Excess fat can be the bane of a successful dieter. Even once you’ve lost the weight, there may some areas that are still a little too pleasingly plump. Or perhaps nature gifted you with a bit of excess fat that just won’t go away despite all your efforts. SmartLipo may be just the tool you need to solve these problems.
SmartLipo combines liposuction with laser technology. This revolutionary technique has been in use for some years in Europe and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2006. SmartLipo allows very delicate and precise fat removal, even in areas of the body where you would not normally expect liposuction to be successful. The laser used in SmartLipo literally dissolves fat deposits in the upper layers of the human skin. The melted fat can be suctioned or otherwise removed by the surgeon, or may be gradually absorbed by the body. As long as the patient maintains a healthy diet and exercise program, the fat loss is permanent. The laser also helps increase collagen production in the skin. Collagen is the substance that helps provide firmness and keeps the skin smooth and supple.
A SmartLipo treatment begins with a discussion of the risks and benefits of the procedure. You should discuss all aspects of the treatment thoroughly and ask any questions you have so that you have a full understanding of the treatment. You will sign a consent to that effect before the procedure is begun. You may also need to have someone to drive you home, so be sure to clarify that when you schedule the procedure. It is also helpful to fill your prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medication before the surgery so they are readily available after the procedure.
How Does the Procedure Work?
After your skin is carefully cleansed to help prevent infection, the surgeon applies a local anesthetic to the target area. A tiny tube called a cannula is inserted into a small opening made in the skin with a scalpel. The laser is then attached to the cannula, and the laser beam is projected over the target cells, which immediately converts them into an oily solution. If you choose, the surgeon can then suction up this fat. Removing the fat rather than waiting for it to be reabsorbed by the body does seem to speed up the healing process. However, you can also let your body take care of the process if you wish.
How Long Does It Take?
One treatment generally takes about an hour, and you will usually remain in the treatment area for about two hours; a precautionary measure to ensure you don’t have any reactions or problems. You should be able to resume your normal activities the next day.
After the Procedure
In most cases, your aftercare instructions will include the following:
~ Don’t drink alcohol for at least 12 hours.
~ Don’t rub or massage the treated area, even gently, for at least twelve days. Heavy massage should be avoided for at least 5 months.
~ Take all of the antibiotics you have been prescribed.
~ Follow your doctor’s instructions about dressings; do not remove bandages early, as this may increase the risk of blood clots or impair tissue healing.
~ Don’t smoke, take anti-inflammatory medications or blood-thinners.
~ Avoid vigorous exercise for at least two weeks.
~ Report any problems or concerns to your doctor.
Risks and Complications
Although SmartLipo is generally considered to be a safe and reliable practice, no medical treatment is entirely risk-free. Bleeding, infection, numbness and tissue damage are the most common complications. Minor bruising, swelling, inflammation and pain are normal, and these symptoms typically subside within a week or so. Since SmartLipo is a less invasive and traumatic procedure than standard liposuction, complications are also less likely.
How Do I Know If I’m a Candidate?
Anyone — male or female — who has fatty deposits they want to but can’t get rid of is a candidate for SmartLipo. Your plastic surgeon will also determine whether you are medically fit for the procedure. Ideal candidates have good skin elasticity and are otherwise healthy. Although SmartLipo can be used in any area of the body, most patients target areas such as thighs, abdomen, buttocks, upper arms, neck and chin.
Although money is always a consideration, choose your surgeon based on competence, qualifications and referrals from other patients. Ask to see before and after pictures of procedures similar to yours. SmartLipo costs vary depending on the patient, the area being treated and the geographic location in which the treatment is performed. Costs are generally higher in large cities on the coasts. In general costs range from about $2,500 to $7500 per treatment. Since this is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is usually not covered by insurance.