Summary: Liposuction is the number one most performed cosmetic surgery in the United States, recently replacing breast augmentation as the country’s most in-demand procedure. Yet, despite the increase in lipo procedures recorded in 2013, there is still a fair amount of confusion surrounding the various types of liposuction. Here is some helpful information that can help you better determine the right questions to ask during your lipo consultation and, from there, decide on the best approach to help you reach your cosmetic goals.

Traditional Tumescent Liposuction

Everything we know about liposuction today evolved from the method initially developed in the early 1980’s that used an injection of bacteriostatic lidocaine to decrease infection risk and numb the target area locally. The injected tumescent fluid also contains epinephrine, which constricts capillaries to limit blood loss during surgery. Additionally, saturating the target area with fluid helps break apart the fat cells for easier removal. While traditional liposuction is effective, there’s no denying that there’s a higher risk involved any time general anesthesia is required. Typically, larger cannulas are used, which carry a greater chance of creating irregular contours and also mean a more invasive procedure for the patient. Additionally, downtime after surgery can be significant, and the procedure overall is frequently more expensive.


SmartLipo™ was developed as a less invasive alternative to the more traditional tumescent technique. This approach requires special training and experience because it utilizes lasers to heat and dissolve the targeted subcutaneous fat cells, making them more easily removable. Laser energy also helps blood vessels coagulate instantly, decreasing bleeding and post-surgical swelling while stimulating the production of collagen to create a firmer, more youthful appearance in the treated areas. An added benefit of SmartLipo™ is that the skin surrounding the target zone may smooth and tighten in response to treatment. Since skin elasticity is a major factor in a patient’s eventual liposuction outcome, many patients prefer SmartLipo™ for its skin tightening capability, as well as the potential to remove larger volumes of fat more efficiently.

This photo shows the body contouring benefits that PowerLipo™ offers over traditional tumescent liposuction.


PowerLipo™ takes the concept of liposuction one step further, combining all the body-contouring benefits of other lipo methods with a more efficient process for the breakup and removal of fatty deposits. PowerLipo™ gets its name from the special vibrating cannula used during the procedure. These strong, rapid movements mean that a higher volume of fat can be removed in a shorter amount of time, so PowerLipo™ is essentially minimally invasive liposuction that simultaneously delivers superior contouring results compared to other types of lipo. Especially popular for localized fat deposits on the abdomen, thighs, love handles and male chest, PowerLipo™ also makes the surgeon’s work easier in the operating room. A traditional liposuction cannula requires strength and force to move manually back and forth during surgery, which can be physically demanding for your doctor. Since PowerLipo™ uses a motorized cannula, it can sculpt away fatty deposits with much more finesse, as well as with less trauma to the surrounding tissues.

Which Is Right?

The decision of which liposuction method will give you the best results is an important one, but is far from the only factor to consider. Although tumescent liposuction has a long history, the new methods that are available for today’s patients allow for a safer procedure than ever, combined with a shorter recovery and more impressive results.

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