Smartlipo – A Liposuction Advance

With the summer season nearly here, spending time outdoors and ditching those layers of cold-weather clothes has many of us worrying about how our bodies fared over the winter!. For some people, the ‘getting in shape’ process seems to never end, and for others there seem to be problematic areas that just won’t improve no matter how much they diet and exercise. Whether it be a small stomach pooch, love handles, or a little fullness on the thighs, improving these areas would not simply offer a better look, but would provide more self-confidence in shorts and at the pool.

Enter the consideration of liposuction. While most people know what liposuction is, today’s Smart liposuction is a huge step forward from the traditional standard of the last twenty years. Liposuction  is no longer a brutal beating that  you may have seen on TV or the internet. The latest advance in liposuction is known as Smartlipo or laser liposuction. SmartLipo is a cutting-edge, highly effective method to significantly improve the safety and effectiveness of traditional liposuction.  Routinely used in dental procedures, lasik eye surgery, and other fields of surgical reconstruction, laser technology is what sets SmartLipo apart from all other methods of liposuction.

Traditional liposuction uses a vacuum with a metal tube attached, which the plastic surgeon moves back and forth manually. Because the human hand is not that precise, patients can sometimes get a lot of bleeding, swelling and trauma to the tissues. SmartLipo is different in that it uses a carefully calibrated laser to liquefy fat deposits in the top layers of the skin. The laser actually ruptures  the fat cells, like a hot knife going through butter, and the resulting oily, liquid substance is then suctioned out through a tiny incision in the skin. The small laser can also seal blood vessels as it zaps fat, so there is less swelling, bleeding and bruising than with traditional liposuction….and less pain! Research has shown that little, if any, fat is reabsorbed back into the body. The more gentle technique of the SmartLipo procedure allows patients to recover faster and see the results they are looking for more quickly.

The heat from the laser also has another very valuable contribution to the final result – it helps tighten loose skin. The historical problem in traditional liposuction is that it relies on the patient having good,  taut skin to begin with. Otherwise, removing fat will simply make skin looser and to sometimes  ‘sag’ after the procedure . By heating the underside of the skin to temperatures of 45 degrees C (approximately 112 degrees F), the skin is made to shrink to some degree. This makes it possible for some people to successfully undergo liposuction today who may not have gotten good results in the past.

SmartLipo also makes it possible for many patients with smaller problem areas to require only a local anesthetic for the procedure. Traditional liposuction often requires general anesthesia. This makes it more practical for some people,  as they can drive to and from the procedure, eliminating the transportation and care needs of a typical surgical operation.

Liposuction has a long history in plastic surgery of being a very good body contouring method for the right patient who is willing to undergo the recovery. Like most everything in life, liposuction has now gotten better….smarter if you will. SmartLipo is a technological advance for certain – but it is not a miracle. One still needs to have realistic expectations about what the procedure can and cannot do. But for smaller fatty deposits, or for someone who is fairly fit to being with,  Smartlipo may be the simplest solution to regaining confidence with their body.

Dr. Barry Eppley