What is Smartlipo?
So many women and men are curious about liposuction but wary because of the recovery involved. Smartlipo is a relatively new form of liposuction that pairs energy with the liposuction procedure to achieve skin tightening (like VASER liposuction and BodyTitie). While VASER liposuction uses ultrasound energy and BodyTite uses radiofrequency energy, Smartlipo is a laser-assisted minimally invasive procedure to remove pesky unwanted deposits of fat and tighten the skin in virtually any area of the body.
What's the difference between traditional liposuction and Smartlipo? Like the other forms of energy-assisted liposuction mentioned above, Smartlipo is traditional liposuction with the addition of energy; in this case, laser energy. While many claim that Smartlipo is an alternative to liposuction that has fewer side effects and less pain, we have found that this is largely marketing hyperbole. Just like traditional liposuction, Smartlipo uses a small suction tube (cannula) combined with physical manipulation to remove fat. Like traditional liposuction, Smartlipo can be done under general anesthesia, twilight anesthesia, or local anesthesia (for small areas). In addition to suction, however, Smartlipo uses a laser to give you the trim, contoured figure you desire. So, there really isn’t a basis for Smartlipo to have a more favorable recovery or side effect profile than traditional liposuction.
Dr. Smith uses the Smartlipo laser to liquify fat cells to make them easier to remove and to heat the skin around the treatment area to trigger a healing response that stimulates collagen growth. Collagen production helps deliver smoother, firmer, and more toned skin. As we have mentioned elsewhere, while thermal energy can be an effective way to induce skin tightening, we generally favor radiofrequency energy (BodyTite) or ultrasound energy (VASER lipo) to achieve this result. Smartlipo can be a reasonable procedure to try for patients that want tighter skin but have not had success with other skin tightening methods or if they are not interested in VASER lipo or BodyTite for other reasons.
Like traditional liposuction, Smartlipo can be performed without general anesthesia so the patient is awake and breathing on his or her own during the procedure. Because the option exists to avoid general anesthesia, recovery time can be accelerated. For smaller treatment areas, when local anesthesia alone is used recovery can be remarkably fast.
Smartlipo in NYC Treatment Areas
For good candidates, one Smartlipo treatment is enough to get that smooth, toned, sleek body you may be having trouble achieving from diet and exercise alone. Smartlipo treatment areas include:
- Face and neck
- Chest (gynecomastia)
- Waist and abdomen
- Lower and upper back
- Lower legs and feet
The Smartlipo Procedure
Dr. Smith performs Smartliop procedures right from the comfort of our NYC office. Smartlipo is an outpatient procedure, meaning you don't have to be admitted to a hospital or spend the night. Dr. Smith typically finishes the entire procedure within 1.5-2 hours, depending on the treatment area.
Smartlipo can be performed with local or twilight anesthesia, rather than general anesthesia, which means you can be awake for the procedure. Dr. Smith uses a long thin instrument to extract fat and deliver laser energy through minor incisions that are 3-4mm in length. While you may feel slight pulling or tugging during the procedure, the treatment should not be painful. Dr. Smith will cover the incision sites with absorbent pads and compression dressings to help reduce the swelling and encourage the drainage of the anesthetic solution.
While you may feel up to driving immediately following your procedure, Dr. Smith does caution against operating any machinery and recommends you have someone drive you home so that you can take time to rest. It is not advised to drive until you have recovered from your pain and regained your full range of motion after a surgical procedure - no matter how good you may feel. Tylenol or another over-the-counter pain medicine is usually enough for any pain lasting after 1-2 days. If you are taking narcotic pain medication after your procedure, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle.
What to Expect Immediately After Smartlipo
Immediately following your Smartlipo procedure, you should give your body ample time to rest. For the first 24 hours, you should refrain from any heavy activity. Dr. Smith’s liposuction patients, (traditional, BodyTite, VASER, and Smartlipo) tend to all have fairly rapid recoveries due to the protocols we have put in place after performing many liposuction procedures. The incisions Dr. Smith will make during your procedure are so small that after they heal they'll be very hard to see in most cases.
On average, most people can return to their regular work routines in 48 hours. You may experience some swelling and bruising, which is normal. You can expect major swelling to resolve over the first couple weeks, with less severe swelling lasting for a few months. Bruising is usually gone in 7-10 days.
Dr. Smith will give you specific instructions following your Smartlipo procedure. For best results, it's essential to follow the aftercare instructions. These may include wearing a compression garment and massaging the area.
You should start to see results within 2 weeks after treatment. These results will continue to improve over the next 3-6 months. Like many fat removal procedures, the outcome will be permanent as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Smartlipo in NYC Follow-up Visits
As a part of your recovery process, Dr. Smith will schedule follow-up visits. He typically schedules the first follow-up 5-7 days after your Smartlipo procedure. Dr. Smith will carefully check the affected area and incision sites to ensure that they are healing appropriately. Additional follow-up appointments are scheduled at 1 month and 3 months after your procedure. All follow-ups will be in our NYC office.