Are There Different Types and Quality of Smartlipo Laser Machines?

I want to have Smartlipo with aspiration on my abs and flanks: Are there different types of laser used for Smartlipo, and if so is there a difference between them and are some more effective than others?

i.e. which brand of laser machine and strength of laser produces the best results for abs & flanks not taking into account he skill of the surgeon?

Doctor Answers 4

SmartLipo. Why?

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Your question states that you want to have SmartLipo on your abs and flanks. Presumably you are intending to have fat removed from the subcutaneous tissues of the abdomen and flanks, for which SmartLipo is but one technique.

I agree with others that have made the point that the surgeon at the end of the liposuction cannula is far more important than the energy or tip at the tip of the cannula. When was the last time you asked your tailor or mechanic to use a specific brand or type of machine or tool?

SmartLipo is but a tool to achieve an end, and one that is debated within plastic surgery as to its merits. Some of us plastic surgeons remain open-minded, yet skeptical enough to want to see real data first. Particularly in the case of SmartLipo, where energy at the tip of the device is well-known to have significant potential for burns where non-energy based techniques do not have this risk.

Hope this helps.

Nick Slenkovich MD, FACS

There are different types and quality of laser Liposuction Machines

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You have 2 variables to deal with: The Doctor and the Machine.

The doctor: investigate what type of doctor this is performing the procedure, their experience not only in this technique but also in their Liposuction training .

Ther are several laser devices on the market. The physics of different wavelengths and biology of how they interact with the tissue are both beyond what we would expect a patient to know.

SmartLipo and MPX and trade names of the Cynosure Corporation. These are the original devices and probably have the most safety mechanisms built in as well. Other companys make lsers for fat, but your doctor should be comfortable with their own technology and ask them why they feel that the machine they own is the best choice for them.

Also, be aware of the latest teminaology which is SmartLipo TPX, which is the newest 3 wavelength machine.

Several SmartLipo Options

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There are currently three types of SmartLipo  devices on the market in the United States.  The original SmartLipo was limited to a single wavelength which provided heat to melt the fat prior to being removed through liposuction.  The second generation, SmartLipo MPX, was a dual wavelength device with added power and safety features built in to reduce unintentional overheating of the tissue.  The latest device, SmartLipo Triplex, was released in November of 2009.  It combines the earlier technology with an additional wavelength and includes: 1440 nm which liquefies fat (40 times more affinity to fat  than other laser on the market ) by what is called the photo-acoustic effect (without heat ). The second is 1320 nm which is primarily absorbed by water and is used to heat the dermal collagen for better skin tightening. The third wavelength is 1640 nm and is mostly for hemostasis ( to seal the blood vessels ) so there is minimal bleeding and bruising afterward. The SmartLipo Triplex is much more powerful devise and is most likely to be found in the office of board certified plastic surgeon who has more surgical training and experience.  In the right hands, the device offers superior results and minimal risks to the patient. 

I agree with many surgeons that say it is the surgeon who is the most important factor in the outcome of liposuction. However, many surgeons do not have the knowledge or experience with much of the newer technology, and therefore may not be providing the best advice.  Although the end result may be similar with a good plastic surgeon, I can tell you from my experience using traditional tumescent liposuction, early generation SmartLipo and the SmartLipo Triplex, that for the patient, their experience and recovery is significantly different using the SmartLipo Triplex. Look for a board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in liposuction and knowledge of newer technology and devices.

Steven L. Ringler, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

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It is impossible to not take into account the skill of the surgeon.

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Asking which machine is best for this is like asking which Ferrari is best in the hands of an eight year old. Even the best machine can lead to absolutely disastrous consequences if placed in the hands of an unskilled and unworthy physician.

The problem even becomes more compounded when you put a powerful laser in the hands of a newly minted 'cosmetic surgeon' whose only qualifications were the ability to pay the requisite money to purchase it.

To answer your question, however, there are more powerful lasers made by the company that makes SmartLipo. The problem is that the possible complications only get more concerning as the power of the machine goes up. Additionally, the rewards don't generally improve much as the power goes up, because the thing that aspirates the fat isn't the laser, but the method being used to remove the fat and the skill/attention of the surgeon.

You need to be focusing on what method and training the surgeon has as that is going to be the thing that will determine if your procedure is successful, NOT the laser! Additionally, you should be looking for someone who performs tumescent liposuction as that is very important and allows for the least amount of risk with the greatest amount of benefit. Good luck!

Joel Schlessinger, MD
Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.