The Magic Wand: A Liposuction Cannula

Cannulas used for Infiltration, Liposuction and Fat Transfer.

Advances in instrumentation, techniques and devices have taken liposuction into a new era.

Ives-Gerard Illouz

What is a liposuction cannula?  What is it used for?  Why is it important to understand the difference between a cannula and a needle?  Why is it important to refer to a cannula as a cannula, specially during a surgery with a patient awake?  

Pearls of history: The origin of liposuction can be traced to 1921 when Dujarrier used a uterine curette to remove fat from the knees of a ballerina ending in an amputation secondary to damage of the femoral artery.  The history of liposuction since then has been one of avoiding complications and optimizing outcomes.  In the 1960’s, Schrudde revived the practice using small stab incisions and sharp curettage with secondary suction to aspirate the freed tissue.  This technique was associated with a high incidence of complications especially seroma and skin necrosis.  Illouz then replaced the curette with a blunt cannula connected to a vacuum pump thus avoiding the complications of a sharp curette.  The blunt cannula liposuction technique then became the global standard of care for liposuction.  Liposuction is generally a safe procedure with reproducible outcome and just like any surgical procedure, it should be treated with the utmost care. (Illouz 2014)  

Nomenclature of a liposuction cannula:  A liposuction cannula is a blunt tip instrument used during a liposuction procedure.  There is a wide variety of liposuction cannulas with different designs, sizes, lengths, and indication of use.  Liposuction cannulas include: infiltration cannulas, suction or fat harvesting cannulas and injection or fat transfer cannulas.

An infiltration cannula is used during the initial tumescent anesthesia part of a liposuction surgery;  it’s usually thin and with multiple openings at the tip allowing for the liquid tumescent anesthesia to be infiltrated by evenly spraying the solution into the tissue.

A suction or fat harvesting cannula is used to extract the fat from the tissue.  There is a variety of designs, lengths and gauges and the choice of use will depend on several factors such as the end purpose of the surgery and the anatomical areas to be treated, among others.  In other words, as an example, the cannula used for harvesting fat from the inner thighs to transfer to the face in a patient awake will be different from the cannula used for liposculpting with etching of a full abdomen in an awake patient.

An injection or fat transfer cannula is used to transfer fat after suctioning.  These cannulas tend to have one opening at the tip and the length and gauge will depend on the area to be treated by fat.  Other factors to consider in the selection of the appropriate fat transfer cannula are: the cannula used for fat harvesting, the anatomical area of the body from where the fat was extracted and the use of laser technology, among others.

The importance of understanding the difference between a cannula and a needle is based on patient safety and tissue preservation.  A cannula is a blunt tip instrument which usually causes less damage to the tissue; a needle is usually a sharp, cutting tip instrument which is more aggressive to the integrity of the tissue.  There is a learning curve for the use of a blunt cannula but with appropriate training and experience of use, one can acquire a high level of confidence in its use, contributing to the patient’s safety. 

It is of critical importance for the cosmetic specialist to understand the type of instrument he/she is working with and to refer to it in the correct way.  During surgery with an awake patient, it is not unusual for the patient to somewhat panic at the site of a long instrument and refer to it as a “huge needle”, but by quickly reassuring her/him that it is a cannula with a blunt tip and not a needle, the patient’s anxiety can quickly decrease, as safety and comfort will remain the cosmetic specialist’s priority.  A liposuction cannula is a magic wand in the hands of the cosmetic specialist, an instrument designed and intended to cause minimal tissue damage maintaining patient safety, while providing the patient with beautiful and acceptable results that will make her/him feel more secure and beautiful with her/himself and increasing her/his self-esteem.  Connect with us at 

The Direction of the Cannula during Abdominal, Waist and Back Liposuction

As previously discussed in my blog “Pearls of Wisdom: Abdominal, Waist and Back Lipo Incisions”, the planning of a liposuction surgery, including the placement of incisions, is a critical step for it’s success.  The placement of the incisions is part of the mapping of the surgery and will depend on the areas to be treated.  These incisions are strategically placed so the direction of the cannula during surgery can reach and cover as much of the area to be treated as possible.  The appropriate placement of the suction cannula in the fat layer and the direction of the cannula during suction, will ensure the most efficiency during the procedure. 

A suction cannula is inserted into the adipose tissue at an angle to the skin, and once in the correct fat plane, it is advanced parallel to the surface of the skin.  The movements are performed in parallel, in and out, along a straight line, using a “fanning or fan-shaped” pattern to aspirate the fat. This fat aspiration technique creates a number of tunnels in different directions that, once they collapse and the skin retracts, will give the body its new shape. The best results will be achieved by using multiple incision sites while overlapping adjacent fan-like tunnels with each movement in different directions.

Enclosed various images that show the direction of the cannula (pink arrows) from various incisions sites (green Xs) to treat the abdomen, waist and back areas.

Abdomen and Waist Area
Back Area
Waist and Back Area


Although this fat aspiration technique is a simple procedure with good and acceptable cosmetic results, it requires practice and experience; the more it is practiced, the more consistent better results can be achieved.  Liposuction is a very tactile procedure, the more you do it, the better the results will be.  Contact us at for more information about our trainings.

Our Mission

The diversity of medical professionals offering new aesthetic procedures is constantly growing and changing. During this ever evolving aesthetic journey, I have been training aesthetic providers on the use of cutting-edge technology to provide their patients with new and possibly life-enhancing treatments. Some are adding new procedures to their already existing aesthetic businesses while others are transitioning to an entirely different medical world.

My experience has led me to identify a real need for concierge comprehensive training targeting the specific needs of these aesthetic professionals and their staff. By imparting my knowledge on emerging surgical skills and techniques in cosmetic contouring procedures, Avellanet Surgical Aesthetics offers a one-on-one, customized, hands-on experience to aesthetic providers that are committed in offering their patients beautiful results that could improve their self-esteem and quality of life.


Hello my fellow colleagues!  Welcome to my blog, Crafted Beauty.  First things first, I am Puerto Rican, I am a career woman and I am a fellowship-trained cosmetic surgeon specializing in body contouring procedures, including Liposculpting and Lipofilling.  And here I am to share my knowledge with all of you, aesthetic specialists, specially those interested in learning about the world of liposuction and fat transfer.  I am committed to help you develop the necessary skills to offer your patients beautiful results that can improve their self esteem and quality of life.  I believe that knowledge must be shared in order to improve and grow professionally.