In the cosmetic surgery industry, “laser liposuction” is something that has been generating a lot of buzz the past few years, but what is it? Is it safe, how much does it cost, and who is eligible? While getting answers to these questions would be best achieved by consulting with a qualified physician, our goal with this website is to give you a starting point to learn about this unique and popular procedure.
A Brief Overview of Laser Liposuction
There are a few varieties of “laser lipo“ procedures which consist of different applications and methods.
One method involves using low doses of light laser therapy to locations on the body containing fat that is resistant to diet and exercise. The laser energy works to disrupt the membranes of the fat cells so that the fat is easier for the body to use for energy.
Without affecting the skin, blood vessels, or nerves surrounding the fat stores, this process breaks down the cellular structure of fat cells to release Triglycerides which are more easily processed by the body.
With this noninvasive method, high-intensity exercise after the procedure is recommended to burn up the excess fat treated by laser energy. Since the procedure is non-surgical, there is no recovery time and the patient may resume daily routines and activities directly afterward.
Another method uses the same initial approach of breaking down fat cells with laser energy, but follows up with a more traditional liposuction process of sucking out the fat via a tube. This is a surgical procedure, however it is on a smaller scale than traditional liposuction.
There are also specific brands and types of treatment that are unique in their approach, such as VASER and LipoLaser, among others. These methods are patented and require physicians and facilities to adhere to strict standards and procedures. They can involve different technologies as well, such as ultrasound and heat therapy.
Traditional Lipo vs. Laser Lipo
Ordinarily, liposuction consists of an invasive procedure where a large tube is inserted into the body to suck out fat. While laser liposuction can also be invasive, it involves the insertion of a much smaller tube for targeted areas that have been subjected to laser energy. Laser liposuction can be more effective at removing fat from specific regions of the body, but traditional liposuction can usually remove a larger amount of fat.
Compared to traditional liposuction, laser lipo is usually considered significantly less “messy,” because of the smaller incision and the fact that emulsification of the fat prior to extraction can leave the post-surgery skin surfaces smoother and with less risk of cellulite.
A common and undesirable side effect of traditional liposuction, cellulite and lumpy or saggy skin are less common in laser liposuction procedures.
What Are the Risks?
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks of undergoing laser lipo treatment. Some of the most common complications that can arise during the operation are:
- Blistering or burns of the skin which can result in scarring and/or infection.
- Blemishes and irregularities in skin texture and contour which can consist of dimples, warped skin, or sagging.
- Pigmentation of the skin resulting in lightening or darkening that usually fades over time but may require additional treatment in some cases.
How to Minimize Your Risks
Obviously, you only want an experienced, skilled, licensed, vetted, and well-reviewed plastic surgeon operating on your body. Do your research very thoroughly and conduct interviews at multiple locations before making your decision. You also should consider that cosmetic surgery is not always the best option for every patient: it is entirely possible that you can achieve the results you desire with dieting and exercise.
If you do decide that you want the operation, make sure you ask to see a portfolio of before and after images from each plastic surgeon you consult with. Try and get recommendations from patients who have visited a particular doctor and check on websites like Yelp to read reviews and personal accounts from people who have undergone the same procedure.
You should also visit a library and read any books you can about laser liposuction, whether written by plastic surgeons, celebrities who have experienced the procedure, or beauticians, dietitians, and nutritionists. The main thing is to educate yourself as much as possible beforehand so you can make the most informed decision and know exactly what to expect.