Everyone is familiar with the surgical options for removing fat, liposuction, tummy tucks and the like. Less well known are the newer procedures we doctors call “minimally-invasive” fat removal treatments. What this means is that the incision we make during a surgery is smaller and the amount of recovery for the patient is generally much shorter. These techniques are surgical procedures and they do involve the use of anesthesia, however the anesthesia is usually local and∕or tumescent, which is less risky than general anesthesia. The incision we make during one of these procedures is very tiny, more often than not so small we do not need a stitch to close it.
Using Laser to Zap Away Fat
The more popular minimally-invasive fat removal procedures are the ‘laser liposuction’ methods. These treatments remove fat by using a fiber laser inserted into the target fat deposits, melting them, and then either removing the resulting fluid through a tube or allowing the body’s natural system to absorb and remove the material. Proponents of these procedures also state that the skin is tightened and rejuvenated from underneath as a result of the heat produced by the laser treatment. Recovery for one of these laser fat removal procedures is usually just a couple days, and is much shorter than traditional liposuction. In addition, these procedures are capable of treating areas such as the neck and underarm which would be too risky with liposuction.
There are a wide variety of procedures now that fall into the category of ‘minimally-invasive’ fat removal. Here is a quick overview of the major ones:
SmartLipo was the first fat removal procedure in this category. Made and marketing by Cynosure Inc. of Westford, MA, SmartLipo received FDA approval in 2006. The procedure may cost between $2,000 and $6,500 depending on various factors. Talk to your doctor for more precise details.
SmoothLipo is produced by Eleme Medical for removing fat in localized areas of the body. It uses a 980nm laser to liquefy fat cells. Recovery is generally short, less than a week.
Developed by Palomar Medical, SlimLipo is a minimally-invasive fat removal procedure. SlimLipo also utilizes a laser to heat and remove fat cells.
LipoLite utilizes a 1064nm laser to melt away fat cells. Developed and marketed by Syneron Ltd., LipoLite is a laser liposuction device.
CoolLipo is a minimally-invasive fat removal technique for body contouring. Like the above devices, it too utilizes a laser. Recovery is generally shorter than standard liposuction.
Talk To Your Doctor
The above treatments are for informational purposes only. Before deciding on a specific treatment, you should consult your doctor and determine what is best for your individual case. There are a lot of options on the market now, and it’s important to have professional advice before choosing.