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Techniques Comparison

SmartLipo is by far the best kind of liposuction available today. It is a method that offers the best results with less trauma and less downtime. It has a fast recovery time and the cost is very competitive.

SmartLipo uses laser technology to melt and liquefy the fat within the fat cells. In addition, it smoothes and tightens the skin to decrease the looseness that one sometimes sees with traditional liposuction. It can be utilized alone to treat smaller areas of fat, such as below the chin, or in combination with liposuction to remove larger areas of fat such as in the abdomen, flanks and thighs.

Over the years, liposuction has evolved into being one of the safest cosmetic procedures performed today. Liposuction was originally invented by a gynecologist in Italy in the mid 1970s. Initially it involved using a "dry" technique, but this resulted in excessive complications, such as blood loss and shock. The technique improved when the "wet" technique was developed in the early 1980's. Further refinements in the late 1980s lead to development of the "tumescent" technique which is the safest method to do liposuction today.

Tumescent liposuction is performed by instilling dilute solutions of lidocaine and epinephrine into the fatty areas of the areas to be treated. This fluid anesthetizes the areas to be treated, plus it decreases bleeding very significantly. The procedure can thus be performed while the patient is awake with minimal discomfort and quicker recovery. Many people can return to work and normal activities within one to a few days.

Once the tumescent fluid had been infused into the fatty areas, the fat could be destroyed by many methods. Several different techniques developed over the years from the 1990s that could be used to dissolve or destroy the fat in these areas. Simple mechanical disruption, high frequency ultrasonic waves dissolution, or laser lipolysis can all be utilized to break or disrupt the fat cells and allow the freed fat to be suctioned using very thin tubes called cannulas. Most of the time these procedures are combined to provide the best results for removal of the fat, for improved skin smoothness, and to tighten the skin.

SmartLipo was the first laser to be approved by the FDA to be used for fat dissolution and removal with tumescent liposuction. Introduced in 2007, this laser technology utilizes a 1064 wave length that targets red blood cells and thus results in less blood loss. In addition, it produces a burst of energy as it enters the fatty tissue that dissolves the fat so it can be removed by suctioning. This improves the safety of the procedure by being able to melt the fat without heating the tissue excessively. Smaller areas of melted fat can actually reabsorb into the body and may not even need suctioning for optimal results.

Other laser technologies include the CoolLipo laser lipolysis which uses the 1320 wavelength and the ProLipo which uses the 1319 wavelength. These produce fatty dissolution by heating the water within the cells and exploding them. The liquid fat can then be removed in a similar fashion with cannulas. All these techniques normally utilize tumescent fluid to provide the anesthesia, to decrease bleeding and to decrease infection.

By utilizing the tumescent technique, these liposuction procedures can be performed in an office-based setting while the patient is awake. No longer is it a requirement that patients be put to sleep using general anesthetics nor do they need to be admitted to the hospital for the procedure.

Moreover, these new techniques, especially SmartLipo, allow patients to return to normal activities more rapidly than when the older methods were used. It is safer and provides improved results for smoother and tighter skin. 

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