Today, there are many options to choose from when it comes to fat reduction and body sculpting. From traditional liposuction to less invasive approaches using energy or injectables, there is more than one way to get rid of unwanted body fat. But despite these many advances, liposuction takes the lead.

According to the latest statistics by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, liposuction topped the list of cosmetic procedures in 2022. That year, over 300,000 liposuction procedures were performed, which marked a 23% increase from three years prior. There’s no doubt liposuction is here to stay. After all, this decades-old procedure has evolved with many technological advancements, as in the case of laser-assisted liposuction.

If you’ve heard of laser-assisted liposuction, you may be wondering what exactly it is, whether it’s better than traditional liposuction and whether you should consider it. Let’s learn more.

What Is Laser-Assisted Liposuction?

Liposuction, also called lipoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat from specific areas of the body. Traditionally, this has been done by inserting a thin tube instrument called a cannula into small incisions in the skin to break up the underlying fat and suction it out.

Although effective, this approach requires patients to be under general anesthesia. They would sometimes stay in the hospital overnight and the recovery could last up to three months. Some would be left with skin irregularities following treatment.

Laser-assisted liposuction is an advanced technique that removes many of the setbacks of traditional liposuction. For laser-assisted liposuction, a thin cannula with laser fibers is used to liquefy areas of unwanted fat and a separate cannula is used to suction out the liquefied fat. Besides destroying unwanted fat cells, this treatment also stimulates the production of new collagen, offering skin benefits in addition to fat reduction.

Laser-assisted liposuction was approved by the FDA in 2006. At South Shore Plastic Surgery, we use the Smartlipo® system with a 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser fiber for this purpose. This tried and tested device can safely remove fat from nearly any area of the body and even on the face.

What Are the Benefits of Laser-Assisted Liposuction?

While traditional liposuction has many benefits — like allowing surgeons to remove large amounts of fat — laser-assisted liposuction has several advantages over its older cousin:

Less discomfort and quicker recovery

Laser technology offers greater precision of treatment and requires smaller incisions. This means that there is less risk of injury to surrounding tissue. In addition, the laser energy used during treatment also coagulates small blood vessels, reducing bleeding, bruising and inflammation. All this together leads to less pain and a quicker recovery.

Safe and predictable

This treatment has been FDA-approved since 2006 thanks to its safety and efficiency. Complications rates are among the lowest in plastic surgery at (0.001%) in some studies. The devices used for this treatment use wavelengths that specifically target fat and water. This ensures precise treatment with predictable results.

Skin tightening as a bonus

An added benefit of opting for this treatment is that your skin will feel and look tighter and more even post-treatment. This is thanks to the collagen-stimulating benefits of laser energy, which is able to reach the deep dermis.

How Is Laser-Assisted Liposuction Different From Laser Lipo?

Laser liposuction is sometimes confused with laser-assisted liposuction, but these two treatments are very different.

Laser liposuction is a nonsurgical, minimally invasive alternative to traditional liposuction. In many cases, paddle-type applicators are attached to the treatment area to deliver laser energy to heat fat cells. Heat damages fat cell membranes, which causes them to die and later be removed by the body.

Laser lipo is a great choice for patients who have small pockets of fat and who want to avoid long and painful recovery.

What to Expect With Laser-Assisted Liposuction

Laser-assisted liposuction is a surgical procedure, so there is some preparation and downtime involved.

Treatment starts with a consultation with Dr. Vasisht, who will listen to your concerns, look at your medical history, perform a physical exam and explain the treatment process. If you happen to be a good candidate, you may need to get lab tests done so we can check if you are healthy enough to receive anesthesia and undergo surgery. You will also be given instructions that contain information about your food, medication and supplement intake before surgery.

The procedure is usually done under local anesthesia, so you will be awake but comfortable during treatment. Dr. Vasisht will create small incisions around the treatment site and insert a thin cannula with laser fiber deep into the subcutaneous fat. The procedure is finished with gentle suction to remove the now-liquified fat. Treatment takes between 30 minutes and three hours depending on the size of the treatment area.

After treatment, you can go home on the same day. You will experience bruising, swelling and soreness for about 10 days, and full recovery can take several weeks.

Should I Consider Laser-Assisted Liposuction?

If you are at or near your ideal body weight but have small areas of stubborn fat, this treatment may give you the contours you want but find difficult to achieve. You need to be relatively healthy to undergo this procedure. This means not having untreated hypertension, type 2 diabetes or a bleeding disorder.

If you are interested in more comprehensive body contouring, you may be a candidate for Lipo 360 with laser-assisted liposuction. The treatment targets four areas where excess fat is frequently found — the back, arms, abdomen and thighs — for total transformation. This is an especially popular treatment option for women interested in post-pregnancy body sculpting.

Experience the Smartlipo® System at South Shore Plastic Surgery

At South Shore Plastic Surgery in New Jersey, we perform laser-assisted liposuction using the Smartlipo® 1064-nm by Cynosure. This device was designed exclusively for laser-assisted lipolysis. It can treat nearly any area of the body and offers predictable and natural-looking results. To achieve the contours you want and deserve, contact Dr. Vasisht today by dialing 856- 784-2639 or book your consultation here.