Dr. Darren Smith
July 24, 2020
Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by Dr. Darren Smith
“Airsculpt” is essentially a marketing name for liposuction combined with laser energy performed by a specific company, and “liposculpture” is another word for “liposuction.” Liposuction is a procedure which at its core involves suctioning fat from the body through very small incisions. There are many different ways to perform liposuction, and several different technologies it can be combined with to tighten the skin around the area being treated with liposuction. Liposuction can be performed while you are awake or while you are asleep. It can be performed with different sizes of suction devices. The technologies it can be combined with to tighten skin include laser energy (sometimes called “Smart Lipo”), ultrasound energy (sometimes called “Vaser”) and radiofrequency energy (sometimes called “BodyTite”). Airsculpt, then, is just liposuction combined with laser energy. Other advertised points of differentiation include that it is performed awake, which is true of any kind of liposution, and that it is performed without a scalpel. Instead of a scalpel (a surgical knife), they use a different kind of sharp instrument (a trocar, a stick that comes to a sharp point) to get through the skin. There is no difference from the patient’s perspective. It is also often claimed that Airsculpt has less bruising and an easier recovery than other forms of liposuction. There is nothing about the Airsculpt procedure that supports these claims.We host
Sometimes pesky fat pockets are resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction is one of the best options to slim down problem areas like the thighs, tummy, legs, arms, or waist. If you’re contemplating liposuction to help remove stubborn fat, there are a few different techniques to consider.
If you’ve done some research about lipo, you’ve probably come across some ‘fancy-sounding’ terms like SmartLipo, VASER, BodyTite, AirSculpt®, and the list goes on. It’s important to understand the difference between the procedures to help decide which is right for you.
Dr. Darren Smith is a leading liposuction specialist in NYC. He uses several advanced liposuction techniques to slim, tone, and reshape the body. Not sure which lipo technique is best for you? Read on to learn more about AirSculpt® versus traditional liposuction to help you make the right choice for your body.
Today, liposuction is in the top 3% of most requested cosmetic surgeries. Traditional lipo required general anesthesia, long recovery times, and had harsh side effects in the past. Modern techniques, like tumescent liposuction, are more effective, safer, and less painful. Tumescent liposuction refers to the use of large volumes of a special solution that contains numbing medicine (lidocaine) and a medicine that makes blood vessels shrink (epinephrine). Together, these medications allow for large volumes of fat to be removed comfortably and safely.
Tumescent liposuction is the most common lipo technique performed today. The technique uses small cannulas to allow for precise sculpting and reduce the risks of irregularities. Tumescent liposuction does not directly address loose skin. It is an excellent option for patients without skin laxity, and many of Dr. Smith’s younger patients with good skin tone opt for tumescent liposuction since their skin will snap back on its own to highlight the contour changes achieved with liposuction.
Things get a little more complicated when there is too much loose skin for it to shrink back on its own after fat is removed with liposuction. For mild to moderate skin laxity, energy can be used to generate heat that will help to tighten skin. The oldest form of energy used in liposuction is laser (sometimes called “Smart Lipo” or “AirSculpt”) – read on for more info about AirSculpt. Newer, more modern forms of energy used for liposuction include ultrasound (“VASER”) and radiofrequency (“BodyTite”).
Airsculpt Liposuction Price: According to Instagram, Airsculpt costs $5000 per area treated.
Liposuction cost varies with many factors. If Airsculpt costs more than traditional liposuction, it may be because no energy (like BodyTite or VASER) is being added to the traditional liposuction to tighten the skin.
As mentioned above, laser lipo combines laser energy to tighten skin with liposuction which removes fat.
Cavitation refers to the effect produced by ultrasound energy (mentioned above) that helps break up stubborn fatty tissue and shake fat cells free of tough connective tissue or scar. Because of cavitation, Dr. Smith likes Vaser-assisted (ultrasound-assisted) liposuction for male breast reduction (gynecomastia surgery) and secondary liposuction.
