There’s a reason that liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world: it works. Not just in the physical sense, either—most people who undergo liposuction emerge from the experience more satisfied with and confident about their body.
With all of the liposuction techniques out there, how do you pick the best one?
A lot of doctors out there right now are pushing hard for SmartLipo (also known as “laser lipolysis”) as the most appealing option, claiming that traditional liposuction just doesn’t cut it anymore in light of the new technologies that are available. But are they right?
Continue Reading to find out which is better, SmartLipo or traditional lipo!
The Benefits of SmartLipo
Here’s what SmartLipo proponents have to say about it: It’s less invasive. No general anesthesia is required (only local anesthesia). There’s less bleeding, swelling, and bruising involved. Lasers stimulate collagen production, which causes the skin to tighten more following the procedure. Recovery is faster.
The Problems with SmartLipo
SmartLipo sounds good right? It’s supposed to. Unfortunately, however, that’s not the whole story. I’ll get to why in a minute; but first, it’s important to understand that the primary difference between SmartLipo and traditional lipo is that SmartLipo adds an extra step at the beginning of the procedure.
Traditional liposuction involves making an incision in the skin, inserting a cannula (a thin, hollow tube) under the skin, and suctioning out the fat being targeted. SmartLipo requires these steps, too—but before doing the suctioning, your doctor uses a high-energy laser to liquefy the fat cells being targeted.
The problem with using lasers, of course, is that they’re lasers—beams of intense energy—and they work by heating your fat cells up so much that they essentially dissolve. If the fat overheats, it burns you. In the hands of a highly experienced plastic surgeon, the risk is lower (though still present), but in the hands of someone who isn’t qualified to perform liposuction, the likelihood of experiencing burns can be significantly higher.
This is one of the biggest issues with SmartLipo: doctors who have absolutely formal surgical training in plastic surgery are using the device and claiming that they’re qualified to do so. Not only does this put you at risk for burns, it increases the possibility that other complications—infection, bleeding, scarring, skin contour irregularities, asymmetry, seromas, and hematomas—will crop up. These risks exist with a skilled surgeon as well, though certainly to a lesser degree.
The Bottom Line about SmartLipo
At the end of the day, the real deciding factor is this: for all the claims that it’s the superior choice, SmartLipo has not been proven to have better results than traditional liposuction. As long as you find a qualified plastic surgeon to perform the procedure, you’re probably no worse off choosing one or the other; but SmartLipo is often far more expensive than traditional lipo. There’s nothing wrong with innovation, but there’s a difference between innovation and gimmicks. So far, SmartLipo hasn’t proven itself to be anything more than just that—a gimmick. And why pay more for that?
Dr. Donald Brown
San Francisco, CA