Smartlipo vs Traditional Liposuction

Smartlipo vs Traditional Liposuction Differences

Smartlipo vs Liposuction: A Side-by-Side Comparison

The chart below highlights the major differences between Traditional Liposuction and Smartlipo.

Traditional Liposuction Smartlipo
General Anesthesia (put you to sleep) Local anesthesia (you are awake during the procedure)
Large incision Small incisions
No skin tightening, so there is the possibility of being left with loose, sagging skin once the fat is removed Use of the laser tightens and firms the skin
Large cannulas that scrape the fat from the skin, often resulting in ridges and ripples under the skin Laser is fed through a small micro-cannula. The laser melts the fat turning it to liquid before being suctioned from the body, ensuring a smooth appearance
Days and weeks of downtime 1-2 days of downtime and very often it is less than that
Significant bruising Minimal if any bruising
Use of a compression garment for 6+ weeks Use of a compression garment for just 3 weeks


What is Traditional Liposuction?

Liposuction by definition is a cosmetic surgery performed to remove unwanted deposits of fat from under the skin by suction. It allows a surgeon to sculpt and contour the body by removing excess fat deposits that are resistant to reduction by diet or exercise. The fat is removed from under the skin with a suction device.

Liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the United States and there’s no shortage of choices when it comes to techniques. Once upon a time Traditional Liposuction was the only technique available for fat removal and it remained the gold standard for years.  But as with everything, technology has evolved.

Traditional liposuction uses general anesthesia.  General anesthesia is typically administered through an IV, putting the patient in a “sleeping” state.  Since an Anesthesiologist is required, traditional liposuction procedures are performed in hospitals or surgery centers. It is important to keep in mind that 70% of all complications that arise following a surgical procedure are due to the anesthesia administered.

In Traditional Liposuction, large incisions are made in several places in the area being treated.  The incisions have to be large enough to accommodate the large instruments called cannulas. A jabbing motion is used to move the cannula under the skin.  It is through this motion that the cannula scraps the fat from between the skin and the muscle. The cannula is also connected to aspiration which suctions the scraped fat out of the body.  Very often large quantities of IV fluid are given to the patient during this procedure to replace lost body fluid. Because an instrument is used to scrape the fat from the skin very often patients are left with a rippling or dimpling appearance.  It is very difficult to control how evenly you remove the fat when you are using an instrument to scrape the fat.

Why Choose Smartlipo vs Traditional Liposuction?

Smartlipo vs. Traditional Liposuction

Smartlipo offer patients great results with virtually no downtime and the added benefit of skin tightening that other techniques don’t provide. Smartlipo is laser assisted liposuction.

  • The name, Smartlipo refers to the laser that is used; it doesn’t mean that other forms of liposuction – such as Traditional Liposuction – are “dumb” lipo. The Smartlipo Triplex device houses three different wavelengths of laser. They can be used individually or in combination during the Smartlipo procedure. The first wavelength is 1440nm and it is very attracted to fat. The fat absorbs the laser energy, melting it very quickly.
  • The second wavelength is 1320nm which is very attracted to water, which it finds in the skin tissue.  It causes skin tightening, but it also sends a signal to your brain that begins the process of producing collagen and elastin forming new skin, but also thickening and tightening the existing skin tissue.  Once this response is elicited from your body, it could take up to six months to complete, so you will have additional skin tightening post-procedure.
  • The third and final wavelength is a 1064nm and it cauterizes blood vessels to protect the skin from excess tissue trauma and blood loss. The use of this wavelength is why patients experience very little bruising post procedure. Smartlipo is performed under local anesthesia, which means you are awake and aware during the procedure and it is performed in our operating room right here in our office. The local anesthesia being used is lidocaine, which is a numbing agent so you feel no pain during the procedure.

Local anesthesia is the safest form of anesthesia and its effects last many hours post procedure decreasing the need for narcotic pain medications after surgery. Our patients are very comfortable during the procedure; many of them are talking on their phones and listening to music.

Once the area is fully numb, very tiny incisions are placed in the skin, these incisions are approximately 1/8” and a micro-cannula, that encases the laser fiber, is inserted underneath the skin.  The lasers heat energy simultaneously melts the fat and tightens the skin. The liquefied fatty fluid is then suctioned out of the body.  At the completion of the procedure the tiny incisions are closed with sutures and you are helped into your compression garment. You will wear the garment for three weeks post procedure.

Pain & Downtime Comparison

Smartlipo vs. Traditional Lipo Pain & Downtime ComparisonTraditional Liposuction Downtime & Pain

The down-time for traditional liposuction is significant.  Depending on the extent of the fat removed you may have to stay in the hospital for several days or remain on bed rest.  Patients experience significant bruising and swelling.  Pain and discomfort can last for weeks and most people are instructed to wear a compression garment for at least 6 weeks.

Most people don’t have time in their hectic schedules to have procedures done that require substantial down time. Technology has evolved so that you can now have liposuction without  days or weeks of downtime and with great results.

Smartlipo: Minimal Downtime & Pain

Patients are amazed at how good they feel following their Smartlipo procedure. In fact, many of our patients have had Traditional Liposuction previously and are thrilled at how easy the procedure is and how great they feel.  They all indicate they wish they had opted for Smartlipo the first time around.

Our patients walk themselves out to their vehicles and many leave our office following their procedure to run errands. Patients should expect to feel sore for the next several days. The soreness will feel like you have done one heck of a workout, but should not hinder your daily activity.

You can certainly have this done on Friday and return to work on Monday and in some cases the next day.  Patients report resuming exercise at around day 5.  There is minimal if any bruising after Smartlipo.  You will have some swelling, which will gradually dissipate over several weeks.

After Smartlipo you’ll enjoy a smooth, contoured body with noticeable tighter skin

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