Liposuction was developed in the 1970s in Italy as a way for people to effectively remove fat from problem areas that do not respond to traditional weight loss techniques. The procedure gained rapid popularity over the years, soon becoming the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the US. New technology helped increase the effectiveness and simplicity of liposuction, including the introduction of tumescent anesthesia and laser energy.
Laser lipolysis is a pioneering technology in liposuction that offers a less invasive alternative to the traditional procedure. LaserSculpt is performed using the Smartlipo Laser, manufactured by Cynosure or the SlimLipo manufactured by Palamar, and is the first laser liposuction procedure cleared by the FDA. Since its clearance in November 2006, Lasersculpt has become one of the fastest-growing procedures in the US, successfully offering a safer, more affordable and more effective choice for patients considering liposuction.
Some of benefits of LaserSculpt include:
Traditional liposuction is a complex surgical procedure that involves the use of general anesthesia and incisions that must be stitched up. During this procedure, solid fat cells are suctioned out of the body through a large cannula, or tube, which is 4 to 6 millimeters in diameter. After the fat cells are removed, the area is stitched up. Bleeding can occur during and after the procedure. The patient is bruised for weeks, swollen for months and in pain for days.
LaserSculpt uses laser energy that is delivered to the targeted area through a cannula that is 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter. Companies like Cynosure have developed FDA cleared laser lipolysis devices that deliver laser energy which destroy the fat cells by melting them and then draining them from the body or allowing them to be absorbed by the lymphatic system. LaserSculpt can be performed under local anesthetic and does not require any stitches. Patients usually experience little to no bruising or pain.
After traditional liposuction, patients recover from the effects of the general anesthesia before returning home. They must rest for a few days before returning to work and are advised to stay home from work for about a week. Any lifting, bending or twisting should be avoided for several weeks.
With LaserSculpt, many patients can often return to work the very same day with no downtime. LaserSculpt is often referred to as “lunchtime lipo”, because of its quick and convenient recovery time. Some patients may need one or two days of rest before returning to work, which is still significantly less than with traditional liposuction.
Traditional liposuction often leaves patients with bruising and swelling that can last for several weeks or months after the procedure because of the larger cannula size and invasive suction procedure. The small cannula used in the LaserSculpt procedure, not much bigger than a large syringe needle, is inserted through a tiny puncture in the skin that does not require stitching or any other type of closure.
Excess bleeding is one of the risks of traditional liposuction, a side effect that can occur for the first few days after surgery. During the LaserSculpt procedure, heat from the laser seals the blood vessels almost immediately after they are cut, dramatically reducing bleeding and bruising during and after the procedure, making compression garments an optional precautionary measure. Compression garments are required to be worn for several weeks after traditional liposuction.
LaserSculpt can provide more precise fat removal from your specific target areas. The laser technology allows your doctor to reach areas once considered challenging and visibly see where the fat will be melted.
The results of LaserSculpt are often visible immediately, and continue to improve over the next few months. After three months, the incision scars have usually faded and are not visible to others. LaserSculpt produces effective results that improve your overall appearance by treating pesky problem areas. LaserSculpt also helps tighten the skin after fat is removed by causing the surrounding tissue to coagulate and the collagen and tissue to appear more firm and supportive.
Traditional liposuction often leaves skin in the treated area loose and sagging. Many patients undergo additional procedures to tighten the excess skin, further adding to the cost and healing time of liposuction.
The LaserSculpt is considerably less expensive than traditional liposuction. The simpler techniques used help keep costs down for both patient and doctor. LaserSculpt costs up to 30 percent less than traditional liposuction. For example, the average abdomen liposuction procedure can cost over $6,500, while an average abdomen LaserSculpt procedure costs about $4,000.