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Get the Skinny: A Liposuction Glossary

If you’re researching liposuction at my Long Island practice or elsewhere, you may have come across some terminology we use to describe the procedure that’s not part of everyday language. To help you get a better understanding of the details of liposuction and make the best decision for yourself, I’ve provided a brief glossary of some of the terms you’re likely to encounter on my website and elsewhere during your research.

Cannula: A long, thin, hollow tube that is used to break fat apart and suction it out of the body. Although different cannulas are used for different types of liposuction procedures, today’s cannulas are smaller than ever, thereby reducing the size of incisions and improving results.

Emulsify: To break apart. “Emulsify” is often used in the context of liposuction to refer to the process of separating and loosening fat before suctioning it out of the body. Emulsification is an important step in any liposuction procedure.

Laser-assisted liposuction: Any liposuction procedure that uses a laser to emulsify fat is called laser-assisted. The use of laser energy can make the emulsification process more efficient and may even tighten nearby skin for an improved result.

Power-assisted liposuction: This version of liposuction uses a mechanized cannula that vibrates to automatically emulsify fat. Power-assisted liposuction eliminates the need for the surgeon to emulsify fat manually.

Tumescent fluid: A mixture of saline, an anesthetic called lidocaine, and epinephrine, which constricts blood vessels. Tumescent fluid is injected into the targeted fat prior to extraction, causing the fat to swell and easing its removal. Lidocaine reduces discomfort, and epinephrine reduces bleeding and bruising.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction: This type of liposuction uses ultrasound energy to emulsify fat prior to extraction. Ultrasound waves destroy fat cells, making them easier to suction away. VASERĀ® Lipo is a brand of ultrasound-assisted liposuction.


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