Who are the typical candidates for Smart Lipo? Who are better candidates for traditional liposuction? If Smart Lipo has limitations to the amount of fat removal, then who gets this procedure and what is the most common body area that it is used on?
Are More People Satisfied with the Results of SmartLipo over Traditional Liposuction?
Doctor Answers (8)
Smartlipo vs traditional liposuction
Smart Lipo versus traditional tumescent liposuction
In head to head studies of laser assisted liposuction (such as Smart Lipo) versus traditional tumescent liposuction, the laser assisted liposuction only works if it is followed by traditional tumescent liposuction. I am not a big proponent of the use of lasers under the skin to "melt the fat". I recently saw a patient with significant scarring on the inner thighs after the use of a laser device. The laser had burned the underside of the skin resulting in scarring. I am not convinced that it helps to shrink the skin, and it definitely adds time, risk and cost to the procedure.
The best candidate for liposuction is someone who has exercise resistant fatty pockets, or genetic fatty tissue of the jaw and neck. However, liposuction can give excellent results for other individuals who simply have areas of excess fat. The most important aspect is to find an experienced physician, whether it is a board certified plastic surgeon, or a board certified dermatologist with good experience (remember tumescent liposuction was invented by a dermatologist, and ALL docs that do lipo now use the tumescent technique - whether the patient is under general anesthesia, or twilight anesthesia). Good luck.
Smart liposuction vs traditional liposuction
Liposuction is the removal of fat from different ares of the body. Traditional liposuction uses suction and the mechanical forces of movement of the cannula. Smart lipo user laser energy to melt the fat and then traditional liposuction is used to remove the melted fat and other remaining fat and fluid. Deciding which technique will give the best results depends on the location, amount of fat, skin quality and other factors. A board certified plastic surgeon who does both frequently should be able to advise. I have been performing smart lipo since it was introduced in or around 2008 and traditional liposuction even longer. They are both great techniques
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Different types of liposuction for different problems
I get ladies (and men) coming to see me every single week asking specifically for Smartlipo. They have read different websites and advertisements which claim that it is a "better" type of liposuction. They believe it is less invasive and thus a better procedure. They believe it will cause their skin to shrink. As a plastic surgeon who has used Smartlipo extensively I do not believe that is is any better than regular liposuction. In fact, I believe that ultrasound assisted liposuction is often an easier recovery. Each type of liposuction has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of smartlipo is a small incision and less bruising. I do not find it removes nearly as much fat so it only is good for very small areas. I do not find it shrinks the skin much. There is a risk of burning the skin by heating it up too much with the laser. Ultrasound liposuction works very well in the love handles or in the male chest. For people that have liposuction before it works extremely well. I believe the skin shrinks just as much with VASER as it does with smartlipo in my experience. Burns were a risk with early ultrasound machines but are only a very small risk now. Regular liposuction is still a good procedure but the type of vacuum machine being used makes a huge difference. New machines remove fat with good uniform suction versus old machines which can be less predictable. At one hospital I go to the machine is so old and worthless that I will not do liposuction cases there. Unfortunately surgeons often do not have control over the equipment at the hospital unless they own their own facility and make all of the equipment choices/purchases. At my own facility I have two different suction machines that deliver predictable uniform suction and this is something that I often have to explain to prospective patients who think the "hospital is safer" than an accredited surgeon's facility. Do your homework. Speak to a board certified plastic surgeon. Ask him what type of equipment is being used. Smartlipo has many different manufacturers and strengths. Is the ultrasound a Lysonix machine, a Vaser 1.0, or a Vaser 2.0? What type of "regular" liposuction machine is being used?
In my area there are several "non plastic surgeons" who offer smartlipo. They take weekend courses and extensively advertise it. They claim it shrinks the skin and you can avoid a tummy tuck. They do not have other procedures to offer and heavily push Smartlipo.
I use Smartlipo on very small areas such as the neck or the isolated inner thigh. It works well for a small touchup the size you can cover with your hands. Otherwise I do not find it works well enough for most people.
The best recommendation is to go see multiple real plastic surgeons for consults who use all of the equipment and have all of the different machines. They can't give you an honest recommendation if they have no experience with the technology. Good luck!
Traditional vs Smart lipo, which is better?
Traditional liposuction was introduced to the US in the early 1980's. The liposuction procedure went through a significant evolution through the years and now we get better results. The most important innovation was the introduction of the tumescent solution over the dry technique. This made the operation bloodless, more fat could be removed in a safe manner. In the 1990's external and internal ultrasound was introduced followed by power assist, laser lipo (Smartlipo, Cool lipo, Lipolyte,etc.) and Tickle lipo. I said this before and I will say it again: these are tools which help the surgeon refine the results. These are not magic wands, and in the untrained or wrong hands they can do more damage than good. The most important instrument is between the plastic surgeon's ears; his/her brain. This is the "smart lipo" you should be looking for!
Not so smart lipo
there is no machine that can take the place of good surgical judgement. in a survey of plstic surgeons, the vast majority agreed smart lipo is salesmanship. choose the surgeon, not the machine. good luck
Smart lipo is a marketing idea. Stick with tumescent liposuction.
Unfortunately, 80% of what you see about plastic surgery is salesmanship, and 20% is science. There is twenty years of experience with "traditional" liposuction. It is safe and it works. The surgeon determines the quality of the result.
Traditional liposuction gives best results in most patients
Traditional liposuction will remove more fat in general than Smart lipo and yield better results. Smart lipo has a role in very thin patients who have a small localized area of fat to be removed. Smart lipo has not been studied as long as traditional liposuction but has limited indications. Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon for more information on this subject before having any procedures performed.