What Is Laser Liposuction?
Laser liposuction is one of many advances in liposuction surgery, which is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery procedures in the United States and many other countries. Other advances include water-assisted liposuction (Body-Jet) and ultrasound-assisted liposuction procedures such as Vaser-assisted liposuction.
Laser-assisted liposuction uses laser energy. The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia or sedation anesthesia, depending on the amount of fat that will be removed.
The concept is simple: lasers heat the fat, turning it semi-soft and making it easier to remove via liposuction.
Just as in traditional liposuction, fluid is first injected under the skin in the area where fat is to be removed. This fluid contains a mixture of saline, local anesthetic and epinephrine (which constricts blood vessels and minimizes blood loss).
Next, the laser energy is applied, and fat is suctioned from the body via cannulas (thin tubes) inserted through small incisions in the skin.
In addition to softening the fat for easier removal, the laser energy heats skin cells, stimulating the production of collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin, but its production slows with advancing age. Thus, by promoting the production of collagen, the laser energy is believed to not only aid in the removal of fat but also improve the skin's appearance.
Does Lipo Laser Surgery Work?
While your appearance will be altered initially, cosmetic surgery is not an alternative to maintaining a healthy diet and exercising.
It is important to be aware that while lipo laser may be able to change the shape of your body, it cannot address lifestyle issues. In addition it will not reduce the appearance of cellulite or stretch marks. As with all surgical procedures, there are also several risks and complications involved, including infection, blood clots, and scarring.
It is far better to make long term lifestyle changes and lose weight though eating less and moving more.
What Are the Considerations Before Lipo Laser Surgery?
- You must usually be over 18 and in good general health.
- You should have an ongoing diet and exercise regime.
- Fat must be in certain specific body areas.
- Older people may find skin stays saggy.
Results of Laser Liposuction
After the procedure, you will likely notice a better silhouette and profile in the treated areas. Results can be noticeable after a week with laser liposuction, while traditional liposuction can take two to four weeks. The results may be more immediate with laser lipo because the fat removal is reported to be less traumatic. Besides a reduction in the amount of fat, you can hope for some improvement in skin tightness. Advocates consider this a plus over traditional liposuction. It may be several weeks to months before you notice the skin changes because it takes time for the body to produce new collagen. It is the new collagen that gives the skin a tighter-looking appearance.
Bruising can be less extensive with laser liposuction than with traditional lipo because lasers can coagulate small blood vessels.
Swelling should be expected, and your doctor may order a compression garment be worn for a variable period of time.
You can expect to be back to your normal activities in three to five days. Strenuous exercise should be put off for three or four weeks, typically. Ask your surgeon for specific advice.
Risks of Laser Liposuction
Some laser liposuction risks are the same as traditional liposuction risks, including possible irregularity in your skin contour. Fluid can collect beneath the skin. Infection, scars, blisters and burns are other possibilities. Added to these is the potential for fat necrosis (death of fat cells) when a laser is used. In addition, you may not be happy with the amount of fat removed, and the improvement in your skin's appearance may not be as great as you had hoped for. Be sure to carefully consider every risk of liposuction before deciding to undergo the procedure.
Laser liposuction does have its fair share of critics. Many board-certified plastic surgeons will tell you that it's just a gimmick that adds little to the effects of traditional liposuction while increasing the expense. The skeptics are quick to point out that there is no scientific evidence that laser lipo improves outcomes, tightens skin or speeds recovery.