Laser liposuction is a newer variety of liposuction that has been seeing much development lately. Though the benefits of laser liposuction over traditional liposuction still aren’t fully understood, laser liposuction provides an alternative means of liposuction that some patients may be attracted to.
In addition, several companies have recently come out with new “laser lipo” technologies that work similarly to laser liposuction, but are not an actual “liposuction” procedure. In this article, we’ll go over laser liposuction in detail, its benefits and drawbacks, some of these “laser lipo” procedures, and what you should know before choosing to receive this procedure.
What Is Laser Liposuction?
Laser liposuction is a procedure that spawned from traditional liposuction, but that works in a slightly different way. Instead of agitating the fat cells in your treatment area with an ultrasonic device or a vibrating cannula, your doctor will use a fiber-optic laser instead. This laser works to melt fat, making for easy removal.
How Does Laser Liposuction Work?
Laser liposuction adds an extra step to the traditional liposuction process. After your doctor has injected tumescent fluid into your treatment areas but before the cannula is used, your doctor will use the fiber-optic laser. This laser uses short bursts of intense energy to melt away fat instead of agitating it.
After the fat is liquefied, the doctor then uses a stationary cannula to vacuum away the liquid. Some laser liposuction devices place the laser on the end of the cannula itself, incorporating the laser and suction process into one step.
In a standard liposuction procedure, an ultrasonic device or an oscillating cannula manually loosens and removes fat cells. However, because the laser doesn’t jostle the flesh in this way, it is intended to cause less trauma to the skin. Some research also shows that using a laser improves skin elasticity and promotes the release of collagen, helping loose skin to tighten and reshape itself after the procedure.
What Areas Can Laser Liposuction Treat?
Laser liposuction can be used on most areas that traditional liposuction can treat. This includes places common liposuction areas like:
There’s no reason why laser-assisted liposuction cannot be used in any area that traditional liposuction can be successful. However, newer laser techniques that are not “true” laser liposuction but are “fat removal” techniques are not always appropriate in all areas of the body. Consult your doctor or specialist to see if your desired treatment is suitable for the area you have in mind.
Who Is Eligible for Laser Liposuction?
As with any liposuction procedure, laser liposuction should not be used on patients that are significantly far from their target weight. Laser liposuction is not a weight loss therapy, and to get the best result, it’s ideal for a patient to be close to or at their target weight already. If they are not, laser liposuction and all other types of liposuction should be put off until they get closer to their target weight.
Laser liposuction purportedly has one major advantage over traditional liposuction, and that is the stimulation of collagen and skin tightening. This means that laser liposuction might be a treatment option for older individuals who might see sagging skin with traditional liposuction techniques. Your doctor should be able to tell you whether or not laser liposuction can benefit you in this way.
While laser liposuction is an option for anyone whose weight is relatively close to their target weight, it may be able to truly shine in those who need the skin-tightening effects of the laser on top of the usual results of liposuction.
Is Laser Liposuction Safe?
Laser liposuction, as a liposuction procedure, is prone to the same risks and complications as traditional liposuction. However, laser liposuction has an extra set of difficulties that should make you think twice before receiving the procedure.
Because of the nature of using a laser, an inexperienced surgeon can cause significant damage during a laser liposuction procedure. If you’re set on laser liposuction, make sure to find a doctor who is certified and experienced at doing the procedure. Lasers can be dangerous tools, and if one is set too hot or exposed to an area for too long, it could result in burning, scarring, charring, and other undesirable side effects.
Statistics show that the chance of complications is higher with laser liposuction than it is with traditional liposuction, and people also come back for revisions more often, meaning that they were more unsatisfied with their previous results. However, this may be due to inexperienced practitioners attempting laser liposuction without proper education beforehand.
Laser liposuction, by nature, also cauterizes the blood vessels in an area when it’s working. This can cause problems down the line if patients want revisions or desire other surgical procedures.
How Much Does Laser Liposuction Cost?
Generally, most patients pay about the same for laser liposuction as they do for traditional – that’s between about $2,500 and $5,000. However, despite these averages being the same, keep in mind that your average laser liposuction procedure will cost more than the same procedure done traditionally.
However, the new “fat removal” techniques on the market that also can be called things like “laser lipo” can vary in price. These procedures tend to cost upwards of $1,000 depending on their efficacy, demand, and popularity.
Some sources have denounced laser-assisted liposuction, saying that it does not have enough positive, verifiable evidence backing it to warrant the additional risks it can pose.
Recovering from Laser Liposuction
The road to recovery from laser liposuction is similar to traditional liposuction treatment. However, some sources do say that laser liposuction gives less downtime, less anesthesia, and smaller incisions. In most cases, laser liposuction recovery will be similar or identical to that of traditional liposuction while accounting for laser liposuction’s other risks and skin-tightening properties.
What Is the Fastest Way to Recover from Laser Liposuction?
Recovering from liposuction, even laser liposuction, is similar to recovering from any sickness or surgery. You should be very careful to do several things following your procedure, such as:
- Taking it easy, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting lots of rest
- Avoiding excessive exercise and stressing your procedure areas, especially the incisions themselves
- Wearing your compression garments as often as your doctor recommends, especially for the first few days
- Taking the vital recovery medications that your doctor prescribes consistently and on-time
There is no secret technique to expediting the laser liposuction recovery process. If there were one, the “secret” to recovering faster would be to listen to your doctor. The directions your doctor will give you will be specifically designed for you, and they will have the experience and know-how to help you heal quickly and thoroughly. If you ask nicely, your doctor may even have some nonstandard recovery tips for you, such as creams or stretches that might be able to stretch your muscles or fade your scars.
Newer “laser lipo” procedures may have vastly different recovery times and recovery methods, however. Several methods of laser lipo that have recently entered the market are non-invasive varieties that kill or empty fat cells from the outside. Thought these procedures may or may not produce the same results as laser liposuction, they have undeniably faster recovery times due to the nature of being non-invasive.
How Long Do Laser Liposuction Results Last?
The results of laser liposuction, like traditional liposuction, are designed to be permanent. When fat cells are removed from the body, they do not grow back – they are lost forever. However, fat cells can also grow and expand in response to your level of diet and exercise. This means that you must keep a healthy lifestyle following your procedure to retain the effects of your operation.
Any procedure where the fat is not fully removed from the body is nonpermanent and prone to returning. Some recent “laser lipo” procedures, for example, simply work to empty your body’s fat cells, excreting their contents so your body can reabsorb them. Since the fat cells are left living and viable within your body, the procedure may require repetition down the road for some people.
If you’re at a place where you’re very close to your target weight already, it should not be difficult for you to keep your weight right around that magic number. However, it is equally important to watch for changes in your body’s nutritional and exercise needs as you mature, especially if you’re a younger patient. These changes can affect the routines you must follow to keep the effects of your laser liposuction procedure.
Laser liposuction, overall, is an intriguing technology that could have many positive implications for the liposuction world. However, due to a lack of regulation in the industry and new procedures coming on the market constantly, the results of these procedures can vary greatly. Even standard laser liposuction is prone to different side effects than normal liposuction, so any patient should know the full extent of these side effects before agreeing to receive the procedure.