I'm Worried About the Scarring from Smart Lipo - How Large Are the Incisions, How Many?

I think I would benefit from Smart Lipo - I'm 125, 5'7, but just have this "back fat" that won't go away, no matter what. I think I'm a good candidate, but am concerned about scarring. How many incisions are made? How large are they? Where are they usually located for the "flank" areas?

Doctor Answers 8

Liposuction scarring is very minimal...

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Smart liposuction scarring is very minimal.  Usually only two incisions are made and they are about 3 millimeters in size.  In most cases your surgeon will determine where he/she should make the incisions but are usually located on the side.  Make sure your surgeon has a lot of experience with Smartlipo and look for lots of pictures.  A procedure that is properly performed should look smooth without scarring at all.

Scars from liposuction

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Whether you have conventional tumescent liposuction or smart liposuction, the insertion scars may be very small about a quarter of an inch. Other risks exists, though, such as indentations and irregularities. Sometimes the back area is not a fat problem but loose hanging skin and liposuction may not help that. If you are very concerned about liposuction, but it is determined that you are a candidate for the procedure, it may be possible to obtain fat reduction without surgery through Zeltiq, as an off-label procedure but the technique is relatively new and you may wish to wait some more time before deciding to have that done. See a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologic surgeon to evaluate your condition.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Liposuction incisions

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Liposuction incisions are usually very small about  0.5-1 cm at most wide and usually heal very well. 

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

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Liposuction Incision Scars I'm Worried About the Scarring from Smart Lipo - How Large Are the Incisions, How Many?

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There is no common places for incisions to be done. The point is to chose the most efficient placement for liposuction and in the same time to hide the incision as much as possible.
We usually try to place them asymmetrically, to make less noticeable and this can be discussed with the patient preveously.
In most patients the incision scars look like small spots or lines about 3-4 mm long which become almost invisible with the time.

Ercan Karacaoglu, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Smartlipo Scars are Minimal

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There are usually two openings placed on each side, which serve as insertion points for the local anesthesia, laser, and microcannulas. When using the tumescent, microcannular method, these openings don’t need to be any larger than 2 millimeters; this is about one-third the diameter of a pencil eraser. They can be discretely placed in areas which are typically covered such as over the hip bone, and oriented along natural skin crease lines so that they heal in a manner that blends in with normal skin lines.

During your consultations, you should ask to view before and after photos which demonstrate the progression of how the skin heals after a Smartlipo procedure. Unless you have a history of poor healing, hypertrophic or keloid scarring, these openings are rarely noticeable after six months. If your natural skin type is olive to dark (type 3 or greater) then you have a greater chance of having a darker blemish that can last longer. To minimize the risk of scarring or discoloration, you can use Mederma cream during the first two weeks and then consider pulsed-light spot treatments after six months.

Daniel Levy, MD
Bellevue Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Smartlipo incisions are small and can be hidden

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Smartlipo incisions are ususally very small and can be hidden.  I prefer to make the placement asymmetric so their appearance is less likely to be noticable. Some people scar badly and then the incisions can be more noticable.  In people who scar badly, the back can be a particularly bad place for scar.  Ask you doctor where the incisions would be and what type of scat you are likely to make.

Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

I'm Worried About the Scarring from Smart Lipo - How Large Are the Incisions, How Many

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Your concerns are real but the reality of these less than 2 mm scars are not. You will most likely have 2 to 4 TINY incisions at best. Be more concerned which unit of Smart Lipo is being used - from the 6 watt to the 30 watt MPX units - would be my issue NOT the incisions. From  MIAMI Dr. B, Clinical Instructor of Smart Lipo. 

Liposuction alternatives

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Hi there-

First, please understand that ALL types of liposuction will require an incision or two- the key is to have them repaired well and placed in inconspicuous locations by an experienced surgeon.

Secondly, it is critical to understand that your outcome and safety will have MUCH less to do with which machine is used on you, and EVERYTHING to do with who is holding the machine.

I am supremely confident that if you had surgery with an experienced and ethical, well-trained surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, you would be safe and achieve a lovely outcome with ANY machine available.

On the other hand, if you let an eye doctor, ER doctor, or gynecologist do liposuction on you (and believe it or not, all of these are trying), your safety and happiness may be significantly compromised.

Please read more about liposuction safety and options here:

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.