Aesthetic technology has seen a surge in new techniques and treatments over the years. But liposuction, designed to eliminate unwanted fat, has stayed relatively consistent until the development of Smart Lipo. This more advanced technique provides greater comfort and faster results without compromising the dependability of traditional lipo, and it’s available from the trusted staff of Grossman Dermatology in Santa Monica, CA.
Does Smart Lipo Really Work?
Liposuction is the second most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States, bested only by breast augmentation. It’s based on a fairly simple premise: to remove unwanted fat by suctioning it from common trouble spots like the abdomen, flanks, and thighs. Smart Lipo takes this one step further to provide a treatment that is more comfortable, safer, and requires less recovery time.
Studies show it involves less pain and a less traumatic outcome than conventional liposuction. Science also confirms it produces far fewer side effects, such as bruising and swelling. The procedure has been heralded by researchers as delivering “good, reproducible results safely and effectively.” Over a five-year period, clinical studies reveal that patients maintain significant cosmetic improvements. And, finally, documented advantages include:
- Excellent patient tolerance
- Rapid recovery
- Skin tightening
- Visible fat loss
How Does This Work?
Smart Lipo is different from traditional liposuction in that it incorporates a laser, and for this reason, is often called laser lipo. During the procedure, a small incision is made in the treatment area and a thin tube inserted. That tube contains the laser that, once activated, emits thermal energy to targeted fat cells. Fatty tissue is then disrupted to make for easier removal.
Essentially, the laser melts fat so it can be removed with gentle suction. Surrounding tissues also coagulate and become tighter to give you a smoother overall shape. In this way, Smart Lipo serves as a tool to remove unwanted fat and improve tone and definition.
More on the Laser
We deliver the laser energy at a prescribed wavelength readily absorbed by fat cells. Fat cell membranes are held together by nothing more than hydration forces. This makes them highly susceptible to heat damage. Once they absorb the energy, they rupture and can be more easily removed by vacuuming. You can think of this process as happening in four steps:
- The laser emits light that is transformed into heat
- The heat penetrates specific cell membranes and causes fat to leak out
- With their membranes disrupted, targeted cells grow bigger just before they rupture
- Suctioning removes ruptured cells and leaked fat
Increased Collagen Production
Fat cells are more vulnerable to heat than other tissues, meaning they rupture at lower temperatures. This ensures treatment will not cause damage to your skin or the surrounding cells. We need to make an important distinction, however.
The laser does produce thermal effects on collagen tissues and subdermal bands. Ultimately, the heat remodels tissues in a way that ignites the body’s natural collagen production. After treatment, you will therefore see a gradual improvement in your skin’s appearance and a reduction in concerns like:
- Skin dimpling
- Rough texture
- Uneven tone
- Wrinkles and sagging
What to Expect
We’ll start your procedure by cleansing the surgical site and injecting a local anesthetic. You’ll be awake throughout the operation, thereby eliminating any side effects of sedation. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, we’ll make a tiny incision into the treatment area. When we say tiny, we mean the approximate size of a pen tip – hardly visible and rapid to heal.
A small tube containing the laser fiber is then inserted into the incision. The fiber emits heat in a precise and controlled manner, and after the desired amount of fat has melted, it is smoothly suctioned out of the body. We’ll monitor the laser’s temperature and ensure you remain comfortably reclined throughout your procedure.
Once the surgery is complete, we’ll monitor you for a short period and then send you home to rest. You’ll need someone to drive you home as well as stay overnight to help you get situated. It’s important you take time away from work so your body can properly heal. Some patients are instructed to stay home for several days, while others need at least a week. The difference depends, in part, on how much of your body was treated.
You’ll see a reduction in fat within just a week of your procedure, although skin improvements will take a little longer to develop. In all, your results will continue showing in the next three to six months. We may recommend that you wear a compression garment to help your body adjust to its fat loss. We’ll also schedule follow-up appointments that will allow us to measure your progress. Additional aftercare instructions will likely include the following:
- In the first month, get plenty of rest and refrain from strenuous exercise
- Take showers instead of baths
- Skip hot tubs, heated pools, and beach trips
- Stay out of tanning beds
- Avoid sun exposure
After about 10 days, you can begin lightly massaging your treatment site and engaging in gentle stretches to ease tightness. Starting a walking regimen within a few days of your procedure will improve blood flow and get your body moving again. It’s important you follow our guidelines even if you feel well and want to jump back into your day-to-day routine; keep in mind your body is still healing even if you can’t feel it doing so.
