Should I Go for Smart Lipo or Traditional Liposuction?

I am 32 years old and my weight is 132lb. I am exercising regularly and trying to watch what I eat. With all that however, I can not get rid of my belly. Until I was 23 years old, I was fat and lost 50 lbs, but no matter what I did, I could not get rid of my belly. Thus, I decided to go for Lipo. I am not sure which one I should go with. Should it be Smart Lipo or a regular one? Thanks a lot.

Doctor Answers 24

Choose the surgeon for liposuction, not the equipment

Hi Mariniya

The skill and training of the surgeon is far more important than the equipment or technique used for the procedure. An experienced, well-trained surgeon can inform you of the anticipated changes with liposuction or whether liposuction should be performed at all. In many cases, the preferred treatment in the abdominal area is a tummy tuck. To obtain this information I would recommend a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Good luck in New York.

Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Whatever method you choose, it is safer under local anesthesia

I prefer tumescent technique liposuction with the micro canulas under local anesthesia. It is the safest and I feel gives the best results although it is more expensive because of the extra time and work involved. Be sure to feel comfortable with whoever you choose as your doc and that he has years of experience in liposuctions and answers all your questions about all the different techniques available now. Expect to pay about $5000 - 6000 for the tummy but it is so worth it.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Either Lipo method should work, but research your options

It sounds like you are doing all the right things to control your weight with diet and exercise, so your motivation for Lipo to deal with an area that doesn't respond is good. There is a lot of debate about whether Smart Lipo or any similar technique that uses a laser has any real advantages over traditional Lipo. A lot of the claims made about it, like less invasive or safer, are completely unproven and frankly, don't make any sense.

A potential concern is whether the skin in the abdominal area is loose after your weight loss. If that is the case, no version of lipo--with or without lasers--is going to deliver a completely satisfactory result. If you have any questions about that I would suggest seeing a board-certified plastic surgeon for an opinion about a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). A lot of smart lipo practitioners don't have experience with other options that might better meet your needs, so definitely research your options.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Not a question of Smart Lipo vs. traditional Lipo

Make sure your surgeon assesses your anatomy carefully, as well as understands the goal of surgery. Do not focus on whether he is using Smart Lipo or traditional lipo, but on what he thinks your anatomy requires in order to give you what you desire. Chances are with the weight loss you describe, you might benefit from a type of Abdominoplasty since your skin elasticity is undoubtedly affected by your significant weight gain and loss.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Smart Lipo or traditional Liposuction

The choice depends on several factors which include:

How big of an area?

How loose is your skin?

For small areas the size of 1-4 average palms (hands), Smart Lipo is a viable option, but I personally do not feel that it really has shown any true benefits over conventional liposuction at this time. It takes more time and generally costs more to treat similar areas. I liken this to painting a wall with a fine brush (could take you hours/days) versus using a paint roller.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Smart vs. Traditional Liposuction

I believe that the best bet is Smart Lipo. This is almost always performed under only local anesthesia, which reduces lots of risk. Smart Lipo generally refers to the "tumescent" technique, which involves numbing the area with normal saline, lidocaine, and epinephrine, then using micro-cannulas to remove the fat. This technique minimizes bleeding, risk of infection, and shortens recovery. 

Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Lipo on abdomen

I always tell patients it is not the wand but the magician waving the wand that makes all the difference!

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Your surgeon will make difference, not the equipment

Both are accepted techniques. Qualified and experienced surgeons can make a good result. The instrument cannot guarantee the result by itself, so make sure that your surgeon is comfortable with the equipment to use.

M. Ryan Khosravi, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Traditional Liposuction can produce great results in a well-trained surgeon

Liposuction is a wonderful method used in body contouring. Traditional liposuction with a well trained surgeon can produce excellent results for the right candidate. Smart lipo is okay but in my opinion it does not produce superior results, it adds a step to liposuction and adds more time to the overall procedure. It is best to discuss the pros and cons with your surgeon and to see which method has produced consistently excellent results for him or her.

Enjoy your new tummy.

Any liposuction technique can give a good results in qualified hands

I've used SmartLipo, SlimLipo, and VaserLipo, and have obtained good results with all three. I don't know if one is better in terms of smoothness, skin tightening, bruising, or speed of recovery. Consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon. And remember, if you have significant loose skin of the abdomen (as might be the case after weight loss), no liposuction technique will produce a good result, and could make things worse with regard to skin irregularities.

Michael D. Yates, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.