SmartLipo | A Safe and Low Impact Liposculpting Solution

One of the first questions we are usually greeted with is, what is SmartLipo™? In short, Smartlipo is a form of liposculpting used to contour your body’s shape.  SmartLipo uses a laser to melt the fat and improve the tightness of the skin in areas improving the look of some of the most . Despite the marketing hype associated with any new form of Liposculpting you should not believe  SmartLipo™ is the magic bullet for everybody.

See Before & After Photos of SmartLipo and Liposuction.


SmartLipo™ is definitely not for everybody. The choice of a body contouring technique depends upon the amount, shape and distribution of fat as well as the quality of the skin overlying the fatty area. Body contouring can requires more than just liposculpting to obtain the desired results. Contouring for you might involve a particular type liposculpting method or require a more extensive surgery for the best obtainable results.

I can give you the best surgical options to get you closer to your desired shape. Liposculpting tools come in many forms and types. There’s liposuction canulas, ultrasonic lipolysis, power assisted liposuction or laser-assisted liposuction, SmartLipo™.   The SmartLipo™ is minimally invasive but is only applicable to individuals who don’t have a great deal of fat to remove and have reasonable skin elasticity.   You can be up to 25 lb over your ideal body weight and be an “ideal” candidate but I have found if you don’t exercise and eat right, 25 lbs is actually stretching it.

Advantages of SmartLipo vs Traditional Liposuction

SmartLipo™  has several advantage over traditional types of liposuctions. There tends to be less bruising and bleeding.  The primary values of the SmartLipo is the ability to tighten skin and to use the laser canula in the superficial aspect of the fat.   Internet hype would lead you to believe that there is less swelling but I haven’t I seen it. Remember any type of surgical procedure is a type of trauma and the body does not stop and say “Oh, this is cosmetic surgery, maybe I shouldn’t swell as much with this type of trauma!” With any type of procedure there will be swelling. The bruising is controlled because the laser coagulates the blood vessels and the fluid I use squeezes blood out of the area.

Another advantage is that it can be done without the use of general anesthesia. Local anesthesia is used. Therefore it can be performed safely in the office. In many cases regular liposuction can be performed safely in the office with local anesthesia.

Because general anesthesia is not used and the patient is not completely unconscious there is a lesser risk than that of liposuction performed under general anesthesia.

Recovery time is shorter. There is generally less discomfort with SmartLipo™ although I could not tell you why.

Beware of physicians posing  as plastic surgeons.  Remember there isn’t an American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.  There is only an American Board of Plastic Surgery.   They are poorly trained.  I seem patients promise things that liposculpting could never accomplish.  Don’t be fooled in to believing that one method fits all circumstances.  Liposcultping does not replace tummy tucks in many people. So beware of the marketing hype and poorly trained physicians.

Myths about SmartLipo

Myth 1: Smartlipo is more traumatic than other types of liposculpting.

There is no evidence from any scientific study or from my personal observation that SmartLipo more destructive than any other type of liposculpting.  The amount of injury to fatty tissue. Thermal injury whether heat (SmartLipo) or cold (CoolSculpt) is still injury.  Whether one uses mechancal energy,( i.e traditional liposuction, Power Assisted Liposuction, SafeLipo™, ultrasonic lipolysis) or thermal energy, (i.e. laser-assisted SmartLipo or Coolscuplt) the damage is the same.  Fat cells are either suctioned out, melted, disrupted or frozen.

Heat however has great benefits that over shadows other techniques.  This benefit is the ability to tighten the skin.  Plenty of studies have documented this phenomenon.

Anyone who claims that one type of liposculpting is more traumatic than another doesn’t have a great deal of knowledge or experience related to liposculpting.  There simply is no difference.  The goals of liposcupting have been the same since its inception in the 1980′s.  Remove the fat and break up the fibrous structure the fat lives in.

A new teaching aid for young inexperienced plastic surgeons is the Acynonym SAFELipo™.  The tenents of SAFELipo™ is to introduce young plastic surgeons to the Three decades of time tests principles of Liposculpting in a easily understood model.

