You exercise. You eat right. But you still have some problem areas that leave you feeling self-conscious. You’re not alone. Many healthy, fit people still have stubborn trouble spots that don’t respond to diet and exercise. Liposuction is one way to help shape and contour those areas. Liposuction ranks as the No. 2 most popular cosmetic surgical procedure, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Traditional liposuction comes with some risks, but an advanced liposuction procedure called SmartLipo is a good alternative with fewer drawbacks. With our Guide to SmartLipo, you can decide if it’s the solution you’ve been looking for.
What Is the SmartLipo Procedure?
Many people ask, “What is smart liposuction?” and “Should I get SmartLipo?”, so you’re not alone if you aren’t sure. Others want to know how much fat can be removed with SmartLipo and what the recovery is like. It’s important to understand the procedure and recovery fully before having it done.
Think of this cosmetic procedure as an updated version of traditional liposuction. SmartLipo is a laser-assisted liposuction procedure that gets rid of excess fat and tightens your loose skin. The laser goes inside the body and into the layer of fat in the targeted area through a small cannula, or tube. Heat from the laser causes the fat to soften to make it easier to remove from your body. It is considered a relatively safe and effective procedure for sculpting and contouring the body.
Medical-grade lasers are used for the procedure. They are so powerful that they rupture the fat cells and melt them, so they can be suctioned out of your trouble areas easily. Despite the power of the lasers used, they don’t damage the surrounding nerves, blood vessels or soft tissues. That makes the procedure easier on your body with less risk for damage to other surrounding areas.
The heat from the laser also increases the temperature of skin, which encourages the body to produce collagen. As you get older, your body’s natural collagen production decreases. Your skin needs that structural protein to help improve its appearance. Since laser lipo stimulates collagen production, it may give you a smoother look for your skin. Less fat plus tightened skin equals a powerful combination toward getting the look you want.
The procedure is designed primarily for common trouble spots where people have difficulty getting rid of fat. Those areas tend to collect fat deposits, and they’re tough to get rid of even with regular exercise. The abdomen, flanks (aka “love handles” or “muffin top”), upper and lower back, arms, chin, neck, knees, hip and thighs are common areas where people have laser liposuction performed. SmartLipo is more about shaping than weight loss. You may not lose much, if any, weight when you step on the scale, but you get the sculpted look you haven’t been able to get from diet and exercise. You may notice a decrease in clothing size because of your new body shape, even without significant weight loss.
The procedure removes melted fat and other liquids from the body. The exact amount depends on the person. Your size and body composition play a role in the amount of liquid extracted. The location where you have the liposuction done can also affect how much liquid is removed from the body. Small areas naturally have less fat, so you won’t see as much liquid coming out of the body in those areas.
How Is SmartLipo Different From Traditional Liposuction?
SmartLipo is a minimally invasive procedure that uses more advanced methods than traditional liposuction, giving it the edge in many areas. Comparing the two procedures helps you decide if you should get SmartLipo instead of traditional lipo.
The SmartLipo procedure uses local anesthesia, so you don’t have to go completely under general anesthesia to have your fat removed. Traditional liposuction uses general anesthesia, which can come with more complications and side effects. The SmartLipo recovery time is much shorter than traditional liposuction, in part because of the anesthesia. If you have the SmartLipo procedure on a Friday, you’ll be ready to head back to work by Monday.
The laser aspect of the treatment offers distinct advantages over traditional liposuction technology. The laser actually melts the fat, making it easy to remove through the cannula. The laser also stops bleeding, and it tightens your skin. That means you may notice a decrease in saggy skin, giving you more confidence. Traditional liposuction doesn’t help tighten the skin.
Bruising and swelling can happen in both types of liposuction. However, SmartLipo tends to result in less bruising and swelling. The lasers cauterize small blood vessels, which helps minimize those side effects. You’ll be able to show off the areas where you have the procedure performed sooner, without the swelling and bruising. You’ll also feel more comfortable during your recovery without those intense side effects.
SmartLipo produces smooth results, so you’ll feel comfortable in clothing that shows off the treated areas. Traditional lipo often produces bumpy results. The tiny incisions used for the cannulas mean the scars left behind are much smaller and less noticeable with SmartLipo, especially on the arms. Laser liposuction is also less intense and less aggressive than regular liposuction.
Results are faster to appear with laser-assisted lipo. Instead of waiting two to four weeks to see results as you do with the traditional procedure, you can start seeing results instantly, with more noticeable results within a week. The skin changes that come with SmartLipo take a little longer. Expect your skin to start firming up in three to four weeks.
How Do I Know If SmartLipo Is Right for Me?
