After you have received sedation or general anesthesia for liposuction, very small incisions are made in inconspicuous areas of the sites to be suctioned. A large amount of tumescent solution is then injected into the areas to be treated. Tumescent solution contains a local anesthetic, epinephrine (which causes blood vessels to shrink down or constrict), and a balanced salt solution. This solution helps to provide anesthesia and minimize blood loss both during and after your procedure. The solution is allowed to sit for approximately 10 minutes prior to beginning suction.
Small cannulas, or metal tubes, are then serially inserted through the previously created incisions. The cannula is connected to suction tubing and a canister, and suction is applied while the cannula is carefully directed in multiple directions within the area of treatment. The fat is removed and suctioned directly into the collection canister for disposal, or in some cases, for re-injection into another part of the body.
There are many different types of liposuction now available. Suction-assisted liposuction (SAL) is the traditional form of liposuction and involves the removal of fat with a high vacuum. Power assisted liposuction (PAL) is traditional SAL with the addition of a tool to increase the motion of the cannula, which can speed the removal of your fat. In select cases, ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL) is used. This technique transmits energy through a special hand piece to helps to loosen and melt fat. This is best for larger areas, dense fat, and male patients.
Immediately following surgery, you will be placed into a special compression garment which will assist in reduction of your swelling during the early postoperative period. You are advised to wear this garment continuously for 2-3 weeks following surgery.
Liposuction is sometimes performed in conjunction with tummy tuck surgery to remove excess skin from the lower abdomen, particularly following pregnancy or significant weight loss.