Preparing for Surgery
Whether performed with or without laser, liposuction is a surgery and requires a consultation so we can assess your overall health. During this time, we’ll discuss the site(s) where you want Smart Lipo and take down your medical history. The consultation allows us to discuss your likely results and determine your candidacy.
Patients should be in reasonably good health, close to their ideal weight, and have supple skin and muscle tone. Your reason for wanting surgery will also be considered; most patients want to eliminate stubborn fat pockets that cannot be addressed by diet or exercise. This procedure is not right for pregnant women or those who are anemic. Other health conditions will be evaluated on an individual basis.
Steps to Follow
We’ll need a list of your current medications so we can make appropriate recommendations prior to surgery. For example, we may advise you to stop taking blood thinners. We’ll also tell you to stop smoking, if this applies, as cigarettes impede healing by restricting healthy blood flow. This also increases your chances of infection and scarring.
You’ll be advised to stop drinking alcohol several weeks before your scheduled procedure. Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and can increase bleeding during surgery. You should also exercise to help maintain your ideal weight and encourage strong blood flow in the weeks prior to surgery.
The Day of Surgery
We’ll likely recommend you fast the night before surgery, but you can eat shortly after your release. In speaking of food, it’s best to stick with light meals for the first few days. You’ll also need to keep your hydration levels up by drinking plenty of fluids.
You should arrive at surgery freshly-showered. Don’t shave the treatment site and avoid wearing makeup, jewelry, deodorant, and body cream. Loose clothing will help keep you comfortable and should be worn in the coming days as well. Once we give the ok, slowly re-incorporate household chores into your schedule.
Comparing Laser and Traditional Lipo
These two techniques share some similarities; both, for instance, can be used on almost any body area, including the chin, love handles, and upper arms. Both will also help showcase your muscles by removing fat layers. You can expect either procedure to be done in just a couple of hours, and most patients only need one treatment to achieve the desired aesthetics.
Both procedures are also intended for targeted fat removal instead of weight loss. The difference is this: weight loss occurs throughout the body and allows you to shed pounds. Removal, on the other hand, permanently eliminates fat cells in common trouble spots. You might lose a few pounds after lipo, but not enough to make a significant difference.
Smart Lipo is considered among researchers and medical staff to be much less invasive than traditional lipo. It also incorporates a different technique. Traditional lipo uses physical manipulation of fat followed by suction. Laser, as mentioned earlier, works to first liquefy fat so it is more easily removed.
Laser lipo is ideal for patients within 20 percent of their ideal body weight struggling with stubborn fat pockets. Traditional lipo, on the other hand, can help patients who want to lose more fat volume, thus lending it greater leeway in candidacy. The recovery periods are also different; traditional lipo is often accompanied by side effects like bruising and tenderness that persist for several weeks, whereas laser lipo provides for faster healing.
Which Is Right for You?
Both techniques focus on aesthetics, including balance, proportion, and symmetry, to create the contours you want. Ultimately, then, this question comes down to choice. Laser lipo is likely right if you:
- Want minimal downtime
- Don’t have a lot of volume to remove
- Want to remain awake for the procedure
- Hope to contour your body in addition to losing fat
Traditional lipo is better for patients with more volume to lose, as mentioned earlier, and who want a procedure backed by more than 40 years of medical science. The bottom line is that both procedures can help you achieve the body you want. And, when complemented by exercise and a balanced, healthy diet, results can last for many years.
The Fat Complication
Smart Lipo is intended to address the difficult issue of losing fat. We know this can be a challenging task, made even more complicated by factors like biology and aging. To better explain, your total number of fat cells does not change throughout your lifetime. This number is, in fact, largely determined during adolescence. Fat cells expand when you gain weight and then shrink when you lose it.
But exercise doesn’t allow you to target specific trouble spots. As another obstacle, some parts of the body – including the abdomen – are designed to hold onto fat for survival purposes. Losing bulges in these areas can therefore be tough, even for patients who are otherwise thin. Changes to your metabolism and hormones as you age can further hinder this process, causing the body to stubbornly cling to fat.
A Sophisticated Option
Fortunately, Smart Lipo overcomes these hurdles by eliminating targeted fat cells. It provides lasting improvements to your body’s contours and skin so you look more youthful and feel more confident. Even better, this procedure comes with a shorter recovery period and fewer complications than traditional lipo. Schedule your appointment today by calling Grossman Dermatology in Santa Monica, CA.