Laser lipolysis, technically known as ‘laser-assisted lipolysis’, is a new form of liposuction which employs a laser to ‘melt’ fat enabling less downtime, smaller incisions, and generally better results.
In my opinion, when you compare laser lipolysis to liposuction your gain is twofold. One, you’re generating greater skin tightening than you would from standard liposuction because of the heat that’s generated by the laser, under the skin. That heat is stimulating new collagen and elastin proteins to develop over time. The second benefit of laser lipolysis over liposuction is it allows you to melt fat in a very non-aggressive way. So you’re not placing a large cannula into the body, using a mechanical form to break the fat away which breaks blood vessels and injures the area.
Laser lipolysis is invasive but it’s a ‘soft invasive’. On an average we use a 1-2 mm little cannula that goes in the skin through a 2 to 3 mm incision in skin. The majority of time, you don’t even have to use a stitch to close it. Minimal bruising, minimal bleeding, minimal swelling, people go to work the next day, that’s because it’s not as traumatic as standard liposuction.
The other benefit of laser lipolysis is that it allows you to do procedures in areas which you wouldn’t normally be able to have liposuction. For example, in treating the abdomen we’ll treat either the lower part of the abdomen or the upper part of the abdomen. In the upper part of the abdomen you have tiny little pockets of fat that are very difficult to get with standard liposuction. Also, you can end up making more ripples in the abdomen with traditional liposuction. With laser liposuction, you’re actually able to smooth out the surface quite nicely, and again because of that retraction, over time you generate a nice appearance and greater results.
Recently I treated a woman who had fat under the neck, the ‘turkey gobble’ problem. If I had done regular liposuction on her I would have created a lot of bruising and swelling. It would be nearly 3 to 6 months before she would see final results, she would have been in a lot of pain, and we would have had to use general anesthesia. Instead we did laser liposuction under local anesthesia and she had beautiful results. We saw them the next day. I take serial pictures of all my patients and the results are just beautiful. She had just one little stitch under her chin and she went to work next day.
Liposuction has its place and I think laser lipolysis has its place. This is not replacement for someone who really needs a surgical procedure. The ideal patient for this procedure is someone who spent all their lives in fairly decent shape, maybe they’re a little bit overweight, who has pockets of fat that they would prefer to be rid of. It’s not just for the belly. It’s also for the little pockets of fat under the chin, little pockets of fat on the arms, or what people may call the “muffin top”. For men it may be on their chests, if they have large breasts, It can be quite effective for those areas.
Sometimes called the “lunchtime liposuction” or "laser lipo", SmartLipo is a minimally-invasive laser procedure that helps remove unwanted fat with less down time and fewer side effects than traditional liposuction surgery. Smart Lipo is delivering better results with little or no downtime. “When people walk out of here, you can’t tell they’ve had lipo,” says Bruce Katz, MD, a professor of dermatology at New York’s Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, who was involved in the first U.S. laser liposuction trials.
With more and more people gaining weight, a minimally-invasive procedure like SmartLipo offers them an option they did not have before. Following the treatment, patients are also seeing a tightening of the skin and overall rejuvenation.
Many people are not candidates for traditional liposuction, either due to the area of the body to be treated or because they cannot tolerate the amount of downtime a fully-invasive surgery like liposuction comes with. Areas of high vascularity (risk of bleeding) such as the neck cannot be treated with traditional liposuction.
“I never considered liposuction because the skin has the potential to look worse afterwards. After SmartLipo my dream of having a firm belly and flat hips has come true.” said patient Alice from San Diego.
SmartLipo is a perfect alternative for areas like the “turkey gobble”, the back of the arms or legs, and upper abdomen. In many cases with Smart Lipo, no stitches are required to close the incision.
The Triplex system, as with all SmartLipo systems allows treatment of tough-to-treat areas such as under the chin which traditional liposuction never could safely treat. Liposuction is limited in what it can get at as a result of its highly invasive nature. But SmartLipo is much less invasive and as a result can reach those ‘hard-to-treat’ parts of the body. “SmartLipo is more versatile than traditional liposuction because we’re able to thread a tiny laser under the skin, targeting localized fat deposits. This level of precision allows us to target areas of high vascularity, such as the neck and inner arms that were previously untreatable with liposuction. Also, the laser stimulates collagen production so the skin isn’t left looking like a deflated balloon.” said Dr. Katz.
