Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat from areas of the body via small, hollow instruments called cannulas. These instruments are inserted into tiny cuts (incisions) generally no bigger than one-quarter inch in diameter, where the fat will be removed. A medical-grade vacuum suctions tiny, broken up globules of fat into a canister. In tumescent liposuction, local anesthetic and other medications are injected into the fatty layer before suctioning excess fat.
Additionally, laser-assisted liposuction is available. While there are many forms of lasers, most combine one or two types of lasers that melt the fat before the tumescent portion of the liposuction. "Smart Lipo" was the first laser-assisted liposuction, but there are many others now available. Invariably, these are used alongside other methods, such as tumescent liposuction.
Methods of laser-assisted liposuction are named by the laser used in conjunction with the liposuction, such as Smart Lipo, Vaser, Laser Lipolysis, and other newer forms. Laser-assisted liposuction is not the same as LipoDissolve, or mesotherapy, which are non-FDA approved procedures that consist of materials injected into the areas of the fat with the hope that these areas will dissolve. Any laser used in addition to liposuction should be FDA-approved for just that task.
Joel Schlessinger, MD
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External ultrasound-assistedliposuction (XUAL) is a new technique that requires traditionalaspirative liposuction after the application of high-frequencyultrasonic fields delivered through the skin into wetted tissue.