Laser-Assisted "Smart" Liposuction

Serving Chattanooga, Tennessee

Seldom does a technology come along that can truly change surgical practice. I believe that this is the case with LASER assisted liposuction technology. Approved by the FDA in November of 2006, LASER liposuction has been used in Europe, Asia, and South America with remarkable success since then. Marketed in the U.S. under several trade names, SmartLipoTM employs a LASER to rupture fat cells as it is passed beneath skin.

Traditional liposuction has evolved over the past decades to a procedure in which a medical fluid is first injected into the area of concern. This is followed by the insertion of a metal suction wand through the skin that removes a controlled amount of fat and fluid until the desired contour change is reached. Compressive garments are worn as swelling resolves. While traditional liposuction is very effective, the principle disadvantages of this process are blood loss, bruising, pain, skin sagging, and down time.

The advantage of adding the LASER is that it not only breaks up the fat cells, but it also controls small blood vessel bleeding and aids in improving skin sag. Most of these advantages are attributed to the heat generated by the LASER component of the treatment. As the layer beneath the skin heats safely, a process of contraction is created. A continuous feed back mechanism in the LASER system controls skin temperature in the treated sites preventing burns. The result is fat destruction coupled with tightening of the skin surrounding the area where the fat was removed. The developers of SmartLipo go further and point out that they feel that SmartLipo treatments have a quicker recovery, with less swelling, and less pain than traditional liposuction. This means a quicker return to work, and normal physical activity.

Of course, most liposuction will typically be performed under sedation, but small areas could be managed under local anesthesia alone. As with any aesthetic surgery, patient selection is the key to the best results. Patient expectations should be reviewed and realistic. Aesthetic surgery patients must be in good health, and liposuction should never be considered as a solution to obesity. But, LASER liposuction, in the hands of experienced aesthetic plastic surgeons, may make even body areas previously recognized as stubborn more amenable to liposuction treatment.

Furthermore, areas of the body that typically have been managed with body contouring excisions may now be successfully treated with LASER assisted liposuction alone. In this manner, scarring and post operative healing can certainly be minimized. LASER assisted liposuction promises to safely expand body contouring to a larger patient population.

SmartLipo produces improved body contouring results in classic treatment areas like the thighs and hips. Its great strength, however, may lay in the treatment of the abdomen, back, arms, and even male breasts where traditional liposuction can fall short of "best results". SmartLipo can be particularly helpful, in facial and neck rejuvenation. It has even been successful in the management of excessive axillary sweating. Next month I will discuss each of these specific sites in further detail.

LASER assisted SmartLipo is the latest in liposuction technology. If you believe that you are a candidate for a SmartLipo treatment, consult with your board certified plastic surgeon. Visit our website at

Read "Laser Assisted 'Smart' Liposuction Part 2"