SmartLipo Versus Traditional Liposuction

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how do SmartLipo and regular liposuction differ and which is better.

Traditional liposuction involves infiltrating a wetting solution, typically a combination of saline with lidocaine and epinephrine).  In most cases, this is done in the operating room under general anesthesia. Most patients will need to take about 4-6 days off of work to recover. Since it is done under general anesthesia, you have to pay for the operating room and the anesthesiologist. You also need to fast beforehand and have someone with you to drive you home. Most patients are quite sore for several  days. It does work – and until SmartLipo and ultrasonic liposuction came along, it was the only game in town.

SmartLipo on the other hand is done in my office under local anesthesia. I prefer to give an oral sedation (Ativan), which means you do need to have a driver with you. Unlike traditional liposuction, there are no IVs involved and I do insist you eat and drink before your procedure. You can return to work the next day and to your regular workouts within 5 days. First, I will numb up the areas to be treated. What makes this procedure unique is the second step. I pass a fiberoptic laser back and forth in the subcutaneous fat, which melts the fat. The heat damages and destroys much more fat (similar principle as with the SculpSure laser that we also own) than what will come out in the liposuction. The laser helps stimulate collagen and elastic fiber production in the skin, leading to some skin tightening. The last step involves liposuction’ing out the fat. There is less pain after the procedure compared to regular liposuction because smaller, more delicate instruments are used. Also, there is less risk of unevenness. There is usually less bruising as well because the laser coagulates small blood vessels. And you will continue to see improvements for 6 months!

SmartLipo offers all of the benefits of traditional liposuction, but also has several important additional benefits. Where traditional liposuction always comes into play, however, is if you are already in the operating room for another procedure with me. This is for two reasons – 1) SmartLipo equipment is not portable and 2) SmartLipo takes longer than traditional liposuction. If you are under general anesthesia, it is better to get it done as quickly as possible. But if SmartLipo is the only procedure you need, I’d recommend getting that done in my office – no general anesthesia needed, saving you recovery time and the cost of anesthesia and facility fees.