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Traditional liposuction—one of the most popular forms of cosmetic surgery in the U.S.—typically starts with the administration of some form of anesthesia including local anesthesia, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia accompanied with the infusion of a saline solution into the area of the body where liposuction will be performed. The solution contains medication to minimize pain and bleeding. Then, a small hollow tube attached to a vacuum is inserted through a small incision into the fat layer beneath the skin. It's moved around to break up the fat, which is then sucked out of the body.
Laser-assisted liposuction takes advantage of the power and technology associated with medical laser beams to liquefy the fat which is then sucked out of the area.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction uses a special cannula that vibrates very rapidly and gives off ultrasound energy. As the cannula passes through the fat cells, that energy liquefies the fat cells, which are then suctioned out. The ultrasound can be administered either above the skin (with a special emitter) or below the surface of the skin (with an ultrasound cannula).
Medical devices are used for a variety of medical procedures, but only certain devices are FDA approved or cleared for liposuction. Before considering laser or ultrasound-assisted liposuction, it is important to determine that the device being used is cleared by the FDA.