We often have patients requesting information about the differences between Traditional Liposuction and Laser Assisted Liposuction using SmartLipo Triplex. Like any procedure, they both have advantages and disadvantages. In addition, like any surgical procedure, they each have possible risks and complications associated with them. It is important to understand that the outcome of any surgical procedure is highly influenced by the skills and experience of the surgeon, not only by the technology used.
Traditional liposuction is often performed under general anesthesia, which increases the risk of complications and the cost (because of associated anesthesiologist fees.) It also has a much higher risk of contour irregularities (lumps and bumps) and skin laxity (sagging of the skin) when compared to SmartLipo Triplex Liposculpture. One of the most important differences for patients to understand it is that SmartLipo is an extra step added to Liposuction. This means you get the benefits of Traditional Liposuction but by adding new technology you also get the benefits of less bleeding, less bruising, greater skin tightening and a much rapid recovery time. Most importantly, you decrease the risks and complications that are associated with Traditional Liposuction.
SmartLipo Triplex liposuction at our center is performed while you are awake, using local tumescent anesthesia, eliminating the risks and costs associated with general anesthesia.
There are many misconceptions about SmartLipo Triplex Liposuction, on the part of both patients and doctors. Most of the misconceptions stem from a lack of understanding for the system and a reluctance to change current practices. SmartLipo Triplex Liposuction has demonstrated superior results over Traditional Liposuction *. This is due to several benefits that the laser provides:
- Liquefying the fat cells before suctioning them out decreases the risk of contour irregularities. This results in a much smoother skin surface.
- Bleeding under the skin is decreased by the cauterization of tiny capillaries using the laser. Thus, SmartLipo Triplex gives less bruising and inflammatory changes, therefore less pain, and a faster recovery time.
- Thermal stimulation of collagen fibers results in decreased skin sagginess and a much tighter appearance of the areas treated by SmartLipo Triplex.
Some patients are concerned about burns with use of the SmartLipo Triplex Laser. Even though burns are a possible risk associated with any laser-assisted or ultrasound assisted liposuction procedure, SmartLipo Triplex uses a patented and exclusive technology called the “Thermaguide System.” The Thermaguide is a “thermometer sheath” that surrounds the laser fiber under the skin letting the surgeon know in real time the temperature of the tissues as the laser is treating the areas. The SmartLipo Triplex alerts the surgeon when the desired temperature to melt fat and stimulate collagen has been reached and minimizes the risk of burns or damage to the skin by stopping the laser if the tissues get too warm.
Many scientific papers have been published about the use of SmartLipo Laser Assisted Liposuction and its benefits (please see last page) over Traditional Liposuction. Here are some of the conclusions from several of these articles:
- In 2002 Dr. Badin published a scientific paper in The Journal of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery titled “Laser Lipolysis: Flaccidity Under Control.” Dr. Badin described the changes that occur under the skin when treated with SmartLipo. The fat cells were destroyed, blood vessels were coagulated and new collagen was produced. He also concluded that these changes under the skin correlated with clinically significant changes, such as decreased size of the areas treated, less blood loss, less bruising and improved skin tightening.
- In addition, in 2002 Dr. Goldman demonstrated through treating 1,734 patients (313 men, 1421 women) with the SmartLipo Laser system that they obtained less blood loss, less bruising, improved patient comfort and improved fat reduction when compared to Traditional Liposuction *.
- In 2006, Drs. Kim and Geronemus used MRI to evaluate fat reduction after Laser-Assisted Liposuction and concluded that it results in much greater volume reduction of fat with faster recovery times and significant skin retraction.
- In 2008, Drs. McBean and Katz studied the SmartLipo system for liposuction. Their research investigated the efficacy of fat cell reduction, the safety of the device and the resulting skin tightening from production of new collagen. After treatment with SmartLipo, they used direct measurement of the areas as well as MRI scanning to conclude that at one and three months there was significant reduction of localized fat cells with no adverse effects, significant skin tightening and new collagen formation.
- In 2009, Dr. DiBernardo published a remarkable paper in the Aesthetic Surgical Journal titled “Evaluation of Skin Tightening after Laser Assisted Liposuction.” In this paper, Dr. Dibernardo treated half of the abdomen of patients using liposuction alone and the other half of the abdomen with SmartLipo. Then he used photographs and temporary tattoo markings to evaluate the level of skin tightening. He proved that the SmartLipo treated sides had a significantly higher mean skin-tightening ratio. While the sides without SmartLipo treatment showed no significant difference from baseline.
As shown above and by many other studies, SmartLipo Triplex Liposuction is simply a tool that, when combined with the experience and skills of your surgeon, offers a far greater advantage over Traditional Liposuction. Not every surgeon is skilled in or has been properly trained to use SmartLipo. This is one of the main reasons why your surgeon may discourage it, they simply do not know enough about it. In all professions, and medicine is not the exception, some people are reluctant to change or to try new advances and technologies. However, when new technology demonstrates far greater efficacy, safety, and better patient results *, we should not be afraid to explore the options.
The performance of the SmartLipo product portfolio is driven by more than nine years of clinical study and evidence-based scientific data. For more evidence based studies, please refer to Cynosure’s SmartLipo Triplex page.Frank Soto León, MD is a cosmetic surgeon who is board certified through the American Board of Aesthetic Medicine. For more advice from Dr. Soto on body sculpting and other aesthetic treatments please visit www.omahaliposuction.com where you can read his blog and see before and after photos of actual patients. If you have a question you would like to see answered as one of our blogs, let us know!