3 Types of Liposuction: Which One Is Best for You? (Infographic)

Image of woman's stomach with minimal fat

If you are considering liposuction in the Palo Alto or San Jose, CA, area, you may be surprised to learn there is more than one type of liposuction approach—in fact, there are several. Thanks to advancements in aesthetic devices and techniques, you now have more options than ever for reducing stubborn fat and achieving the body you’ve been dreaming of.

How can you decide which type of liposuction is best for you? Read on to learn more about 3 different types of liposuction, how they work, and the most important step you can take to make sure you see the best possible results.

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction, also called traditional liposuction, uses a tumescent solution to liquefy fat tissue for easy removal. This solution contains lidocaine to reduce discomfort, epinephrine to minimize bleeding or bruising, and saline to saturate the fat tissue. Your surgeon uses a thin tube called a cannula to break up the tissue and suction it away.

  • Benefits: This approach offers reduced bleeding and bruising, and it can be enhanced with other options.
  • Best for: Because this is the standard approach, it is effective for most concerns.


Also called laser-assisted liposuction (LAL), Smartlipo uses laser energy to disrupt and liquefy fat tissue. The cannula used to suction the fat tissue contains a laser tip that heats and breaks up fat cells while minimizing your risk of bleeding or bruising. The heat generated also stimulates collagen production in your skin, which has a subtle tightening effect.

  • Benefits: Smartlipo offers precision, minimized bleeding, and minor skin tightening.
  • Best for: This approach works beautifully for detailed muscle etching and contouring small, precise areas.

VASER® Liposelection®

VASER Liposelection is a form of ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), which breaks up fat tissue using ultrasound energy. VASER stands for “vibration amplification of sound energy at resonance.” Because this energy is targeted only at fat tissue, it causes fewer disturbances to blood vessels and other tissues in the area.

  • Benefits: This approach minimizes damage to surrounding tissue while offering attractive results.
  • Best for: VASER works well for breaking up dense fat in both large and small areas.

Infographic comparing types of liposuction, including tumescent, Smartlipo, and VASER

Alternatives to Liposuction

If you are looking to reduce pockets of “pinchable” fat and are not sure you want to go the surgical route, you may want to consider SculpSure® or CoolSculpting®. These nonsurgical treatments use controlled heat (SculpSure) and cooling (CoolSculpting) to destroy fat cells so your body can naturally flush them out. Learn more about these approaches in this related blog post.

How to Choose the Right Liposuction Type for You

You don’t have to decide on a liposuction approach on your own. Consulting one-on-one with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to get a better understanding of what each approach offers and which one is best for you and your cosmetic goals. Once your surgeon assesses your body and talks with you about your desired results, you will work together to create a customized treatment plan to achieve your goals as effectively as possible.

To see examples of the results you can expect after liposuction, please visit our before-and-after photo gallery.

If you would like to learn more about liposuction, CoolSculpting, and other solutions available in Palo Alto and San Jose, CA, please contact us online or call (650) 325-1118 (Palo Alto) or (408) 371-1118 (Campbell).

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