Who should get SmartLipo? The procedure is not right for everyone, especially people who are considered obese, who don’t exercise and who don’t eat a healthy diet. SmartLipo is meant for people who have stubborn excess fat that doesn’t go away with diet and exercise. Take a close look at your habits and current physical health to determine if SmartLipo is right for you.
Laser liposuction is not meant as a remedy for obesity. It is not a weight-loss procedure, and it won’t prevent future weight gain. The best candidates are close to their ideal weight already. If you are more than 20 percent overweight, SmartLipo probably isn’t for you. Focus on making healthy lifestyle changes to improve your fitness. You may eventually become a better candidate for SmartLipo if you get into a healthy routine of diet and exercise.
The procedure also tends to work better for people whose weight is relatively stable, so if your weight regularly fluctuates significantly, SmartLipo isn’t the best choice. If you gain a significant amount of weight after the procedure as part of your usual up-and-down weight cycle, it negates the positive results of the liposuction procedure.
The best candidates are in good physical condition and live a healthy lifestyle. If you work out and have good muscle tone, your body is likely able to handle the procedure. Laser liposuction helps you with those final few inches to shape and sculpt your body in targeted spots.
Skin elasticity is another factor. One of the major benefits of SmartLipo is the skin-firming effect. However, the tightening effects work best for people with good skin elasticity. The lasers help tighten the skin, but they do have limitations. If your skin has natural elasticity, the lasers can help you firm skin and see the best results.
Both men and women have the SmartLipo procedure done, so gender isn’t an issue. Age is also generally a non-issue as long as you are healthy. Both younger and older people come in for the procedure. If you smoke or use nicotine, no matter your age or gender, you may not be a good candidate for the procedure. Surgeons recommend quitting smoking before you have the procedure done and remaining nicotine-free afterward.
SmartLipo Pros and Cons
SmartLipo offers distinct advantages over traditional liposuction, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s right for you.
While the risks are lower than traditional liposuction, it’s important to recognize the risks of laser liposuction. Laser liposuction side effects are generally mild. Choose an experienced, reputable doctor to perform the procedure to reduce your risks of side effects.
Explore the following potential drawbacks or considerations before deciding to have the procedure.
- Skin contour irregularity: SmartLipo generally results in a smoother look, but there is a chance that the skin may look irregularly contoured.
- Infection: This procedure is generally safe — however, any invasive procedure brings a small chance of an infection.
- Swelling and bruising: Some patients notice some minor swelling and bruising after the procedure, but it usually goes away after a few days. Wearing compression garments will help minimize the swelling and bruising.
- Unrealistic expectations: If you’re expecting a dramatic transformation that makes you look like a completely different person, you may feel unsatisfied with the results. Laser liposuction is more about reshaping and sculpting than losing weight. If you go into the procedure with realistic expectations about the results, you won’t be disappointed.
Don’t let the potential drawbacks discourage you from getting the procedure. SmartLipo comes with many advantages that may make it worth it to you, including the following.
- Minimally invasive: SmartLipo requires only small incisions to make room for the cannula. You won’t need sutures, and you likely won’t have noticeable marks after the procedure.
- Minimal scars: When done by an experienced surgeon, SmartLipo leaves only minimal to no scars behind. The cannula used to insert the laser and suction the fat is so thin that the incisions can be very small.
- Immediate results: It’s common to notice immediate results from the laser liposuction procedure. Even if you can’t tell the difference right away, you’ll notice them very soon after the procedure.
- Short recovery time: Don’t have time for a long recovery? SmartLipo can get you back to work very quickly. The recovery time is much shorter than traditional liposuction, since you don’t have to go under general anesthesia and the procedure isn’t as intense.
- Reshaping of trouble spots: The procedure helps you achieve the look you want in areas that haven’t responded to your diet and exercise attempts. It’s an easy way to shape your body to get smooth results.
- Firmer skin: Getting rid of fat can leave behind saggy or loose skin. The SmartLipo procedure helps firm up that skin, so you feel more confident showing off your newly reshaped figure.
- Precision: The laser used for SmartLipo is very accurate, which means the doctor can target specific areas safely.
What Is It Like to Get SmartLipo?
Before you actually get your SmartLipo procedure, you will have a consultation with the surgeon. This consultation is a way to ensure you are a good candidate. Your surgeon will also go over any lifestyle changes you should make to ensure the success of the procedure. This might include quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol or improving your diet.
Your surgery happens on another day, which you schedule in advance. The procedure happens on an outpatient basis, so you can expect to head home to recover after the appointment. You’ll receive local anesthetics in the area being treated, so you feel comfortable without being put under general anesthesia.
