Which is Better: SmartLipo or Liposuction - Berman Cosmetic Surgery Blog

Which is Better: SmartLipo or Liposuction?

This is a very common question that I often get asked.

SmartLipo is actually a form of liposuction, but it includes the additional step of using a fiberoptic laser to melt the fat and cause some skin tightening

How Does Liposuction Work?
With regular liposuction there are basically two steps. After you have the areas for liposuction marked, the surgeon will numb up a few small areas for the incisions. He will then infiltrate local anesthetic into those areas. After a few minutes to let it work, he will then carry out liposuction, often under general anesthesia.

How is SmartLipo different?
Smartlipo is always done by me in my office under local anesthetic, frequently with oral sedation. The main difference is that after the area has been made numb but before the liposuction is carried out, I insert a small fiberoptic laser fiber into the subcutaneous fat. Every time I step on the peddle, 2 laser beams are emitted into the fat and this both melts the fat and also gives heat to the skin, to cause it to tighten. After this middle step is done, then the melted fat is liposuctioned away.

Which one is more highly recommended? 
I believe Smartlipo allows more to remove more fat. In addition, there are going to be fat cells that do not immediately get melted and which come out in the liposuction but these fat cells will later die from the effect of the heat and your body will resorb them. This means the effect of the Smartlipo will be greater than what is initially removed. In addition, the laser creates small tracts throughout the fat, which will over the next 2 months, get healed with newly formed collagen. After 2 months, this collagen will mature and start to tighten and contract, making the area tighter.

With Smartlipo, you will continue to improve for 6 months after the procedure.

With all liposuction procedures, you can enhance the final result by also working on your dieting and exercising to decrease your total body fat.

Check our my video below for additional considerations. If you’d like to talk more about SmartLipo or liposuction, please do not hesitate to schedule a complimentary, private consultation with me calling our office at 703-406-2444.

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.