Smart Lipo is a brand name given to laser-assisted liposuction. As explained above, the laser energy can contribute to skin tightening, but radiofrequency energy is more effective for skin tightening in Dr. Smith’s extensive experience. Airsculpt is a brand name given to laser-assisted liposuction performed by a specific company in which a trocar is used instead of a scalpel and general anesthesia is not used.
Coolsculpting is a noninvasive body contouring procedure that uses cold to kill fat cells (a process called cryolipolysis). Airsculpt, on the other hand, is a type of liposuction, which is a minimally invasive procedure. It may take several rounds of CoolSculpting to even approach the results of liposuction. In general, Dr. Smith only recommends CoolSculpting to people that are absolutely opposed to any kind of surgery, including minimally invasive procedures like liposuction.
Airsculpt uses an older form of energy (laser) for skin tightening, while BodyTite uses a modern, more advanced bipolar radiofrequency energy to tighten skin. Since Airsculpt is a marketing term for laser liposuction, abdomen Airsculpt before and after pictures as well as Airsculpt before and after photos of other other areas are only available from the company that invented and markets this term. Here, we show a patient treated with our preferred method of skin tightening (BodyTite) and liposuction of the abdomen, as well as BodyTite, liposuction, and direct tissue excision of the chest. We have found the bipolar radiofrequency energy of BodyTite to be far superior to the older laser technology employed in Airsculpt in achieving skin tightening.
The patient shown below had his chest treated with glandular excision, BodyTite for skin tightening and liposuction to remove extra fat. His abdomen was treated with liposuction for excess fat and BodyTite for skin laxity..
|AirSculpt (Lipo + Laser)||BodyTite (Lipo + Bipolar RF)|
|Removes fat and offers some skin tightening||Older technology||Advanced technology||Less commonly offered|
|Widely available||Less effective for skin tightening||Excellent for fat removal and skin tightening|
|Can only be performed awake (may be less comfortable and be restricted to smaller treatments))||Can be performed awake or asleep|
AirSculpt is a marketing name for laser-assisted liposuction. Kybella is an injectable designed to dissolve fat. Liposuction on its own removes fat but does not tighten skin. Three different kinds of energy can be added to liposuction in an attempt to tighten skin: and improve contouring results: radiofrequency, ultrasound, and laser. Of these, laser is the oldest and in our opinion the least effective. While in our hands there are much more effective liposuction techniques than laser lipo (also called “AirSculpt” or “Smart Lipo”), we prefer even these to Kybella since Kybella is just an injectable and tends to have less impressive, less customizable results than any kind of liposuction. Kybella cannot be used to achieve precise contour, as once it is injected it dissolves any fat it comes into contact with and its area of diffusion cannot be controlled. Moreover, even though Kybella is an injectable and liposuction (whether it is called AirSculpt or another marketing name) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure, swelling and discomfort is often much more severe and long lasting after Kybella than after lipo. This is because Kybella is a powerful irritant (it is literally dissolving your own tissue) and generates an extremely strong inflammatory response.
AirSculpt is a marketing term designed to make the procedure seem less invasive and / or more effective than liposuction. AirSculpt is, in fact, liposuction. The procedure is described as not using scalpels or knives, implying it is somehow more gentle than liposuction. In fact, instead of a scalpel, which is used to make a tiny incision in liposuction, an instrument called a trocar is used to stab a hole through the skin. A trocar is essentially a sharp, pointy stick. It does the same thing as a scalpel: break the skin to allow the other instruments necessary to perform liposuction to reach under the skin. Additionally, AirSculpt adds laser energy to liposuction. Laser is the oldest (and in our hands) the least useful kind of energy to add to liposuction. Other technologies (ultrasound, called “VASER” and bipolar radiofrequency energy, called “BodyTite”) are our prefered energies to enhance liposuction results. They are much more modern and based on advanced technologies.
Laser liposuction is generally $1000-$3000 more expensive per area than standard liposuction.
AirSculpt is surgery. It is just a marketing term for liposuction plus laser energy. While laser energy can be added to liposuction to heat and tighten skin, laser is actually one of the more old-fashioned ways to do this. BodyTite (radiofrequency energy) is a more modern approach that Dr. Smith prefers in his practice.
