One of the most popular cosmetic surgery treatments at my Spokane and Coeur d’Alene practices is Smartlipo, or laser-assisted liposuction. This body contouring procedure can help to smooth curves and reduce hard-to-treat areas of fat that are often found in the lower abdomen, back, flanks, hips, arms, and thighs. You can learn more about the process involved in the procedure on the liposuction treatment page.
While before-and-after images of Smartlipo patients tell part of the story, it’s also important to understand the scientific explanation behind the treatment. To help explain those details, here are some of the features involved in this laser-assisted treatment and the benefits behind each.
The Narrow Cannula
A major benefit of Smartlipo is that no major incisions are required to perform the treatment. The treatment uses a thin metal cannula, or tube, which houses the laser fiber. It’s about 1 millimeter wide. This cannula is inserted into the body through small incisions that are only slightly wider than the cannula itself, between 3 and 5 millimeters. These incisions can be placed in areas where folds already exist, such as the navel or below the pant line, so they will be easily disguised.
In the before-and-after images below, you can see the patient’s incisions, indicated by the small red dots on either side of their lower abdomen. The incisions are small, they will heal quickly — and with the proper care, the scars will fade.
The Multifunctional Laser Fiber
Once inserted, the laser fiber performs a number of actions at once. First, it targets the fat cells, rupturing and liquefying them. It simultaneously cauterizes blood vessels and coagulates blood in the treated area, which reduces bleeding. After the fat in the treated area has been prepared for removal, the cannula is attached to a suctioning device, which vacuums those melted fat cells out.
Smartlipo is an outpatient procedure which uses a local anesthetic, so patients may stay awake during the treatment and return home immediately after. Some discomfort and soreness are normal for a day or 2 following the surgery, but patients can generally return to their normal routines quickly.
The Long-Term Results
When the laser destroys and removes the fat cells in the treated area, the patient’s body recognizes that the fat has been removed and begins to restore the healthy cells around the treated area. This produces collagen, which in turn encourages elasticity and tightening of the skin and underlying tissue. Because of this, many patients have improved skin tone in the treatment area, which develops in the days and weeks following the procedure.
Have more questions about Smartlipo? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below. You can also visit my liposuction FAQ page for answers to some other common questions.