Does Liposuction or Smart Lipo burn the skin?

Doctor Answers 9

It's possible for liposuction to burn the skin

While non-laser liposuction does not generate any significant amount of heat, it is possible to damage the back of the skin enough to have skin burn type injuries.

With any type of laser liposuction, such smart liposuction, heat is generated from the laser fiber.

With these techniques, it is possible to cause burn injuries to the skin. I have seen one case of severe third-degree burns to the abdomen. Fortunately, these outcomes are very rare.

Any experienced surgeon should be able to avoid burn injuries unless grossly incompetent.

Certain patients may also be at higher risk for developing skin burns or skin injuries from liposuction. These include grossly obese people being treated aggressively or cigarette smokers.

VASER liposuction also carries the potential for skin damage if done incorrectly.

Best of luck,

Mats Hagstrom, M.D.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Skin burns from liposuction

Thank you for asking about your liposuction.

There are two ways the skin at the entry point of the cannula can be burned with liposuction -
  • friction, especially if a large cannula is used in a small  incision
  • heat, from laser or ultrasonic liposuction.
The laser and ultrasonic liposuction wands can also burn the skin in areas far from the incision.
Pulsatile, water jet and standard liiposuction do not cause these distant burns.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Hope you found this answer helpful. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews


There is a possibility of burning with SmartLipo or Laser Lipo, but you should not have that risk with traditional liposuction.  It is always best to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon in you area to see which type of surgery would be right for you. 

Kevin Rose, MD
Provo Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Types of Liposuction

Liposuction is a generic term used to describe removal of fat by suctioning.  There are several different ways to accomplish this.  Traditional tumescent liposuction, where small cannulas are inserted under the skin and used to remove the fat, will not burn your skin as there is no heat source or energy used to melt fat.  When a laser device such as a Smart Lipo machine is used, heat from the tip of the fiber is used to melt the fat first and then traditional liposuction cannulas are used to remove the melted fat.  If not properly used, any device that emits heat can certainly cause a skin burn.  Be sure to find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area that is experienced in that technique.

William L. Reno, III, MD
Hattiesburg Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Does Liposuction or Smart Lipo burn the skin

Thank you for your question. laser liposuction or ultrasound assisted liposuction will heat the the connective tissue below the skin.  If the tip come to close to the skin, it can result in a burn. This is very unusual and rarely occurs. Consult with a Board certified Plastic Surgeon. Best Wishes

Jeff Angobaldo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Does Liposuction or Smart Lipo burn the skin?

Suction assisted lipoplasty (SAL) does not generate energy that could burn the skin. It is a mechanical assisted procedure. Smart Lipo considered laser assisted lipoplasty (LAL) generates heat, as do other methods such as ultrasonic liposuction, this could burn the skin if the energy is applied close enough to the skin. Good luck, Dr PG

Jose Perez-Gurri, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 233 reviews

Can Liposuction Burn the Skin

In 9 years of doing liposuction of every type, I have never burned anyones skin or caused any skin deformity, irregularity or complication.  However, everyday in my practice I see complications from outside physicians who do not specialize in body contouring.  It is possible to get burns from energy based devices (laser, ultrasound) moreso than with traditional liposuction but is very rare with someone who specializes in this type of procedure and is an expert.  I suggest only going to the best surgeon and not compromising your care for cost or distance.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Does Liposuction or Smart Lipo burn the skin?

The heat from the laser has the potential to burn the skin.  I would search for the board certified plastic surgeon who you feel is most likely to give you the best results and who performs hundreds of these procedures each year. I would look at patient reviews as well as before and after photos on that surgeon's website.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Does #Liposuction or #SmartLipo burn the skin?

Traditional liposuction should never burn the skin because there is no heat involved.  That being said, if postoperative compression garments do not fit properly or are not put on properly, they can cause friction/rubbing and cause "rug burn" type injuries to the skin after surgery.  Properly fitting, properly worn garments should not cause this problem.  SmartLipo and VaserLipo use laser or ultrasound, respectively, to heat the tissue including the fat and sometimes the skin. This heating/vibration causes the fat to break down so it can be suctioned more effectively and when applied under the skin causes some degree of skin tightening.  Careful use of these devices with properly trained PLASTIC SURGEONS should not cause skin burns but inadvertent burns are a risk, albeit this risk is fairly low.  Make sure you consult with board certified/eligible plastic surgeons to assess you to determine the best surgical recommendation and feel free to ask them of their training on such devices.

Megan Jack, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 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.