As the name would suggest laser-assisted liposuction uses a laser to melt the fat then suction is connected and fatty liquid is removed from your body. It’s often considered to be safe, gentler, and less invasive than traditional methods due to the use of local anesthesia and small instruments which makes the downtime virtually none.
Laser liposuction is considered best for people within twenty pounds of their ideal body weight who have problem areas. It’s often used to sculpt areas such as the thighs, abdomen, hips, waist, bra fat, flanks, chin and upper arms.
In a nut shell, laser energy is delivered through a laser fiber that is threaded through a narrow cannula. As the laser pulses, its energy is converted to heat energy which is absorbed by the fat cells, causing them the melt. This heat is also absorbed by the surrounding skin tissue to stimulate collagen production. Collagen production equals skin tightening, which is an added benefit. This process also protects the skin from excess tissue trauma so you have less bruising and swelling than with traditional methods.
Treatment and recovery time of these methods are comparable. Most use local anesthesia, but some doctors use twilight sedation, but this is certainly not necessary and does introduce its own risks, so local anesthesia is preferred. Depending on the area you are having treated the procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, and a few days recovering. Bruising and swelling will vary from person to person, but you should expect some swelling for several weeks post procedure, but it is mostly concealed with use of a compression garment.
Here are different types that may be available to you.
SmartLipo Triplex from Cynosure is a body contouring process known to be especially effective at skin tightening. In fact it is the only technology on the market that has real clinical data supporting its skin tightening claim. While Smartlipo has had several improvements since its inception and it was the first laser liposuction procedure to market after being approved by the FDA. It is still considered the gold standard when it comes to laser assisted liposuction procedures.
The Smartlipo Triplex machine utilizes three wavelengths of laser: 1064nm, 1320nm and the 1440nm. Each of these wavelengths has a different job. The Smartlipo Triplex also has built in safety features, like the thermaguide which is attached to the laser and measures the internal temperature as it’s pulsing, this virtually eliminates burns as it would automatically shut down if it reached a certain temperature. Again procedure time is anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours and recovery is 1-3 days.
The cannula, once in place, emits short pulses of high-peak YAG laser energy at 1320 nm. CoolLipo offers a dual mode one for liposuction and the other for skin tightening. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia and depending on the area this will determine the amount of time needed for the procedure but usually 30 minutes to 3 hours. Again downtime is minimal just a few days.
Sciton’s version employs a dual wavelength capacity laser at 1064 nm and 1319 nm, which can be used individually or custom-combined for optimum results. The 1064 nm wavelength is chosen for breaking up fat; the 1319 nm tightens the skin. The procedure takes a few hours and recovery time is several days.
Like SmartLipo, Syneron’s LipoLite uses a 1064 nm wavelength YAG laser, but adds SelectPulse technology to deliver custom-controlled and timed energy pulses. This allows it to better treat areas that are fibrous or have more resistant tissue, and helps destroy fat cell membranes. The procedure lasts under an hour with local anesthetic and recovery time is just a few days.
Osyris’ Lipotherme uses a 980 nm wavelength diode continuous-wave laser to liquefy the fat cells before removing them with suction. Like the others the procedure takes 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the size and number of areas being treated and the recovery is a few days.
Be sure to research all of your laser liposuction options and schedule consultations with several doctors. Not only do you have to feel comfortable and confident in the technology you choose, but most importantly you need to choose a good surgeon, so don’t forget to research them too. You can visit the medical board for the state the doctor is practicing in and you should also read reviews from patients.