If you have been considering liposuction, during your research you may have come across the term “smart lipo” and are wondering what is smart lipo?. Essentially, smart lipo is a form of liposuction that is less invasive than the traditional form. This treatment for excess fat cells, which can be performed by Eric Bachelor, MD in Pleasanton, CA, could be extremely beneficial to someone looking for a treatment that is not as extensive as traditional liposuction.
What is Smart Lipo?
Smart lipo is a type of liposuction that involves a laser that destroys fat cells. The laser’s energy turns the fat to liquid, which is then sucked out through a small tube known as a cannula. Melting the fat and turning it to liquid allows more fat to be removed in a shorter amount of time than with traditional lipo. Additionally, there is very little trauma to the surrounding tissue with smart lip when compared with the traditional treatment.
Prior to making the incisions for the cannula, your provider will numb the treatment area or areas. Once the area or areas are numb, a local anesthetic will be injected into the incision sites. After the anesthesia takes effect and the incisions are made, a laser will be inserted into an incision and moved back and forth to melt the fat. Then, the cannula will be inserted and the liquid fat removed from the body through the cannula.
There are several benefits to Smart lipo over traditional lipo, some of which have already been briefly mentioned. The main benefit is that Smart lipo is much easier on the body than traditional lipo. By liquifying the fat instead of tearing it away, as is done with the traditional treatment, the surrounding tissue does not get as damaged. There is less bleeding and swelling as well, which means there will be a faster, more comfortable recovery.
Another benefit is that the heat from the laser promotes skin tightening, so your skin will not be baggy as it sometimes can be when fat is removed through the traditional method. Moreover, your skin’s health will actually improve with the use of the laser because the heat promotes collagen production, which means your skin will continue to look smoother, fuller, and healthier as the new skin comes to the surface over the next few weeks following your treatment.
Traditional liposuction typically requires general anesthesia, but Smart lipo can usually be administered under a local anesthetic. You won’t be asleep during the treatment, so you won’t have to spend time in an anesthesia recovery room. Therefore, not only is the treatment itself quicker than traditional lipo, but the recovery from anesthesia is non-existent. Furthermore, no general anesthesia means no general anesthesia costs as well, meaning your costs for Smart lipo are typically going to be less.
When thinking about what is Smart lipo, you probably want to know what areas can be treated. Almost all areas of the body can safely be treated with Smart lipo, but some of the more popular areas include the following:
- Love handles
Smart lipo is appropriate for people who are looking to remove a small-to-moderate amount of fat from these and other areas. Smaller areas can be targeted with Smart lipo because the laser is so precise that it can remove fat from even the most delicate parts of the body. In fact, the incisions that are made to accommodate the small cannula are so tiny that they often do not even need sutures to close.
The areas listed above are those that tend to retain fat even with exercise and a healthy diet, which is why they are often ideal for Smart lipo treatment. After the procedure, you aren’t going to see much of a weight loss on the scale because this treatment is more about sculpting and smoothing than it is about weight loss. The sculpted results you get may lead to smaller clothing sizes, though, because of the new shape of your body.
Treatment Time and Number of Treatments
The time it takes to undergo a treatment of Smart lipo varies based on how many areas you’re having treated and how much fat needs to be removed. However, most treatments take between two and three hours, with each treatment area requiring 45 minutes to an hour. Traditional liposuction surgery typically takes three hours, but you’ll also need 30 minutes for preparation and at least 30 minutes for anesthesia recovery, meaning the entire process can take four hours or longer.
Most people only need one Smart lipo treatment and will see immediate results following the session. They will also continue to see improvement over the next three to six months. While only one treatment is usually necessary, Smart lipo can be used for touchups if desired. These sessions will also last about 45 minutes or so per area, but there will probably be less fat to remove, so they may even take less time than the initial treatment.
One of the nicest parts about Smart lipo is that it is an office treatment, so you don’t have to stay in a hospital as you might have to do with traditional liposuction. While most traditional liposuction is performed on an outpatient basis, the administration of general anesthesia means that it could be transitioned to an inpatient treatment if surgical complications arise. Smart lipo is performed under local anesthesia, so is a safe office-based treatment.
