What is Smart Lipo Laser?

Can someone explain what is Smart Lipo? how is smartlipo different from normal liposuction surgery?

Doctor Answers 50

Now's here the other viewpoint on laser liposuction

I don't care for SmartLipo or laser lipolysis. I don't think it has any advantages over carefully performed liposculpture with the PALS (power assisted liposculpture) technique. It is advertised as "new liposuction" with unsubstantiated claims that it is superior to conventional liposuction.

I have not seen one single solid study done in this country showing it is superior to conventional liposuction and has a lower complication rate. And it has dangers that are profound, unique to the laser and not found in conventional liposuction or PALS.

Any small liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia with satisfactory patient comfort, so no advantage there. With laser lipo techniques, Laser energy is applied below the skin to melt fat. Everybody and their sister from every possible specialty is taking a course and then doing the laser lipo because it is "New" "Revolutionary" and patients who don't know better flock like moths to the light to seek wonder treatments.

However laser can also melt nerve sheaths, made of sphingomyelin, a fatty compound. What are the long term effects on nerves? We now know know about the chronic pain disasters from ultrasound liposuction when the energy is applied for too long in one spot. Laser can burn the subdermal plexus, literally the blood supply to the skin. This can burn the skin, change its texture/color or make a hole.

Are you better off having "laser liposuction" from somebody who took the course last weekend, or go to a board certified plastic surgeon with 20 years experience with various liposuction techniques? You decide that one.

I have personally seen a patient on whom laser lipolysis was performed in the submental area with a full thickness burn to her face along the jawline. She will have a scar for life on her face. This would never have happened from submental liposuction under local anesthesia without the laser. I have seen another patient with terrible irregularities in the upper abdomen from laser lipolysis. So where is the greater safety profile? I know this will be an unpopular post, but I feel it my duty to give the other side to this marketing juggernaut.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

What is SmartLipo?

SmartLipo is a machine that has a laser to melt the fat. But that isn't the entire picture.

While I perform the SmartLipo procedure, the fat has to be suctioned out in addition to the fat melting part. The devil is in the details here - if the surgeon that is doing the liposuction doesn't do a good job getting the patient numbed up or doesn't do a good job getting the fat out, you can end up with a mess on your hands.

While I am very pleased with my laser and feel that the results are good, it is very possible to go to someone who owns a SmartLipo laser and not have a very good result. Check the credentials of the surgeon!

What I have seen in looking at this is that there are quite a few people doing this procedure who have absolutely no experience in the actual techniques of performing liposuction and will probably do a very poor job of the procedure.

The technique best served to accompany SmartLipo is tumescent liposuction and that will result in the best results, since the fat will be safer for the laser to heat once the tumescent fluid is added.

Basically, there are many other things to consider once you look at having SmartLipo done, so do your homework prior to going to a clinic. If all that is done, then your procedure will hopefully live up to your expectations!

Joel Schlessinger, MD
Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

What is Smart Lipo?

The explosion in medical aesthetic technology has resulted in a market that is literally flooded with new products, devices and procedures, like Smart Lipo, all claiming to be the ‘latest and greatest’ or the ‘next big thing’. A great deal of dedication (and caution!) is required to sort through all of the new (and often not-so-new) technology which is marketed simultaneously to aesthetic professionals and to the public.

I have not seen a single study that shows any advantage of Smart Lipo to traditional (tumescent) liposuction. But, there may be increased risk of complications, particularly since it seems this device is used by many physicians with absolutely no formal surgical training who and are just entering the world of aethetic medicine.

In my practice I use Power assisted liposuction and Vaser. These procedures are performed with tumescent liposuction. Also I ma please with both of these tolls, the training of the physician is far more important that the provedure being used.

Liposuction is the most commonly performed surgical procedure each year in the United States. Surprisingly, the majority of physicians performing liposuction in the United States are not plastic surgeons; in fact, many do not have any formal surgical training whatsoever. It seems hard to believe, but many physicians performing liposuction or Smart Lipo have had no more training in liposuction than a 'weekend course'.

