University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue 4th Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Phone: (434) 924-1234
Location Hours: Monday—Friday | 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.

Your Surgeon’s Technique Matters Most with Liposuction

A man pinches skin on his abdomen while contemplating his liposuction options.

No one wants to feel self-conscious about the shape of their body. This is one of the reasons our doctors get so much satisfaction performing body contouring procedures—they get to watch our patients become more toned and confident.

If you struggle with pockets of excess fat, liposuction at our Harrisonburg-area practice may be the perfect solution. Liposuction is a popular surgery used to slim down bulges around areas such as:

  • Stomach
  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Upper arms
  • Neck

Liposuction is one of the most popular body contouring procedures performed in the U.S. Some patients, however, might not know about the different techniques surgeons can choose from during surgery. This blog post will explain the benefits and differences between the 2 main techniques offered by our doctors at UVA Plastic Surgery.

Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)

Plastic surgeons performing liposuction use a thin, hollow tube (called a cannula) to suction fat from targeted areas. Manual liposuction involves the surgeon vigorously moving the cannula to break up the fatty tissue before extracting it. In power-assisted liposuction, a vibrating cannula helps break up and remove fatty tissue, resulting in less trauma to the treatment area.

The primary benefit of PAL is that it can remove fat quicker. This is important in preventing surgeon fatigue, as many liposuction procedures last around 2 hours. PAL utilizes additional equipment and can add a bit of complexity to the procedure. It is also helpful in breaking up fat in particularly dense areas.

Ultrasonic Liposuction

Ultrasonic liposuction also uses a specialized cannula. This version of the tube produces low-frequency ultrasound energy to the target area. This energy breaks down the walls of fat cells and turns the fat into liquid. The liquid is then easily suctioned out by the surgeon.

Some benefits of ultrasonic liposuction include reduced swelling, limited bruising, and potential improvement in skin tightening. This technique is thought to work better for more “fibrous” target areas, such as the back and flanks.

Which technique is best for you?

At UVA Plastic Surgery, your doctor will have 2 main considerations when choosing between liposuction techniques:

  1. The size of the areas being treated
  2. The density and amount of fat being removed

All forms of liposuction are equally safe and produce satisfying results. As each patient’s situation is unique, your surgeon can recommend which approach is best suited for you. Ultimately, the skill of the surgeon is the most important factor. Find a board-certified professional who produces consistent results you can trust.

No matter the technique, liposuction isn’t meant as a tool for weight loss. Ideal patients should try to be close to their ideal weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper eating and exercise.

Browse our before-and-after gallery to see liposuction results from our own patients. If you’re interested in removing fat and toning up your body, contact us online or call (434) 924-1234.

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