While there is no magic solution to melt away fat, science has come a long way. If you have stubborn fat deposits on your thighs, buttocks, hips, arms or stomach that do not respond to diet and exercise, laser body sculpting can help you shed this excess weight by liquefying and removing the fat cells.
What is SmartLipo?
SmartLipo is a type of laser-assisted lipolysis, or liposuction, that was approved by the FDA in 2006 as the first laser-assisted liposuction procedure. Unlike traditional lipo, this laser-assisted procedure liquefies fat cells instantly, which makes them easier to remove through a much smaller incision. This minimally invasive procedure uses a laser to rupture fat cells. This liquid is then removed through a tiny incision. As it cuts through and ruptures fat cells, the laser can also seal blood vessels, which helps reduce bruising, bleeding and swelling.
Laser-assisted liposuction is a less invasive procedure than regular lipo, with reduced post-operative pain and discomfort. While patients must still wear a compression garment after this procedure, as with standard liposuction, the time the garment must be worn is reduced.
Areas Treated with Laser Body Sculpting
The following areas are commonly treated with this procedure:
- Flanks. Love handles are notoriously difficult to remove, and typically do not respond to diet and exercise. These fat deposits can be easily removed with laser liposuction.
- Abdomen. This is a problem area for men and women and this procedure may be used to remove fat above the muscle.
- Back. Many women are uncomfortable with stubborn fatty deposits around the bra strap.
- Arms. This procedure can be used to create slimmer and more toned-looking arms that are proportionate with the body.
- Breasts. Women may use this procedure for a mild breast reduction in some cases, while it can also be used to treat mild or moderate cases of gynecomastia in men.
- Neck and chin. This procedure can remove excess fat along the jawline and neck, including a double chin.
- Inner and outer thighs. This procedure can produce a more pleasing contour to the legs.
- Knees. Lipo of the knees has a very high satisfaction rate with excellent results.
- Calves. Many patients turn to laser-assisted body sculpting to get rid of “cankles” for a pleasing tapering of the calves.
- Buttocks. This procedure can reduce the size and bulk of the backside to produce a more proportional appearance.
The Smart Liposuction Procedure
Laser-assisted liposuction works well on small, localized deposits of fat on the body and face. Areas that may be treated with this procedure include the face, arms, back, neck, jowls, gynecomastia, thighs, buttocks and hips.
The procedure always begins with a consultation with Dr. Holcomb, who will review the patient’s medical history to determine if he or she is a good candidate, as well as evaluate the treatment areas.
Prior to the procedure, your surgeon will numb the area with a local anesthetic, then make a very small incision about 1 to 2 millimeters long. A cannula, or thin tube with a laser fiber, will be inserted just under the surface of the skin. This cannula is then moved back and forth through the fat.
As the laser comes into contact with fat, the heat causes cell membranes to swell, much like a bubble, before bursting into oil. If the treatment area is somewhat large, this liquid fat is removed with a suction device. For small areas, the body will absorb the liquid and remove it as waste.
Along with destroying fat cells, the procedure triggers the body’s natural production of collagen, a protein that keeps skin strong and firm. This tightens the treatment area, giving better results for patients with loose skin than traditional lipo.
*Individual Results May Vary
*Individual Results May Vary
This laser body sculpting treatment offers several advantages, including many when compared to the traditional liposuction treatment. Smart Lipo is minimally invasive, and the laser results in less trauma to the body and faster healing. Most patients have only minor discomfort after the procedure and return to work in one or two days, rather than a week. Patient outcomes tend to be very consistent as well.
SmartLipo Risks and Side Effects
All medical procedures come with some risk, and laser-assisted lipolysis is no exception. The most common side effects include mild, temporary bruising, swelling and discomfort. Rare complications include infection, scarring, blisters, burns and fat necrosis.
Smart Liposuction Recovery
While laser-assisted liposuction is sometimes called “lunch hour liposuction” because the procedure is performed in about 45 to 60 minutes, this is misleading because you should not return to work immediately afterward. We recommend recovering at home for one or two days after your procedure.
The recovery from laser-assisted liposuction is much easier than a traditional liposuction procedure. There are no stitches, and the incision is very small. While most patients feel a little sore afterward, the laser seals small blood vessels for a reduced chance of bleeding, bruising and swelling.
Most patients return to normal activities within one or two days, although it is important to avoid strenuous activity or exercise for two weeks. A compression garment should be worn for 1-2 weeks to improve healing and reduce swelling.
Most patients see results within one week, although it may take up to six months to see the final results. Most patients need just one treatment to see results, although minor touch-ups may be performed. The same area may be treated again with four months between procedures.
Are You a Candidate?
Not everyone is a good candidate for laser-assisted lipolysis, and it is not a weight loss method but rather a tool to address localized, stubborn fat deposits and sculpt the body. You may be a good candidate if you:
- Have one or several areas of stubborn fat deposits that do not respond to diet or exercise
- Are troubled by these deposits and want to get rid of them permanently
- Are in good physical health
- Are within 25 pounds of your ideal weight
*Individual Results May Vary
Are Smart Lipo results permanent?
Yes and no. This depends on the patient. This procedure removes small pockets of fat cells, but patients who do not maintain a healthy diet or exercise regularly may lose their results, as the remaining fat cells will enlarge.
Can I have more than one area treated at once?
Yes, laser body sculpting can be used to treat several areas during the same procedure.
Can I have laser-assisted lipo after regular liposuction?
Yes, Smart Lipo may be used before or after a conventional approach, or it may be used alone to treat stubborn areas of fat.