Tumescent lipo is the gold standard in body contouring because it allows for the largest volume of fat removal in the safest, most comfortable manner. The word “tumescent” means firm, and tumescent liposuction takes its name from the fact that the treatment area is made firm by filling it with fluid before removing the fat with suction. The Fluid (called “tumescent solution”) contains numbing medicine (lidocaine) as well as a medication to shrink blood vessels and minimize bleeding and bruising (epinephrine).
Elite Body Sculpture is a company that provides liposuction and other body contouring procedures. AirSculpt® is marketing term Elite Body Sculpture uses to descirbe laser liposuction.
No. AirSculpt is a marketing term that a company (Elite Body Sculpture) uses to describe laser liposuction. Laser liposuction is one method of adding energy to liposuction to achieve skin tightening. We prefer more modern techniques, specifically the combination of BodyTite and VASER to achieve skin tightening.
Traditional liposuction (liposuction without energy) and Airsculpt (liposuction with laser energy) are for different things. Traditional liposuction is for fat removal. Liposuction with laser energy, or “Airsculpt”, is used to tighten skin. If you do not need skin tightening, there is no need to add the cost of laser or other forms of energy. If you do need skin tightening, we find VASER and BodyTite to be more effective.
We host a great Facebook group where Dr. Smith will answer questions from folks all over the world who want to know more about plastic surgery, and that group was the inspiration for this post. To join and ask some questions of your own or learn from ongoing conversations, head over to:
“I’m just starting to look into getting upper-arm liposuction and am confused by all the options. I can’t find anything that feels objectively written and don’t have enough medical knowledge to pursue peer-reviewed studies, but I would love some help understanding the distinctions among regular and laser liposuction, “Coolsculpt,” “Exilis 360,” “AirSculpt,” fat cavitation, ultrasonic treatments. … My head is spinning. Can you point me to something journalistic or straightforward that explains all these treatments? Many thanks!”
ANSWER: All of these things fall under the category of “body contouring.” The basic premise of body contouring is removing fat cells from the body in a controlled fashion to achieve desired cosmetic changes. There are two basic categories of body contouring treatment: invasive and noninvasive. Invasive techniques include liposuction and other surgical procedures like tummy tucks. Noninvasive techniques include things like Sculpsure, CoolSculpting, TruSculpt, and others. So, let’s discuss invasive techniques first (I actually don’t offer non-invasive techniques in my practice). Procedures designed to remove extra skin and fat like tummy tucks and arms lifts by definition achieve the most dramatic results but do cause scarring, because all incisions leave scars and we have to make incisions to remove skin. Skilled, board certified plastic surgeons are good at hiding scars in hard-to-see places and making them thin and in such a way that they often fade a great deal over time. Liposuction, on the other hand, is an excellent way to remove stubborn fat, and leaves only tiny scars (less than 1 cm). It is not a good option for people with severe loose skin. Many people with minor skin laxity will reasonably opt for liposuction paired with some form of energy delivery to the skin to shrink that skin (heat causes skin to contract- think of fish skin in a frying pan). Remember, though, that this only works well for folks with minor to moderate skin laxity. Of the MANY technologies available to do this, my favorites by far, are radio frequency and ultrasound. Moving over to noninvasive treatments: while invasive treatments physically remove fat cells, noninvasive treatments damage or destroy them so your body removes them on its own. These “set and go” technologies are not as effective or as customizable as invasive treatments in which a highly trained expert is sculpting your tissue by hand. In fact, they are not guaranteed to work at all. This is a lot of information; it is intended to help you cut through the copious marketing chatter that is out there. My advice is to ignore the fancy brand names, focus on the actual technology being offered, and find a board certified surgeon that you trust. Remember, four basic options for body contouring: a noninvasive option (usually-subtle fat removal); liposuction (for customized, most effective fat removal); liposuction + an energy treatment (for fat removal and skin tightening); a more invasive operation like a tummy tuck (to comprehensively address skin, muscle and fat). That’s it. The rest is marketing. -DMS
Tags: Elite air sculpture, Elite sculpting