Prev NEXT  


Smart Liposuction Overview

After Smart Liposuction

Recovering from laser-assisted liposuction has proven to be easier than recovering from traditional liposuction procedures. For one thing, there are no stitches to deal with. Because the doctor's incision is so small, no stitches are needed to close the skin. Many people will feel a bit sore after their procedure, but so far studies have found no risk of any serious side effects. Because the laser closes off small blood vessels as it moves under the skin, there is less chance of bleeding, swelling and bruising than with conventional liposuction.

There was some concern that the extra fat circulating in the blood after the procedure might eventually increase patients' risk for developing high cholesterol and potentially lead to heart attacks or strokes, but researchers have not found this to be the case.

Within a day after surgery, most patients can slowly resume their normal activities, although doctors advise that they avoid strenuous exercise or hot tubs for about two weeks. Wearing special compression garments for a week or two after the procedure can speed healing. These close-fitting elastic garments can also reduce swelling.

Most people start seeing results within a week after the procedure, but it can take up to a full six months to achieve the final look. In the majority of cases, people need only one laser-assisted liposuction treatment to see results. However, some go back for minor touch-ups. It is possible to retreat the same areas, but patients need to wait at least four months between procedures. Laser-assisted liposuction also can be done before or after regular liposuction to hit hard-to-reach areas.

Why re-treat these areas -- isn't laser-assisted liposuction permanent? That largely depends on the patient. The body makes only a limited number of fat cells, so once they're gone, they're gone for good. But because this procedure removes only small pockets of fat cells, patients who don't eat healthy diets or regularly exercise can risk losing their streamlined figures. The fat cells that remain will enlarge, and patients will gain weight in parts of the body where they didn't have the liposuction.

Laser-Assisted Lipo vs. Conventional Lipo
Conventional liposuction can remove more fat from larger areas than laser-assisted liposuction, but it does have a greater number of potential complications. This table shows how the two techniques stack up:


Conventional Liposuction

What it's used to treat

Small areas of fat that don't respond to diet and exercise, and loose skin

Larger areas of fat (but it won't fix the bagginess of loose skin)

Areas treated

Face, jowls, neck, arms, loose skin, male breasts

Thighs, abdomen, buttocks, hips, male breasts


Local anesthesia

Local, epidural or general anesthesia


Soreness, minor bruising

Bleeding, bruising, infection, dimpling or rippling under the skin if too much or too little fat is removed, blood clots, fluid accumulation, swelling, nerve damage, rarely death (1 in 5,000).

After surgery

Minor discomfort. Patients can go back to work within one or two days, but need to avoid strenuous exercise for about two weeks.

Pain, soreness, or burning for a few days to a couple of weeks after surgery. Swelling continues for four to six weeks. The doctor will remove stitches or they will dissolve after about 10 days. Patients need to avoid exercise and strenuous activity for about a month.


$4,000 - $8,000

$2,000 - $7,000 per body part

For more information about liposuction and other body beautification alternatives, follow the links on the next page.

Related Articles

More Great Links

  • LaBruna, Anthony N.,M.D. and F.A.C.S., and Jaclyn Mucaria, MPA. "Your Survival Guide to Cosmetic Surgery."
  • Jackson, Kathyn L."Dear Diary: What My Doctor Never Told me About Liposuction." 1st Books Library: 9 May 2003.
  • Sandhu, Baldev S., M.D. "Doctor, Is Liposuction Right for Me?" Writers Club Press: July 2001.
  • Shelton, Ron M. and Terry Malloy. "Liposuction." Berkley: 6 January 2004.
  • Chalekson, Charles. "Liposuction, Techniques." eMedicine. 6 June, 2006.
  • Smartlipo. Cynosure.
  • Goldman, Alberto. "Nd: YAG Laser-Assisted Lipolysis."
  • "SmartLipo Cleared as First Laser Lipolysis System." Aesthetic.
    January/February 2007.
  • Puente, Maria. "Cosmetic Surgeons Aim Lasers to Melt Away Fat."
    USA Today. 27 March 2007.
  • Adato, Allison. "The New Lipo: Has Fat Met Its Match?"
    People. 20 November 2006.