Liposuction – What is What?

In San Jose, CA

By Dr. Eric Li

The surgical process of liposuction, also known as “lipo” by patients, includes the removal of extra fat from particular body parts. Dr. Eric Li is a double board-certified plastic surgeon, who has substantial liposuction experience. Visit CA Aesthetics for comprehensive liposuction treatment in San Jose, and Los Gatos Bay Area California. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 555 Knowles Drive, Suite 218 Los Gatos, CA 95032.

3D Liposuction. 360 Liposuction. VASER. Laser. BodyTite. Renuvion. Airsculpt. Power-assisted liposuction. Awake Liposuction. These are often the terms and adjectives that patients get bombarded with when researching options for liposuction. Could it be even more confusing? What is what? Is it all marketing? What is worth it?
Dr. Eric Li is a double-board certified plastic surgeon who has significant expertise in liposuction and performs liposuction procedures every week as part of his private practice in San Jose and Los Gatos Bay Area California. Here is some information to help you navigate this confusing domain.

The Basic Concept

As a core concept, liposuction is a procedure that involves removal of fat through small incisions. Fat is suctioned away from the body with the help of surgical instruments called cannulas, which function like straws as they are passed underneath your skin. Either a syringe or a machine provides the force to suction the fat. It is important to remember that while liposuction involves minimal skin incisions and scarring, it is still nonetheless an invasive surgery. Therefore, it is without any doubt that your procedure be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon who has significant experience with liposuction. Liposuction can be comfortably performed awake, under sedation, or under general anesthesia, and the right option for you depends on your specific circumstances.

The Technologies

Different technologies can be used to help retrieve the fat, and different technologies can also be used treat the skin of the liposuctioned areas. The classical method of liposuction is mechanical, meaning it is the back-and-forth motion of the cannulas and the suction force either by provided a syringe or machine that causes the fat to break off and be suctioned away. To assist with fat removal, there exist technologies that vibrate the cannulas at a high frequency (power-assisted liposuction) to work in tandem with the surgeon’s back and forth motion to help break off the fat. There also exist technologies that help melt the fat to make it easier to remove (e.g., ultrasound/VASER or laser). Lastly, after liposuction is performed, the skin can be tightened using different technologies such as Renuvion or BodyTite.

What is important to understand is that all the above techniques have a certain role and use, depending on the situation, patient’s goals, and the patient’s anatomy. For example, Dr. Li likes using power-assisted liposuction in body liposuction cases, since a larger amount of fat is typically removed, but uses the classical method of liposuction for the neck because it offers finer control for smaller amounts of fat removal. Also, when the fat is denser or there is scarring from previous liposuction, Dr. Li likes using VASER to help melt the fat to make it easier to remove. Lastly, irrespective of the age of the patient and the quality of the skin, liposuction in essence deflates volume underneath the skin, which must now shrink to match the underlying contours. As such, Dr. Li always recommends adding Renuvion to help reduce skin excess and skin laxity post-liposuction.

Not all plastic surgeons will have access to all technologies. Dr. Li has both VASER and Renuvion, which he considers the gold standard for liposuction. At the end of the day, while there are many different modern-day technologies which can improve liposuction results, the most important factor remains the surgeon’s technique and expertise as no technology can improve the results of poorly done liposuction.

The Branding

Airsculpt. 360 Liposuction. 3D Liposuction. 4D Liposuction. High Definition/HD Liposuction. These are all but marketing terms used to describe liposuction performed using the same methods and technologies as above. There is nothing proprietary or unique about these methods, and as per before, it is the surgeon’s technique and expertise that ultimately determines the results.

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