What types of liposuction and equipment are available?

There are many different options for liposuction.  There are also many different types of cannulas (metal tubes with holes in them) that are connected to these devices to be used to suction the fat.

There are all sorts of liposuction machines on the market for various techniques.  

  1. Traditional liposuction – this is performed with cannulas that are attached to a standard suction device. One example of an aspirator is made by Wells Johnson.   Traditional liposuction is exclusively performed by manually moving the cannula back and forth in the fatty layer while the suction machine is on. This technique does not use any heat or energy to melt the subcutaneous fat. 
  2. Power assisted liposuction (PAL) – this is performed with cannulas that are attached to a handle that vibrates back and forth. Some devices use a cannula that vibrates in a circular fashion.   They both work by suctioning the fat out.  These are less labor-intensive devices to use by the surgeon than in traditional liposuction. These do not use any heat or energy to melt the fat. This type of liposuction can be performed with equipment from Microaire or Euromi.  Using a Euromi machine is sometimes referred to as “Tickle Lipo.”
  3. VASER liposuction – VASER stands for vibration amplification of sound energy resonance.  The way this works is first you attach a special probe to a handle and then move it back and forth manually under the skin within the fatty layer. The probe gets warm and loosens and melts the fat that it comes in contact with.  Once this is completed, then suction cannulas are used to remove the fat by either traditional or PAL methods.  
  4. Laser Lipolysis – this is performed commonly either before or after traditional liposuction or PAL. This device uses a very thin laser filament that is placed under the skin to either loosen the fat and/or tighten the skin. It uses high energy to accomplish this. Fat removal is performed by one of the other techniques previously mentioned.
  5. Renuvion or J-plasma – combines radiofrequency and Helium gas as an energy source to tighten the skin and loosen fat. This also can be used before or after other forms of liposuction. It accomplishes the skin tightening and fat melting using high energy.


Cannulas are hollow metal or plastic tubes with various arrangements of holes towards the tip that are used to suction the fat.    The larger the cannula and the more holes it has, usually the more aggressive the cannula is in removing the fat.  The cannula can range in size from 1.0 mm to as large as 6-7 mm in width.  The holes can be arranged in many different ways from single holes, to three holes around the cannula, to several on one side, to multiple holes in several rows.  Again, the more holes, then usually the more aggressive the cannula.  Surgeons often have different preferences when it comes to the number of holes, the width of the cannula, and their length.

I always say, “it’s not the wand (the machine), but it’s the magician (the plastic surgeon) that creates all the magic!!!”  In other words, a good surgeon who has a lot of experience with liposuction should be able to achieve good, consistent, results. 

Share on Social!