The principle of breaking up the fatty fiborus structure of the unwanted bulge is a principle I learned in the early 1990 when I was in residency program.  Extraction of fat is the obvious attraction of the procedure since its inception in the 1980′s.  And finally breaking up the residual fibrous tissue that contained the fat has been a  common practice in most  plastic surgery practices.  SAFELipo™ is a novel teaching aid but not a novel method of liposculpting.

However, SAFELipo™ should not imply it is a safer type of liposculpting.  It is not.  Again the great equalizer as far as safety and a particular style of liposcupting is the amount of trauma induced and volume of fat removed.

What’s remarkable to me is for any surgeon to try to focus on a nonissue such as one technique for liposculpting is “more traumatic or more damaging” than another is laughable and there is not scientific studies to back such a statement.  But lets say there was even a small amount of difference.  The issue has never been that if one is less traumatic than another that the pain would be worse, the bruising and swelling would be less.  The fact is all types of liposculpting hurts, swells and bruises about the same.  (SmartLipo does seem to me to bruise less, but whether it did or not it wouldn’t make any difference.  The it is such a nonissue if one steps back and look at the remarkable healing power of the body.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the SmartLipo™ work?

SmartLipo™ works by passing a very small canula, 1.0 to 2.0 mm in diameter under the skin.  The canula contains the laser, which melts the fat in front of it.  Part of the reason that this is not a procedure for removing large quantities of fat is that the laser only blasts a 2 mm hole in the fat.  Two millimeters is not as big as the lead you would find in a pencil.  So just imagine only melting pencil lead amounts of fat with each pass.  If there is a lot of fat then it would take you all day to do and produce more trauma.

One SmartLipo™ website states that “little or no fat is reabsorbed back into the body.  I really doubt that.  The excess fat in any amount needs to be gently suctioned out.  Fat is fat and the body will put “loose” fat back into other fat cells otherwise.

What body regions can be treated with SmartLipo™?

SmartLipo™ can be a great adjunct to traditional liposuction procedures and it is ideal for treating small areas of the face, neck, arms, knees, back, bra strap, mons pubis, and breasts. Even though one SmartLipo™ website says it can be used on gynecomastia  (the breast tissue sometimes found in young males) it is not very good.  This is because over 50% of the breast is very fibrous and this does not melt.

How many treatments will I need?

For most candidates, typically only one treatment is required. The session may last from 45 minutes to one hour for each area treated.

Do I have to do anything post-treatment?

After the treatment you will have minimal pain or bruising. We recommend 1-2 days rest. On one SmartLipo™ website they state “but most patients are able to return to work immediately “Lunch Hour Lipo” “.   Assume this is, “marketing hype”.  If done correctly, nobody I ever work on goes back to work the day it has been done!

Does SmartLipo™ treat cellulite?

The procedure will improve the body’s shape and may improve cellulite to a certain degree. Cellulaze  works better.

When can I expect to see results?

Results can be seen shortly after the procedure, but there usually is swelling due to the natural bodies reaction to trauma. This improvement will continue for several months but it is important to resume your exercise activities and healthy eating patterns afterwards.

Does laser-assisted liposuction produce lasting results?

Yes, if you don’t gain much weight afterwards.  Adults do not create new fat cells. When you gain weight the fat will be deposited in areas where the procedure was not performed.  In extreme weight gain a small amount of fat will deposit  in the areas sculpted.  Some women gain a ½ cup size or more in their breast if they gain weight.  *Aest. Plast. Surg. 26:335-339, 2002

I am an ideal candidate! What are the Advantages of SmartLipo™?
Here are the key advantages:

  • Less downtime
  • Minimal discomfort
  • During the procedure, there is no pain. There may be a slight stinging where a local anesthesia is injected to introduce the canula as well as a pressure sensation when the anesthetic fluid is introduced.  After the anesthesia has worn off, there will be minimal bruising and stinging soreness that is well controlled with pain relievers.  The bruises too are much less with SmartLipo™.
  • Skin Tightening

Post-Operative Care:

Compression garments are applied to minimize the bruising and help control some swelling.    I believe compression garment are necessary with any form of liposculpting to aid in maintaining the shape of the underlying tissues as they heal.

Safety and Complications:

SmartLipo™ is as safe as traditional liposuction and other liposculpting techniques.