The world of liposuction can be a little confusing to the lay reader. It is the most popular cosmetic procedure annually, and not surprisingly, there are many competing factions or tribes staking claim to superiority of technique and technology. After its initial baptism by Oprah, Smartlipo™ has been at the forefront of newer technologies in liposuction. Physicians who own and use Smartlipo often make bold claims as to its powers. Those who do not own and use it are predictably shrill and negative and equate Smartlipo with witchcraft. The truth as usual lies somewhere in the middle. I have used Smartlipo as a liposuction tool since 2008 and this is my personal take on it.
The Smartlipo laser was developed by Cyanosure and field-tested in Europe and Central and South America for over nine years prior to its arrival in the US. It was cleared by the FDA for use in the US in 2006. The Smartlipo laser uses a 1064 nm laser wavelength that targets hemoglobin (aka blood) and gently heats collagen. These two effects leads to diminished bruising and potential for collagen shrinkage (aka skin tightening) via heat. The Smartlipo also employs a 1320nm wavelength that targets water. Fat cells consist primarily of water. The fat cells heat, expand, and then burst. The laser itself is pulsed, thus making it safer than continuous devices for burn injury.
From a clinical standpoint, after the placement of tumescent, the Smartlipo laser is used to pre-emptively melt fat and tighten skin prior to fat removal with a traditional suction technology whether it be old school manual liposuction, power assisted liposuction, vibrational or “nutational” liposuction (the artist formerly known as Tickle).
In my hands, Smartlipo is a nice adjunct technology that can make the procedure kinder and gentler, particularly under local or tumescent anesthesia. It is also very useful in treating areas around the face and neck where skin is very thin. In the neck, it can be very impactful. Nothing on this earth is perfect, whether it be a surgeon or surgical technology. Liposuction is all about what you leave behind and not what you take away. It is ultimately an art form similar to sculpture. It matters little what wand you wave in the air and want incantations you mutter. Its about training, and experience, and execution (and ethics). So is Smartlipo really smart? No. It’s only as smart as the surgeon wielding it! See “Before and Afters” of Dr. Gear’s work with SmartLipo Liposuction.
[googleplusauthor] is a Plastic Surgeon in Charlotte, NC specializing in breast augmentation, breast reduction, brazilian butt lift, tummy tuck, face enhancements, and liposuction. His practice Providence Plastic Surgery is a boutique Charlotte cosmetic surgery clinic with leading Charlotte plastic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Gear.
Our Charlotte plastics office is a Charlotte area plastic surgery facility specializing in breast augmentation, breast reduction, brazilian butt lift, tummy tuck, face enhancements, and liposuction in the South Charlotte area. Delivering premium natural plastic surgery and natural cosmetic surgery services to clients in Charlotte, Ballantyne, Matthews, Pineville, Waxhaw, and all of North Carolina and South Carolina.