What is Laser Assisted Liposuction?

Sherri McKelvey
Sherri McKelvey

Laser assisted liposuction is a procedure that utilizes low-energy laser waves to remove areas of excess fat from various parts of the body. The first part of laser assisted liposuction involves using the laser to weaken the membranes of the fat cells. After this weakening of the cells, the physician performing the procedure makes a small incision and a cannula, a small surgical instrument, is inserted to suction out the fat.

After the removal of fat, there are two additional processes involved in the procedure. In the first process, the physician adjusts the laser to a pain relief setting and focuses on the area from which the fat was suctioned. The doctor then resets the laser again and uses it for its anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties. This last part of the procedure is said to make a big difference in helping alleviate the patient's post-operative discomfort. Some patients return the next day for another post-operative pain management session.

Thighs, knees, the abdomen and hips are the most common areas that women target with laser assisted liposuction. For men, the most common areas are the arms, neck, abdomen, so-called love handles and enlarged breasts. After the initial liposuction procedure, if the patient wishes, the physician can take the fat removed from one part of the body and transfer it to another area of the body. The lips are a typical recipient of this type of fat transfer.

When compared to traditional liposuction, laser assisted liposuction has advantages. In comparison to traditional liposuction, laser assisted liposuction has both a shorter recovery time and reduced swelling and bruising. Many patients do not require any prescribed pain medication following the laser process, while many who undergo traditional liposuction do. Another advantage of laser assisted liposuction is that the patient typically receives only local anesthesia and a sedative during the procedure. Traditional liposuction is more likely to require general anesthesia.

Patients who undergo laser assisted liposuction treatment also typically notice results more quickly than patients who undergo traditional liposuction. With standard liposuction, the results may not be completely noticeable for two to four weeks. With laser assisted liposuction, the patient typically sees results about a week after the procedure.

Although there are many advantages to laser liposuction, there are possible drawbacks to this procedure. The main concern involves the release of fatty acids in the body during the course of the procedure. It is unclear what long-term impact on the patient the release of these fatty acids might have, and critics worry about the possibilities.

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