I fear that some practitioners, and now consumers view liposuction as a 'simple' surgery, since it does not involve making large incisions, and it requires little, if any, suturing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Liposuction, in my mind, is a very challenging operation that requires careful planning and preparation, and a great deal of care and finesse when it is actually performed. It requires a three-dimensional understanding of the layers of human anatomy, an understanding that is second nature to a surgeon alone.

I think that it is often an inadequate understanding of anatomy (and, perhaps, of the body's response to surgery) which leads to the poor results in liposuction and body contouring that unfortunately are so often seen.

Although many aesthetic cosmetic surgery procedures are not performed in hospital operating rooms, the fact that a hospital has granted a surgeon privileges for a given procedure ensures that the surgeon has met an accepted standard of competence. It also means that your surgeon will be able to take care of you at a hospital should any complications from cosmetic surgery arise.

If you are planning to have any type of cosmetic surgery performed, you should do your due diligence to determine if your surgeon has the appropriate credentials and experience.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

What is Smart Lipo?

The only SmartLipo I would consider as representative of what SmartLipo can do in 2013 is the SmartlipoTriplex.  This machine controls the heat delivered under the skin, has a safety cut-off that prevents temperatures that could burn the skin, and has a 1440 wavelength that is a multiple more specific for fat melting than the previous 1064 and 1320. It is faster, goes through tissue in a non-traumatic way with a thin laser cannula, and can soften and break down fibrous or scarred fatty tissue very effectively.

In addition, unlike regular liposuction, and better than vaser ultrasonic liposuction, it tightens the skin. You don't get this effect unless you specifically heat the undersurface of the skin to 42-45 degrees Centigrade, but if you do, the skin objectively shrinks. This is great for the abdomen and upper arms, where loose skin after liposuction detracts from the result.

The disadvantage is that the technology is quite expensive.  I use both Vaser ultrasonic and Smartlipo Triplex.  I use the Vaser for large volume procedures in the surgery center, and the Smartlipo Triplex for office operating room procedures, completely under tumescent local anesthetic.

Patients come and go without ever being under general anesthesia. The recovery is rapid. There is going to be a tissue recovery phase that takes about the same time, several weeks to months, for any method.  When specific skin tightening with the application of heat is done with Smartlipo Triplex, this phase is prolonged.  The skin can get quite firm for several months, and there can be some lumpiness. This resolves and you get the benefit of skin tightening.

Ladies who have a lot of bulky abdominal fat and loose skin, but who do not want a tummy tuck, can have Smartlipo Triplex and have a nice result, with skin shrinkage. It's not a tummy tuck, but the fat is removed and a nice improvement is achieved without hanging skin in selected patients.

Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Smartlipo is laser-assisted liposuction

Smartlipo is laser-assisted liposuction. The newest version is Smartlipo MPX. This machine actually has two lasers build in. One is better for melting fat and the other is best for tightening the skin.

In most cases, the procedure can be performed while you are awake. The laser portion of the procedure is performed first which melts the fat. The suction portion is then performed to remove the melted fat.

Smartlipo is usually best for small areas. If you are looking for total body liposuction or for large areas, then it is best that we perform traditional liposuction under general anesthesia. I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

SmartLipo is still a surgical procedure

SmartLipo uses a laser to help melt the fat and tighten the skin. Like traditional tumescent liposuction, local anesthesia fluid is first injected. This makes the area numb during the procedure, and makes suctioning of the fat easier. This may be supplemented with sedation anesthesia if the patient desires, depending on the extent of areas being treated.

Also, like traditional liposuction, small incisions are used and the fat is suctioned using a small tube or cannula.

With SmartLipo, an additional step is used, where a laser is used to treat the fat and overlying skin, resulting in some melting of the fat (which makes the suctioning of the fat easier), and increased tightening of the overlying skin.

SmartLipo is just another tool that the surgeon can use to facilitate liposuction, and has the added benefit of getting more skin tightening than traditional liposuction.

