Dr Recommends Regular Lipo with Smart Lipo as well, Is This Normal?

Hi, the dr I'm considering going to recommends traditional lipo AND smart/laser lipo. I don't have much fat, but enough for lipo...but I'm wondering if I would even need the smart/laser lipo on top of that. It's an extra $600 with the laser. What do you think? Do most drs do both these days? Did you have both?

Doctor Answers 10

What of Smart Lipo

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As a plastic surgeon that has been performing liposuction for roughly 20 years, I have watched as new technologies appear on the scene. Many have not lived up to their billing. I was (rightly), initially skeptical of any improvements that either Laser or Vaser could add to my trusty PAL system. Initially both devices were less than ideal. The Lasers were under powered, but with several generations of improvements in the safety and efficacy, I purchased the latest Smart-Lipo Triplex system. It is ideal in situations like yours where there is not a lot of fat. Especially, due to the ability to get superficial safely without risking injuring the skin, it is more effective in skin tightening in previously difficult to treat areas. There are safety attachments that make it virtually impossible to burn the skin and like any treatment, when used by experienced plastic surgeons, is safe without the risk of scarring and reduces potential for irregularity. I have become an enthusiastic provider of this system and recommend it to you if your plastic surgeon recommends it. While it is more expensive, it offers many advantages over traditional liposuction, particularly in the thin patient where there is more risks of unevenness. Make sure that your doctor is a board certified plastic surgeon with good results and experience and with good artistic sensibilities.  

"Regular" Lipo and Smart Lipo combination

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For the most part, all laser assisted liposuction procedures (Smart lipo being one of them) are done in association with traditional tumescent liposuction. The area is treated with tumescent anesthesia, the laser is inserted to heat up/melt the fatty tissue, and then liposuction is done to suck the fat out.

The original studies that were done on these lasers showed very little change in fat volume when done alone.

Furthermore, there is very little evidence that invasive laser devices really improve the outcomes of liposuction. Some suggest that there may be a little bit quicker healing and possibly a bit of skin tightening.

However, the lasers do increase the expense of the procedure, and I have personally seen some pretty bad burns and scarring from patients who have come to me after they had laser lipo somewhere else.

It is very important that you go to a surgeon that is experienced and that  you feel comfortable with. Hope this helps.

SmartLipo or Traditional Lipo?

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Thanks for asking this question.  In short, your final results will not be affected by which type of liposuction is performed, and this is an important point.  What the use of the laser adds in my experience is a somewhat easier recovery than my traditional patients.  I do a lot of both types, so I speak from experience.  I typically don't charge extra for the use of the laser, however.  Best wishes!

Brian Howard, MD (retired)
Alpharetta Plastic Surgeon

Laser liposuction

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The liposuction procedure is most dependent on the skill of the surgeon rather than the type of liposuction performed.  Doctors often try to make themselves stand out from their peers by buying new technology which may or may not be better than old technology.  In this case, I would say that "most drs" do not use laser liposuction "these days" and that it is very likely that you can get excellent results with many different modalities, including plain old fashioned liposuction alone.  I recommend checking with a few plastic surgeons in your area and see what they say- go with the one you feel most comfortable with as far as personality, training, safety, and before/after photos... not the one with the neatest newest gadget.

Regular or Smart Lipo or both?

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Thank you for your question about liposuction and smart/laser liposuction.

This information may help:

  • Standard liposuction, often with microaire equipment gives great results.
  • Laser lipo makes liposuction an expensive two-step process: the costly laser machine to 'melt' fat, standard liposuction to remove it.
  • Like most experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, I recommend standard liposuction for most people but do laser lipo on request.
  • Hope this helps! Best wishes.


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if youre a good candidate for traditional liposuction there is no need to get SmartLipo. I have yet to see any good outcome from SmartLipo but I have corrected a lot of complications and post-liposuction defects from SmartLipo. choose your doctor wisely

Misbah Khan MD, FAAD, FACMS
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Using lasers during liposuction is more of a marketing gimmick rather than any true benefit in many cases.

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Most docs who specialize in liposuction stay away from laser lipos since the high risks of burns and irregularities and scarring is not worth it but it is a great marketing gimmick.  Patients love to hear the term "laser" lipo when they probably should be avoiding it at all costs if they want great results.  It is used as a marketing gimmick to get patients to sign up for lipo since it is now cheaper because of less than desirable results. Some docs do regular lipo but pull out the laser for a short time to say it is laser lipo. That way the patient gets what they asked for but unfortunately they also are getting what they paid for- cheap results. To be fair, there are docs who can do a decent job of laser lipo if they do enough of it but that is not the norm. Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Laser lipo

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I have not been overly impressed with the laser lipo you most likely could benefit from just traditional lipo.  

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Laser lipo may not be worth extra expense

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There is so much hype about laser lipo as opposed to "regular" lipo that it is hard to know what to believe. Bottom line is that for most patients the results will be similar with or without the laser, anesthesia can be done the same way, and using the laser may increase the risk of complications such as burns and scarring.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Laser Liposuction and Conventional Liposuction

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    I have done both, but the results are equivocal.  More important than type of liposuction is that the fat is removed by an expert.  Find the board certified plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of liposuction procedures each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

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.