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What Should You Know About Laser-Assisted Liposuction?

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Liposuction is a surgical procedure for removing fatty tissue that has been around for many decades. Liposuction is a general term that can cover any manner of procedures for removing fat. One of the newer procedures is laser-assisted liposuction.

Laser-assisted liposuction uses a SmartLipo laser to liquefy fatty tissue. The laser is directed through small incisions and directed at fatty tissue. Once the fatty tissue has been liquefied, it is sucked out using standard liposuction.

When to use laser-assisted liposuction?

So, when should you use laser-assisted liposuction? As with all liposuction procedures, the plastic surgeon has the ultimate say in what procedure is best for you. Here are two, basic guidelines where laser-assisted liposuction may be best used:

  • When localized fat needs to be removed – for larger amounts, a method that can remove more fatty tissue may be needed
  • When targeted areas still need to be removed after larger amounts of fatty tissue have been removed – this is a combination method where laser-assisted liposuction is used to sculpt, smooth out, or otherwise enhance the results of the other liposuction procedure

Benefits of laser-assisted liposuction

The addition of the laser to standard liposuction techniques has brought some very real benefits. Before the laser, patients would often have to be put under, requiring an overnight hospital stay. With laser-assisted liposuction, a local anesthetic can be used so the patient can be in and out in the same day.

Other benefits include:

  • Shorter recovery time
  • Less bruising after the surgery
  • Better tissue tightening due to less internal tissue disruption
  • Reduced bleeding during and after surgery
  • Reduced pain after surgery

Disadvantages of laser-assisted liposuction

Using a laser to liquefy fat for removal also has some disadvantages. The good news is that these disadvantages are not really related to the actual surgery or recovery time. The two, most often-sited disadvantages are:

  • Higher cost
  • More surgeries

These two disadvantages are actually related. The cost of using the laser is higher on its own. Contributing to that fact is that, with laser-assisted liposuction, it can take more surgeries to remove the amount of fat that a more mechanical method may remove. So, more surgeries also equal more costs.

Risks of laser-assisted liposuction

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks with laser-assisted liposuction.  Some of the most common risks from using a laser include:

  • Thermal skin damage from improper delivery of laser energy or too high a concentration of laser energy. The skill of the surgeon is the deciding factor on this one, since the right amount of "burn" can cause the skin to tighten, but too much can cause injury.
  • Increased circulation of triglycerides from liquefied fat in the bloodstream
  • Numbness due to nerve damage

An extensive paper on the use of lasers for liposuction is available to help understand the different ways the laser can be used, the benefits, and the risks. Talk to experts like Medilaser, Cosmetic Surgery and Vein Center for more information.