At the practice of experienced plastic surgeon Jaime Perez in Tampa, laser liposuction - popularly known as “SmartLipo™” - is one of several liposuction techniques available to patients. As a proponent of honest, straightforward patient education, Dr. Perez clearly advises patients of the benefits and risks of each liposuction technique, and informs them of the fact that clinical studies have not definitively shown that lasers improve liposuction results. At this point, the success of laser liposuction rises and falls on the skills of the plastic surgeon - and, when it comes to body contouring, Dr. Perez is a true innovator and craftsman.
What Is Laser Liposuction?
Laser liposuction, more accurately called laser-assisted liposuction, is precisely the same as conventional liposuction in terms of how unwanted fat cells are removed from targeted areas of the body. As with ultrasound-assisted liposuction and water-assisted liposuction, the unique technology is employed exclusively during the “pretreatment” stage of the procedure; that is, when the fat cells are being emulsified, or broken up. Beyond that point, a traditional cannula is used to suction out the liquefied fat cells.
The SmartLipo™ name was given to the laser-assisted liposuction technique by Cynosure, the manufacturer of the SmartLipo™ laser system. The SmartLipo™ laser platform is FDA approved and generally safe when used by a skilled, experienced plastic surgeon such as Dr. Perez. It is also generally effective; however, some of the benefits claimed by its proponents have yet to be supported by scientific research. These benefits include improved safety and fewer risks versus conventional liposuction.
Benefits of Laser Liposuction
As stated above, the objective benefits of laser liposuction, if any, have yet to be scientifically validated. The laser system simply provides an alternative method of breaking up the fat cells that are to be withdrawn using the cannula. Regardless of the technology used to break up these cells, the tumescent technique of performing liposuction is still the preferred method in general, as it reduces both post-operative pain and bleeding.
The benefits of entrusting laser liposuction to a board-certified, highly trained plastic surgeon such as Dr. Perez, however, are clear. There have been complaints of thermal burns associated with laser-assisted liposuction, although in the right hands, the laser system is quite safe. The question is not one of safety, really, but of practicality. Does laser liposuction offer any benefits over traditional tumescent liposuction?
Some surgeons suggest that the use of lasers during liposuction helps to tighten the skin in the treated areas and that patients heal more quickly. There may certain instances in which patients do heal more quickly than they would after conventional liposuction, but the claim of tightened skin is more dubious. In any event, while lasers may be sexy, science has yet to show that they offer any practical benefit to liposuction patients.
Learn More about Liposuction Techniques
As a patient, you deserve honest, fact-based education from your plastic surgeon of choice. You will get precisely that from Dr. Perez, along with superb results in a safe, caring environment. To learn more about liposuction techniques, or to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Perez, please contact our plastic surgery practice today.