To prepare for a Smart lipo treatment, the first step will be a consultation with your provider to ensure you are a good candidate for the treatment. The provider will examine your treatment areas, go over your lifestyle, and provide other information like alternatives to this treatment, costs, recovery, and risks. They might also talk to you about some changes you can make to your lifestyle to ensure the results you achieve are permanent.
If you and your provider agree that Smart lipo is the right treatment for you, then you’ll schedule your treatment appointment for another day. On that day, you will arrive at the clinic and get your “before” pictures taken so you can see the results in visual form. Then, your provider will mark the areas to be treated with a marker to indicate the incision points. That’s all the preparation that is necessary for a Smart lipo treatment.
As with traditional liposuction, the results from Smart lipo are permanent as long as you maintain your current weight. No liposuction is meant as a weight loss solution, so if you are overweight, this treatment is probably not for you. Even though the laser destroys the fat cells in the treatment area, if you gain weight after treatment, your body will create new fat cells, which will then result in an increase in body fat.
You will continue to see improvement in the treated areas for up to a year, so you will need to remain patient after treatment. As mentioned previously, you will see immediate results, but the areas will become firmer and smoother with time. The more fat that was removed, the longer it takes for maximum effect. The results that are gradually achieved for the 12 months following treatment are considered permanent, with the caveat that weight gain can negate the results.
Unlike traditional liposuction, you may see a reduction of cellulite with Smart lipo because the laser’s heat tightens up skin, which can be a cause of cellulite. Additionally, the laser stimulates the production of collagen, which is the body’s natural rejuvenation substance, and will make your skin look smoother and healthier. When it comes to what is Smart lipo, you can say that it is definitely a cellulite reducer as well as a fat eliminator!
Recovery from Smart lipo is extremely quick, as the laser does not damage the surrounding tissue as happens with traditional liposuction. Compression garments may be prescribed following the treatments to promote blood circulation in the area, but these are comfortable to wear. You will be instructed not to strenuously exercise in the immediate aftermath of treatment (for 14 days), but light exercise is fine and will actually promote healing. There will also be a follow-up appointment to check your progress.
The cost of Smart lipo varies. It depends what areas you wish to have treated, and how much of a change you want to see. Though it can seem comparatively expensive when compared with traditional liposuction, you should remember that with Smart lipo you will not have to undergo general anesthesia, which cuts down on the additional costs that you would have to deal with if you chose a traditional lipo procedure.
Candidates for Smart Lipo
Even though Smart lipo is an extremely safe treatment, not everyone is a good candidate. To be considered for the treatment, you should be at a stable weight and have completed most of your weight loss journey. Ideally, providers want you to be within 20 to 30 pounds of your goal weight before considering any kind of liposuction treatment. This is because significant weight loss or gain after a treatment can dramatically affect your results.
Overall, you should be in good health and have good exercise and dietary habits. These habits will ensure that the results you achieve from a liposuction treatment are permanent. The best candidates are non-smokers, have good muscle tone, and have relatively elastic skin. These characteristics will help you recover even faster from the treatments. Additionally, having realistic expectations about the outcome of the treatment will ensure that you are patient and positive as the results continue to appear.
Both men and women tolerate the treatments well, so gender is not a factor in whether you are a good candidate for Smart lipo or not. The main considerations are your current health and lifestyle. As mentioned previously, liposuction of any kind is not intended as a weight loss solution. Therefore, only people who are using it to remove that last bit of stubborn fat that has not responded to diet and exercise should consider liposuction.
The Smart Way To Lose Fat
So, what is Smart lipo? It is an excellent alternative to traditional liposuction that makes sense for a lot of people who want to contour their bodies and have tried everything else, including diet and exercise. While it’s not for everyone, it certainly can make troublesome fat disappear for many men and women who are looking to finalize their weight loss journey. Contact Eric Bachelor, MD, in Pleasanton, CA today to schedule an appointment with our friendly representatives. You’ll be glad you did!