When you arrive, the staff will take before photos of your body. These photos help you see the results after the recovery process. Next, the surgeon marks the areas targeted for the procedure, including spots for the incisions.
Before making the incisions for the laser and liposuction cannulas, the surgeon will numb the areas of incision. After the incisions are made, the surgeon injects a liquid that includes local anesthesia to ensure the entire area is numbed. Once the anesthesia takes full effect, the surgeon inserts a laser probe and moves it back and forth in the fat layer. This laser melts the fat to make it easier to remove from the body. The doctor then uses another cannula to suction the melted fat out of the body.
Once complete, the area is cleaned well and disinfected to prevent infection. You may have some numbness right after the procedure, but it should wear off quickly.
You will also receive paperwork about the recovery process. Listen to the information provided before and after the procedure to minimize the potential for side effects. This is also your chance to ask any questions you have about the recovery and what you need to do.
Expect the procedure to last around two hours for each area being treated. If you’re only having SmartLipo performed on one area, you can be in and out of the office quickly, since the process is on an outpatient basis.
Bring loose clothing to wear home after the procedure. Tight clothing won’t feel comfortable, especially if you have swelling. Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure. Even though SmartLipo uses local anesthesia, you won’t be up for driving afterward due to pain medication that you may receive prior and during the procedure.
The SmartLipo Recovery Process
People who have the SmartLipo procedure done have a relatively short recovery process. You may have some minor discomfort, bruising and swelling, so plan to take a little time off work. Most people can return to work two or three days after the procedure. Your recovery time depends largely on which areas of your body you’ve had treated. If you have SmartLipo on one or two small areas, you’ll likely be back to normal much faster than you would if you had a larger area done.
Swelling can last up to two weeks following the procedure. After the swelling subsides, you can usually return to your normal activities, but it’s a good idea to ask your surgeon and follow all recommendations.
Get back to your normal life faster with these SmartLipo recovery tips.
- Prep for your recovery: Get your home ready for the rest and recovery period. Make sure you have a quiet, comfortable place to rest. Gather any medical supplies you’ll need and some entertainment like books or magazines. Keep an extra phone charger nearby, so you can keep in touch with the world.
- Follow the instructions: Your doctor will give you a set of detailed recovery instructions to ensure the procedure is successful and your recovery time is minimal. Listen to those instructions and follow them very carefully. If you have any questions about what you’re supposed to do, follow up with your doctor immediately.
- Get rest: SmartLipo is not as invasive or intense as traditional liposuction, but you still need to give your body time to rest. Clear your schedule for at least a day or two. Give yourself permission to rest and relax while your body recovers.
- Wear compression garments: Compression garments can help minimize swelling and bruising from the procedure and assist in skin tightening.
- Hold off on strenuous exercise: You should be back to your old self in a few days, but hold off on strenuous activities for at least two weeks.
- Stop smoking: If you smoke, it’s a good idea to stop before you have the procedure. Smoking can interfere with the recovery process.
- Check on medications: Work with your surgeon to determine if your regular medications will be a problem during the recovery process. For example, you shouldn’t take any medications that thin the blood, including over-the-counter medications like aspirin, as they can create a bleeding risk.
- Go to your follow-up appointments: Follow-up appointments with your doctor are an important part of the procedure. The doctor examines the areas where SmartLipo was performed to check on healing. Don’t skip these appointments. They’re the best way to ensure you don’t have infections and that the recovery process will be smoothly.
Is SmartLipo Worth It?
Deciding if SmartLipo is worth it for you is a very personal decision. Going through each section of this guide to laser lipo is a good start toward deciding if the procedure is worth it to you. Soak in all of the information, including the pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the cons in your mind, there’s a good chance you will be happy with your decision to have SmartLipo done on your trouble areas.
Another area you need to evaluate heavily is your commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Are you already dedicated to a fitness routine? Does most of your diet consist of healthy, nutritious foods? Do you maintain a stable weight? SmartLipo is not a weight-loss procedure, and it won’t keep fat away permanently if you don’t commit to a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re worried you might fall back into poor diet and exercise habits, SmartLipo may not be worth it to you. The results won’t be noticeable if you skip your workouts and eat unhealthy foods. You’ll essentially throw away your money for temporary results. If you’re worried this might happen to you, take some time to really get into a routine with your workouts and healthy diet. Once you feel confident in your ability to stick with healthy lifestyle changes, SmartLipo may be worth it for you.
Get More Information on SmartLipo
Our guide to laser lipo is a starting point to your exploration of the procedure. If you’re ready to learn more, contact Synergy Wellness Center. Our highly trained professionals are ready to help you look and feel your best. You’ll feel comfortable in our discreet, spa-like environment. Schedule a consultation to determine if SmartLipo is right for you.