Liposuction is one of the most popular surgical procedures – even more popular than breast augmentation. When liposuction was first practised 25 years ago, there were only a handful of surgeons performing the operation in Australia. Now there are many newcomers in the field. Liposuction is designed to remove pockets of fat from specific areas of the body such as: abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, knees, arms, face and neck.
Depending on the area, we can use more deep or superficial suction. However, this approach should be done with the balance to achieve good results, as to not cause indentations and irregularities. This is when the experience is important, as during the operation surgeon should see and feel the details through the skin.
Equally, as important is to use specific cannulas for specific area and depth. The cannulas are designed to slide through the fat tissue and cause minimum damage to blood vessels and nerves, while at the same removing fat. There are hundreds of different cannulas ranging in different shapes and sizes.
Surgeons with experience often have their favourite cannulas even order special cannulas with specific lengths and specific tiny holes on tip from manufacturers to suit their specific methods and techniques. Most surgeons will adapt techniques and tools to each individual patient to achieve optimal results. Now, there are many different techniques used for liposuction, such as: ‘tumescent infiltration’ which can be combined with ultrasound, radiofrequency, laser, water jet and other methods which can dislodge fatty cells, and break the connection between fatty cells.
There are generally three ways to remove the fat: the traditional cannula mechanical suction method following infiltration of tumescent fluid, the syringe technique and the energy-assisted method, which can further be divided into numerous subcategories such as laser-assisted, radiofrequency-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, etc. Which method is best depends on the surgeons' experience, the area being treated, type of skin, thickness, and type of fatty tissue, the age of the patient, etc.
All the methods have pros and cons and can lead to more risk of specific complications in specific patients. The most important factor is the surgeon’s experience – for example, surgeons who have performed thousands of surgeries have a better idea of what is best for specific patients. The skills create the results, not the technology.