What’s the difference between liposuction and Smart Lipo?
I often get asked what’s the difference between liposuction and Smart Lipo? I think that Smartlipo will always be better since it has that extra middle step of using a fiberoptic laser fiber to melt fat and heat up the skin from the inside.
How is regular liposuction done?
In most cases, liposuction will be done in the operating room under general anesthesia. A fluid will be injected into the area to be liposuctioned. This fluid will have some lidocaine (usually) to help numb the area and a small amount of epinephrine to decrease any bleeding or bruising. After waiting a few minutes for the these to take effect, the liposuctioning is carried out. The incision is closed with a small dissolving suture and then you are done.
What is different about Smart Lipo?
Liposuction starts off the same as above, except that I use a much higher concentration of lidocaine to numb you up since you are awake (I frequently will give you a pill to relax you, such as Ativan, but then you must have someone drive you. This will not knock you out but will simply relax you more. Many patients elect to forgo this and thus can drive themselves). I have my patients take two Celebrex pills (we will phone this in for you. It has gone generic so they should not be expensive).
After I have numbed the area fully, I insert a small fiberoptic laser fiber into the fatty area through a very tiny incision. The laser fiber is very small, about the size of the inside of a BIC pen. Everytime that I fire the laser, multiple times per second, it sends out 2 different wavelengths of laser beams, which does 3 things. It melts the fat. It heats up the skin, so that they will be a gradual skin tightening. Lastly, it will coagulate any small blood vessels, decreasing the bruising.
After I have finished lasering, I will liposuction away the melted fat and liquid. I use a smaller cannula often to do this as well, though it will depend on the amount of fat present. Since I am often using smaller, more delicate instruments, I have so far, (over 550 cases done as of February 2016) had no problems with uneveness. There is a quicker return to work and less pain. Almost everyone returns to work the next day. I feel that there is no downside to doing Smartlipo versus regular liposuction and I believe that in most cases, there will be a better result.