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Smart Liposuction... is it really any more intelligent?

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

At first glance smart liposuction looks like an award title you may receive for choosing to have liposuction. "And the smartest liposuction patient award goes to..."


That isn't what we're talking about here.

This type of liposuction refers to the specific technique – which the inventors feel is a vast improvement over conventional liposuction; a smarter solution if you would.

Let's discover together if they named the technique correctly, or is it just another new-fangled smoke and mirrors technique that doesn't accomplish anything different...

What is smart lipo?

Before we determine whether or not smart lipo offers anything different we must know what it does.

First of all, Smartlipo™ is a trademarked product developed and manufactured by Cynosure® a company specializing in a creating a broad array of light-based medical treatment systems. However, this specific device isn't the only one in its category so we will talk more broadly about the term... not just about this specific device.

Smart liposuction is laser-assisted, micro liposuction.

What is that you say?...

Well, the surgery starts off very much like conventional liposuction. The treatment area is prepped for surgery, and incisions are made into the skin. A numbing solution is injected into those cuts to provide pain relief and help mobilize superficial fat.

This first part is similar for both kinds of surgery.

After the application of numbing solution the two techniques take slight different paths. In smart lipo a laser is used throughout the treatment area to help essentially "melt" and smooth the targeted fat. Once that is accomplished – a gentle suction device (called a "cannula") helps to remove the fluid and liquefied fat out of the area.

The conventional technique doesn't have the laser component.

What are the distinct benefits?

Some of the more touted benefits of smart liposuction include (but are not limited to):

  1. Skin tightening.
  2. Less bruising and bleeding during surgery.
  3. Shorter recovery times.
  4. Works for more delicate areas of the face, neck and upper arms.

What are its limitations and risks?

The skin tightening that smart lipo can achieve does have its limits.

For instance, if you are someone who has lost a great deal of weight and as a result has moderate to severe hanging skin... this procedure is not going to help you contract that much skin. On the other hand if you are someone with a little extra skin and fat under the chin and would like an improvement – you are a better match for the technique.

Also, it is important to understand that – because this is surgery there will some risks involved. Let's talk about just a few.

  1. Infection.
  2. Swelling.
  3. Blood clotting, or fat clotting.
  4. Laser burn or irritation.
  5. Puncture wounds from the surgical instruments.
  6. Numbing solution toxicity.
  7. Under- or over-correction (odd looking results).

How does it compare to traditional lipo?

There is one distinct difference that stands out when comparing laser-assisted liposuction to conventional liposuction alone...

And that is skin-contraction.

Because of this benefit, it is important to understand that the two types of liposuction address different populations of folks. If you are someone who needs skin contraction and tightening then conventional liposuction will not help you. Smart liposuction works really well for older, peri- and post-menopausal women who have skin that is losing its elasticity.

In fact, traditional lipo may make your hanging skin worse.

The Bottom-Line:

Smart liposuction offers some benefits that liposuction surgery alone can't.

But there are also some added risks when you add the laser element (i.e. laser burns and irritation). Weighing the added benefits against the risk is your job as an educated patient. Take your time researching.

And try to operate – as much as possible – from a sense of calm and rationality.

Watch an informative video..

Dr. Bill Johnson in Texas features Smart Liposuction.

Smart Liposuction References:

  • Burke, Robert H. "Hands on with the SmartLipo laser: many techniques applicable to liposculpture and liposuction also apply to laser lipolysis." Plastic Surgery Products. vol. 19.3 (Mar 2009): 18(3). Gale Group (May 2011).

  • Donley-Hayes, Karen. "Laser facelift: laser-lipo combo technique – tightens with reproducible results." Cosmetic Surgery Times. vol. 12.13(Apr 2009): 22(2). Gale (Jan 2011).

  • Weiss, Robert A. "Laser lipolysis: the future of liposuction." Skin and Allergy News. vol. 39.5 (2008): 17. General One File. (Nov 30 2009).

  • Ault, Alicia. "Body-contouring laser approved." Skin & Allergy News. vol. 41.11 (2010): 50. General OneFile (26 June 2011).

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