SmartLipo vs. Lipo; What is Recommended?

I am stuck on smart lipo or traditional. I want the best results and alot of fat taken out. I am 5'1 and 148lbs. I am afriad of being put to sleep for the procedure. I was told that you can take more fat with traditional? Also, I want fast healing because I am going to Punta Cana July 4. Is it true that the fat can come back in the same area? Which do you think I should have? Thank you

Doctor Answers 15

Smart lipo or traditional lipo?

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Like most things, the most important factors relating to the result is the skill and experience of the person performing the procedure. In art it isn't the paint or paint-brush, it's the skill of the artist. In a recent article in the Dermatologic Surgery Journal the various types of liposuction were compared on every level and the traditional lipo was superior.

Adding an ultrasound or laser adds to the complications. It is not necessary to heat or burn the tissue prior to liposuction. In addition, more fat can be removed with traditional lipo per time frame and it is faster. I have seen no difference in skin retraction or recovery with energy-type lipo and traditional lipo.

Any of the liposuction techniques can be performed under local anesthesia if true tumescent liposuction guide-lines are followed. Large volume liposuction (over 4 liters) or liposuction of multiple areas is performed with more patient comfort with general anesthesia, however.

Regarding recovery from liposuction, recovery time can be shortened by using small cannulas (3 mm or less) for the procedure, using small incisions, and leaving the incisions open so the tumescent fluid can leak out onto absorbant pads. This reduces the swelling and bruising. A compression garment should also be worn for several days post-op.

These mentioned factors are more important than the "paint-brush and paint." Removing diet-resistant fat can be a very daunting task with either dieting or exercising. This is where liposuciton shines, and most people are elated with the results.

Fat can and will return anywhere if you gain weight. Eat healthfully and exercise, and you won't have to worry about it. Fat will have less of a tendency to return to the area liposuctioned, however.

Another word of advice--be patient. Some swelling persists for months post-operatively, but you should be ready for your trip on July 4. Good luck.

Smart Lipo vs. Traditional Lipo

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The best result for large volume fat removal is traditional liposuction.  Smart Lipo involves the use of a  laser and is good for small volume fat removal. Smart LIpo is slow and therefore makes it difficult to remove large volumes of fat in a reasonable amount of time. Skin contraction may be accomplished with the Smart Lipo Laser or a Vaser (ultrasonic liposuction).

Any type of liposuction may be performed without general anesthesia.  However, to remove large fat volumes it is a more uncomfortable and lengthier procedure, so most patients prefer general anesthesia which is very safe when given by a board certified anesthesiologist.  

I would recommend traditional liposuction and Vaser liposuction for skin contraction.  The surgery should be performed by May 1 to get you in shape for your Mexican vacation, and a post-operative compression garment should be worn for four to six weeks after the liposuction surgery.

Rondi Kathleen Walker, MD
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon

SmartLipo vs Traditional Liposuction

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As a general rule, one can typically can take out more fat with traditional liposuction but the quality of the result is also very much determined by how well your skin retracts. If your skin is somewhat loose then traditional liposuction does not give great results, and can even look worse when larger volumes are removed. This is where SmartLipo has it's greatest benefit in that it produces better skin tighting. In a situation such as yours I would use an ultrasonic technique called VASER to remove more volume in the deeper layers, and use SmartLipo laser liposuction superficially to get better skin tightening. Using this approach you maximize the specific benefits of each technology.

Larger volumes can be removed with SmartLipo but it is slow and will take a long time. If you want to have a larger volume change then you will only be comfortable if you are asleep - even with SmartLipo. There is not any oily fluid left behind if you aspirate after using the laser.

Give yourself at least 6 weeks to recover before going on your trip and recognize that there will still be some swelling at that time. It takes at least 4-6 weeks for the skin tightening benefit of SmartLipo to begin to occur. Final results are not seen for at least 3 mos with any type of liposuction.

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SmartLipo vs Other Lipo: it doesn't matter

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If you want the best liposuction results, you should be looking for the best surgeon, not for a particular machine.  There is no scientific study out there that I am aware of that shows SmartLipo to be superior to any other lipo in terms of results.

In the hands of a bad surgeon even the best tool will fail to give you what you want.  (not to imply that SmartLipo is superior... the only thing that is smart about smartlipo is its name)



Martin Jugenburg, MD

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 517 reviews

Smart lipo or regular lipo

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Have regular liposuction 6 weeks before going on vacation.

Here's what you need to know.

  • liposuction will change contour. If you do not eat to your new shape, the fat will come back, usually somewhere higher on the body. It can come back in the same area if enough fat cells remain there.
  • you should wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks afterwards. 
  • Eating less and getting more exercise are the key to a good result after liposuction
  • laser liposuction works nicely on small areas where skin shrinkage is needed.

Best wishes!

Liposuction goals

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You have mentioned two goals which could be contradictory, depending on when you have the procedure. Tumescent liposuction will produce an optimal result in terms of fat removal. Anesthesia is safe and necessary when performing a large liposuction in terms of surgical control. So long asyou have the procedure relatively soon, there should be no problem in healing by the time of your planned vacation but if you did not intend to have the lipo until June, then this would be a consideration.

Smart versus traditional

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for those of us who started right out with the Smartlipo And really understood it It was always a combination of the 2. The laser is an adjunct to the regular suction method. if you are taking out of any kind of volume you always use a traditional methods after the laser otherwise you would leave a large pool of melted oil which will take a very long time to heal.

Sherwood Baxt, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon

SmartLipo vs. Lipo

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You answered the question in your goals.  For the best results for alot of fat removal, then traditional liposuction is the preferred choice.  Smartlipo is best for a small, localized area.  If you have the procedure fairly soon you should be able to be sufficiently healed by July 4.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

The results of lipo have everything to do with the surgeon and nothing to do with the technology

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Smart lipo requires traditional lipo at the same time. Smart lipo procedures have three stages: numbing of the treatment site, lasering of the treatment site in the superficial fat near the skin, and liposuction of the lasered fat and the deeper fat in the treatment site which hasn't been lasered. So why bother lasering the fat in the first place? Some people with excess skin may experience faster shrinking of their skin as a result of laser-mediated shrinkage of the collagen in the deeper skin layers. However, that's a claim that is constantly being debated since the skin will shrink on it's own anyway.The healing is just as fast whether or not a laser is used.

Type of liposuction

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It sounds to me, with your height and weight, that you are looking to liposuction for weight loss.  If this is true, you are making a mistake will likely end up disappointed. 

Liposuction removes only a few pounds here and there, in areas unresponsive to weight loss. If you have lipo for weight loss, you will only have maybe 10 or 12 pounds removed.  And if you don't have a healthy diet and exercise routine, you will gain that 10 or 12 pounds back and it will likely end up someplace that you do not want it. 

I am a little surprised that none of the other doctors have told you this.  Maybe I'm the only one who has learned this (the hard way) over the years. 

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 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.