SmartLipo uses a combination of liposuction and laser technology to reduce body fat while tightening loose skin. SmartLipo is also known as laser liposuction since it utilizes low-energy laser heat to soften and melt the fat prior to suctioning. This type of laser technology is commonly performed on the abdomen, thighs and arms and it is especially beneficial in areas where the fat is more fibrous such as the love handles and the back. SmartLipo generally has less bleeding, bruising and swelling than traditional liposuction. The heat from the fiber optic laser softens and melts the fat and works under the surface of the skin to stimulate collagen production. This helps to tighten skin better than what can be achieved with traditional liposuction.
A GOOD CANDIDATE for SmartLipo includes:
The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for SmartLipo:
SmartLipo generally takes less than an hour for each targeted area and can be performed in a medical office or at a surgical facility. The surgical location and type of anesthesia used will be determined by the treatment area and the amount of fat removed. The surgeon will numb the area and make a tiny incision, between 2-3 mm long, for each treatment area. A very thin tube is inserted directly into the targeted fat deposit through which a local anesthesia mixture of lidocaine, saline and epinephrine is injected into the treatment area. Next, the laser is inserted into the fat and moved back and forth. The movement and laser energy work together to rupture and liquify the targeted fat cells. Next, a thin suction tube cannula is inserted and the liquefied fat and fluids are suctioned through tiny holes in the cannula. The incisions are typically so small that few sutures are needed. The surgeon may use surgical dressing or medical tape to cover the areas.
Alternatives to SmartLipo include:
The cost of SmartLipo depends on the treatment area, the number of areas being treated, fees charged by the surgeon or the facility and the geographic location of the treatment. SmartLipo can cost anywhere from $2500-$5000. Since SmartLipo is a cosmetic procedure, medical insurance does not cover the cost of this procedure.
RECOVERY from SmartLipo is less than other liposuction techniques and this is especially true when using local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia. However, patients should arrange for a family member or friend to drive them home since they will not be permitted to drive home right after the procedure. The local anesthesia generally wears off within a few hours after the procedure. Following SmartLipo, patients can expect swelling, bruising and mild to moderate discomfort. A compression garment will be placed on the treatment area to minimize the swelling and assist the skin in contracting to the new contours. This garment should be worn close to 24 hours a day for the first few weeks.
Patients can resume most activities after the treatment. Walking around the house several times a day, during the first days, can help speed the healing process and promote good circulation. Patients can shower and resume light activities the day after the procedure but it is recommended that patients take at least a couple days off work. The initial swelling can last for one or two weeks. Most swelling resolves within a month but it can take up to several months for swelling to completely resolve and to see the final result. Patients can usually return to regular activities and exercise within five to seven days after SmartLipo.
The results from SmartLipo are not immediate due to swelling and bruising. Most patients will see some results, within a week, as the swelling subsides. While the heat from the laser causes the skin to experience a degree of tightening, due to the contracting of the skin, not every patient will see the same skin tightening effects. The patient’s age and skin elasticity impact how well the skin contracts. Nevertheless, the skin will continue to improve over the next few months. Patients can expect to see the results in about 3 to 6 months since it takes approximately 6 months for the skin to finish contracting. Although the fat cells which are removed are gone, fat deposits can accumulate near the treatment area and void the results if a patient gains weight. Therefore, it is important to follow a regular diet and exercise plan to maintain the results of SmartLipo.
The limitations of SmartLipo include:
The risks associated with SmartLipo include:
SmartLipo is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure designed to safely remove isolated pockets of fat while tightening the skin. Patients considering SmartLipo should choose a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in this type of liposuction technique. An adequately skilled surgeon can decrease the potential side effects and risks. Furthermore, a patient can expect optimal results when they choose a plastic surgeon experienced in performing SmartLipo.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - SP
Based on an exclusive interview with Dr. Arnold Breitbart in Manhasset, NY