Due to its flexibility, patients often ask specifically for Smartlipo rather than undergo liposuction. “Patients come into my practice asking for Smartlipo,” said Dr. DiBernado.
Smartlipo even has an international following. According to Dr. Ayham Ayoubi of London’s Hurlingham Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, “patients are going to clinics offering SmartLipo because it will give good results and is less invasive.”
SmartLipo Triplex’s laser provides greater and more effective lipolysis (fat reduction), and the added benefit of greater skin tightening. Skin comes out looking smoother and more youthful as a result. “SmartLipo offers improved results. Our studies are also very impressive in terms of cellulite improvement,” comments Dr. Alberto Goldman, a Brazilian plastic surgeon.
The Smart Lipo laser, which is a 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser, is threaded through a small cannula and applied subcutaneously (beneath the skin) to the target area. Fat is then melted away and can either be absorbed by the body or removed via a suction device.
The great advantage to this laser treatment beneath the skin is that while it is melting the fat away, it also produces heat which promotes tissue coagulation and collagen retraction. Skin is tighter and smoother as a result. This is a great advance over traditional liposuction, which can leave the skin looser following treatment.
The laser uses precise measurements to target and liquefy fat deposits, which are then suctioned away via a small incision. Because the laser also closes off blood vessels, SmartLipo Triplex produces less swelling and bruising than traditional liposuction.
The procedure received the approval of the Food and Drug Administration in 2006.
SmartLipo can reduce unwanted fat deposits in all body areas treated by traditional liposuction. But because its laser zooms in on fat with great precision, SmartLipo can also be used where traditional liposuction is not: on the face (but not around the eyes), neck, back and knees. The laser also causes the coagulation of any blood vessels in the treatment area which produces much less loss of blood, reduced swelling and bruising following treatment.
This treatment can also help further tone and tighten areas previously treated with traditional liposuction.
SmartLipo Triplex is an outpatient procedure—in other words, it can be safely performed in a specially equipped physician’s office rather than in a hospital. You will be given a local anesthesia and thus awake throughout the entire treatment. After calibrating and marking the precise area to be treated, your physician will insert a very thin tube into your skin. The tube contains a laser fiber that delivers heat energy to the fat cells, causing the fat to dissolve.
The recovery period isn’t long. Most people need only a day or two at home to recuperate. Your bandages will be removed within 2 weeks. Results are permanent—unless you gain weight and add new fat cells.
This minimally invasive laser procedure reduces excess fat and the appearance of cellulite, thus tightening and contouring the skin. LipoLite can be used alone or in conjunction with traditional liposuction or other body contouring procedures. It can treat small, localized problem areas and can help remove the pockets of loose skin that liposuction leaves behind.
LipoLite repairs many areas of the body. For women, the most popular treatment areas are the hips, thighs and bra line. Men most frequently request LipoLite treatments to remove excess fat around the abdomen (“love handles”) and on the chest.
The LipoLite laser procedure uses a small, thin tube (cannula) that is inserted into your skin through a tiny incision. The laser’s light is delivered through this tube. When the light reaches your fat cells, it turns to heat, which liquefies the cells. The liquefied fat is then extracted from your body through the same incision.
Because it uses such a small incision, the LipoLite procedure results in less bruising and bleeding than traditional liposuction.
Treatment sessions tend to last from 30 to 60 minutes. You will be given a local anesthesia to numb the area. The treatment itself, therefore, is painless. Afterwards, however, you may experience some mild pain as your body recovers. An over-the-counter pain medication can relieve this discomfort. Most people return to work within two days, although your body will continue the recovery process—and may feel sore and tender—for up to eight weeks.
You may see some results, particularly a smaller contour, immediately, but the full effects of the LipoLite laser treatment generally become most apparent six to eight weeks after the procedure.