No matter how hard I work out and watch my diet, I always have fat around my waist that I don’t like. Every year it gets worse, especially after the holidays. I also don’t like my double chin, and most women I know feel the same way about their hips, thighs and buttocks.
Like many of you I have thought that liposuction would be a great way to get rid of the belly fat or spare tire, but old time liposuction is a very traumatic operation. Many people who have had liposuction complain of a painful recovery, have bruising for many weeks, and are often left with loose skin and lumps, bumps, and skin irregularities after liposuction.
I have been using the new laser liposuction technique called SlimLipo for almost a year and have been very impressed with the results. The new laser lipo technique leaves the skin looking smooth after liposuction. Laser lipo also tightens the skin as the fat is melted by the laser fiber which is placed under the skin. Thus the fat is much easier to remove after laser lipo than with the old time liposuction techniques.
How Does Laser Lipo or Laser Liposuction Work?
Laser lipo is a technique for removing excess or unwanted fat from beneath the skin in certain areas of the body. Most commonly laser lipo or laser liposuction is done to remove belly fat from the tummy, chin or neck fat in a double chin, and fat from the inside of the thighs, outside of the hips, and the buttocks, knees and arms.
The laser lipo liposuction procedure involves placing a tiny laser lipo fiber beneath the skin into the fat pockets under the skin, and melting the fat with laser energy. Laser lipo melts the fat into a liquid which is much easier for the plastic surgeon to remove than with traditional liposuction methods. Because the fat is a liquid it can be removed with a very tiny tube called a cannula. The cannulas used after laser lipo are 2-3 millimeters in diameter, less than half the size of the cannulas often used in old time liposuction.
The heat from the laser lipo laser fiber not only melts or liquefies the fat, but laser lipo also tightens the skin as the laser lipo procedure is done. This prevents the loose skin that is so common after traditional liposuction techniques.
Why is Laser Lipo Better than Old Time Liposuction?
While traditional non-laser liposuction has been very successful for removing fat and improving body contour, many patients are disappointed by loose or irregular skin after liposuction. As many as 20% of patients who have traditional liposuction complain of lumps, bumps, swellings, wavy lines or skin irregularities after recovering from liposuction. Plastic surgeons call these problems contour deformities. If you check your surgical consent given you before non-laser liposuction, you will read that these deformities are expected in a certain percentage of cases.
In my experience to date I have been truly amazed at how smooth the skin of my patients is after laser lipo liposuction. My opinion, based on my anecdotal experience, is that because the fat is liquefied by the laser lipo fiber before removal, the fat removal process is more uniform. Non-laser liposuction cannulas actually use strong suction pressure to pull, avulse or rip fat from beneath the skin. This technique not only causes trauma to the skin, but also leaves skipped or missed areas of fat which appear as lumps and bumps on the skin afterwards. See before and after picture below of laser lipo correction of skin deformities (circled in purple) that had been caused by old time liposuction done two years before.Before and after pictures of laser lipo skin smoothing of abdomen. The patient had an old time liposuction 1 year before and was left with lumps and bumps which are outlined in purple on the left. On the right after laser lipo the skin is significantly smoother.
In addition, the laser lipo fiber produces heat beneath the skin which not only melts fat but also tightens the skin. This skin tightening achieved by the laser lipo laser liposculpture method helps prevent the problem of loose skin after non-laser liposuction. This is a major advance in liposuction technique in my opinion.
While skin tightening has been possible with invasive ultrasound non-laser liposuction technology, the size of the ultrasound probe and the risk of skin burn, has limited the use of this technique to the abdomen. The laser lipo fiber is so small that it can be used in any body area that can be treated with liposuction.
How is laser Lipo Done?
Laser Lipos can be done under local or general anesthesia. The most important thing is that your laser lipo liposuction be done in an approved, licensed, operating room where strict sterile and surgical precautions are used. Resist the temptation to bargain shop for a low priced laser liposuction in an office. You may save money but you could lose your life to an infection.
Prior to your laser lipo liposuction procedure, a small needle will be inserted beneath your skin and a special liposuction fluid called tumescent fluid is instilled beneath the skin. The purpose of this tumescent fluid is to minimize bleeding, provide pain control for up to 24 hours, and to loosen or prepare the fat beneath the skin for later removal. The fluid causes the skin to bulge or tumesce, which makes the movement of the laser lipo fiber easier through the fat layer.
Next, very tiny holes are placed in hidden locations on your skin, for example inside the belly button, to allow the laser lipo fiber to be placed into the fat beneath the skin. The laser is turned on and the fiber is moved back and forth in the fat to dissolve the fat and tighten the skin.
After the laser lipo fiber has dissolved the fat beneath the skin, a small tube, the cannula is inserted beneath the skin and the fat removed by suction. Because the fat is now liquid, I use a small syringe to remove the fat and do not usually use the more powerful liposuction machine, unless I am treating a large area.
When finished, the tiny entrance holes are closed with one suture or a stere-strip. The area that has been treated will be placed in a tight compressive garment to support the skin.
After a brief stay in the recovery room to make sure you feel well and are stable, you will be discharged home. Usually you will return to the office in 4-5 days for an exam and suture removal if any were placed. I will ask you to bring your own garment such as a “Spanks” or other tight garment to wear home after your first office visit.
How Long Is the Recovery from Laser Lipo?
You will be up and and around, able to walk, eat, use the bathroom and perform other normal activities right after your procedure. I do ask you not to do strenuous physical exercise or heavy lifting for about a week.
In my experience, there is less bruising with laser lipo or laser liposuction than with traditional liposuction. If you do have bruising, it will likely be gone in 10 days to two weeks. I have not seen the prolonged bruising and swelling that I have seen in the past with regular liposuction.
Which Laser Lipo Machine Is Best?
I use the SlimLipo laser lipo machine made by Palomar medical. The SlimLipo laser lipo or liposuction technique uses a patented 924nm (nm stands for nanometer which is one millionth of a meter and is used to describe laser wavelength) laser wavelength. The 924nm laser wavelength is absorbed specifically by fat, and 3-5 times as much fat is released or liquefied with the 924nm laser wavelength as with other laser wavelengths used in laser lipo, the 1064nm and 1308nm laser wavelengths.
How Do I Find the Right Doctor to Do Laser Lipo?
I recommend that you consult 2 plastic surgeons that are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. There are many different doctors who advertise and do laser lipo. However, any procedure which involves treatment beneath the skin is considered surgery, and if you are having surgery of any kind, you want a board certified surgeon taking care of you. Board certified plastic surgeons spend 5-7 years of training and 2-3 years of experience before they are allowed to take the certifying examinations.
Plastic surgeons spend years learning how to provide safe surgical care and have the expertise and ability to achieve good aesthetic results. Most importantly, if anything goes wrong, they have the experience to take care of you, unlike some physicians who have never had surgical training.
Laser lipo is an exciting, remarkable, revolutionary new technique in liposuction, body contouring and body sculpting. In my personal experience it has many advantages over old time liposuction techniques.
If you are considering liposuction, please do your homework and choose an expert. The links below are excellent resources for finding the best doctor for your laser lipo procedure:
American Board of Plastic Surgery
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