The Surgeon Minute

Liposuction That Melts Fat and Tightens Skin? SmartLipo!

Liposuction That Melts Fat and Tightens Skin? SmartLipo!

Liposuction has entered a new era. There’s now a procedure that melts fat and tightens skin – all in the same operation. Dr. Christine Petti explains how.

Liposuction technology has come a long way over the past several decades, with the advent of everything from ultrasound-assisted liposuction to power-assisted, tumescent, body-jet and even microcannula liposuction. Now, another new technique called SmartLipoâ„¢ uses laser energy to liquify fat and tighten skin.

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“SmartLipo is a procedure that’s very popular and gives a great result,” notes California-based plastic surgeon Dr. Christine Petti, who uses SmartLipo in her practice.

During a Smartlipo Laser Body Sculpting Laserlipolysis procedure, a plastic surgeon inserts a lightweight, flexible wand tool into fatty tissue and melts the patient’s fat by using a specific laser wavelength. A separate tube sucks away the fat, as with traditional liposuction. Then, the surgeon uses a different laser wavelength to create heat under the dermis, which causes the skin collagen to contract.  This second step eliminates the time-honored problem of patients dealing with loose skin after liposuction. The skin contraction process continues over a period of three to six months.

“That’s what attracted me in being able to offer this to my patients, because tightening the skin has always been the dilemma of liposuction,” Dr. Petti says. “You have now the prospect of offering the patient a procedure where you can both contour the fat and tighten the skin. And this way, they don’t have the scars that are associated with a tummy tuck.”

Dr. Petti said another reason she found the SmartLipo procedure attractive was that the patient only requires a local anesthesia. Other liposuction procedures can involve bigger tools or a more cumbersome surgery, making it necessary for patients to undergo general anesthesia.

“They’re just comfortable and they’re lightly sedated and they’re monitored,” Dr. Petti says about SmartLipo patients. “But after the procedure, they can get up and put their garment on – we assist them with that, and then they can leave and they can go back to their normal activities in a day.”

Dr. Petti notes that SmartLipo is best administered by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Such surgeons, she explains, are not only qualified for liposuction but for other related operations that may be more suitable for the patient, such as a tummy tuck. In addition, she cautions that SmartLipo should not be considered the best option for every liposuction procedure. Patients should ideally seek out a surgeon who offers several different technologies in their practice, to ensure the doctor uses the most appropriate tool or technique for the patient’s individual needs.

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