SmartLipo, like traditional liposuction, is a surgical procedure, which should be performed by a surgeon with extensive training and experience with liposuction, and not by just any doctor who has taken a weekend course in liposuction.

Arnold S. Breitbart, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

The Newest of Smart Lipo -- Smart Lipo MPX

Smart Lipo is Laser-Assisted Lipolysis. What this means is the device actually melts or dissolves fat cells. This is done through a very small fiberoptic laser. Smart Lipo can be performed by itself or in combination with traditional liposuction to maximize the amount of fat that is removed, especially from difficult areas such as male chest/breasts, love handles, upper back. Additionally, the laser provides a method for tightening loose skin. This can also be accomplished with traditional liposuciton, however the laser provides an advantage over traditional techniques.

Smart lipo now has a newer generation device...Smart Lipo MPX. This is now 2 lasers in one, many times more powerful, faster and provides better skin tightening. This machine combines the original 1064nm laser for fat melting with a 1320nm also for melting fat and for heating collagen in the skin to maximize skin tightening. This NEW device is leagues superior to the older device both for melting fat and for tightening skin.

I have found that in most cases using the combination of Smart Lipo plus traditional liposuction provides the best body sculpting. Smart Lipo, however can be used alone for smaller areas or in areas where more rapid healing is a priority.

Edgar Franklin Fincher, MD, PhD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Cynosure Smart Lipo

Cynosure is the manufacturer of Smartlipo. Smartlipo was approved by the FDA in 2006 for its use as a laser liposculpting system.

Smartlipo is an NdYAG 1064nm laser system that utilizes an extremely small laser fiber and cannula which is inserted into the fat. The advantages of Smartlipo over traditional liposuction are:

  • The significantly reduced and minimal downtime; most patients can return to work in a day or two versus one to two weeks with traditional liposuction.
  • Smartlipo is done under local anethesia instead of general anesthesia.
  • Smartlipo melts away the fat, which allows the fat to be suctioned out much more efficiently with much less trauma to the body.

One of the greatest benefits of Smartlipo is its ability to tighten the skin so the patient is not left with sagging, loose skin after the fat is removed. The laser used in Smartlipo also coagulates the blood vessels so that there is significantly less bruising and bleeding then with traditional liposuction, leading to an overall quicker recovery!

Overall, Smartlipo causes less bruising, bleeding, discomfort and downtime - with an added skin tightening effect - compared to traditional liposuction, at an affordable cost!

Jennifer S. Landy MD
Tampa Ophthalmologist

What is SmartLipo or Laser

SmartLipo is laser assisted Liposuction. Its probably better to research who is doing your procedure. Smart doctors have learned how to use technology to get the desired result. We combine both technology now. Liposuction using Smartlipo permanently destroys & removes the treated fat cells. Adults do not create new fat cells. One of my patients recently had SmartLipo but had poor results and was burned! She said "I didn't know that my cosmetic surgeon was not a Plastic Surgeon" We had to fix her abdomen and other areas damaged by the laser. Cost should not be the only criteria for selecting your Plastic Surgeon. Experience and training matters a lot. Non Plastic surgeons (cosmetic surgeons) tend to charge less than Plastic Surgeon. Below are other criteria to use when selecting a Plastic surgeon.

Questions to ask (Answering NO is a big red flag)
1) Are you a plastic surgeon? (Do you know difference between cosmetic surgeon & plastic surgeon)
2) Are you board certified in Plastic Surgery?
3) Will the procedure be performed at a fully accredited procedure room or ambulatory surgery center
4) Do you have hospital privilege to perform liposuction or SmartLipo?
5) Do you offer complication insurance (it does happen, it better to be safe)

The most important decision is to do your homework well. Any doctor can offer SmartLipo. Its your duty to know who is doing your procedure. Its better to choose a Smart Doctor. Good luck.

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 161 reviews


Smart lipo is done with a laser and traditional lipo is not. The laser promotes skin tightening and it also melts the fat.  This allows more fat to be removed and beter sculpting then traditional liposuction that simply tries to pull out solid fat.

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 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.