesthetised. The type of anaesthetic that you are given will depend on your surgery, you will also have some choice in the anaesthetic depending on whether you would be more comfortable awake or not. If a small amount of fat is being removed, it is likely that it will be done under a local anaesthetic, this will be injected into the treatment area, and you may also be given a sedative to keep you calm during the procedure. If you are having more fat removed, or you are uncomfortable with being awake during the procedure you will be given a general anaesthetic and will be under the care of an anaesthetist throughout the operation.

Liposuction Operation

During the operation small incisions will be made around the treatment are. The cannula will be inserted into these incisions to absorb the fat. How this is done varies greatly depending on the type of liposuction that you undergo. You may be injected with fluid first to help remove the fat; otherwise your fat may be broken down using an ultrasonic, or laser probe. During a dry procedure, the cannula itself will break down the fat and the surgeon will move it in and out of the incision to do so. Once the fat has been broken down it will be suctioned up to cannula removing it from your body.

After the Liposuction Operation

Once the operation has finished it is likely that you will be given IV fluids to counter- balance the fluid lost during the procedure. If you were under general anaesthetic, you will have to come round before you can leave the hospital. If you were under a local anaesthetic, you will have to relax for at least an hour before being allowed to leave. You may be prescribed antibiotics and pain killers to help avoid infection and pain. When you go home, it is likely that you will need two days of complete relaxation followed by a couple of weeks of taking it easy.

Further Articles