The proven safety of body contouring and lipo-sculpture, and the selective removal of unwanted bulges created by excess localized fat deposits, has helped it become one of the most popular cosmetic procedure performed today. Everyone who has tried to lose unwanted fat knows that no matter how many sit-ups they do or how many celery sticks they eat, the sad fact is this: diet and spot exercising will not selectively reduce localized areas of fat.
Smartlipo™ is the first laser-assisted fat-removal procedure to offer a smarter alternative to traditional surgical liposuction. Rather than using a surgical probe to break up and physically vacuum fat away, the carefully calibrated laser heats up unwanted fatty tissue deposits. As the laser ruptures and breaks down the fat cells, it also heats up the collagen in the skin to provide tightening.
VASER® is a specialized ultrasound system that uses sound waves to selectively target and liquefy fatty tissue so that it can be removed in a liquefied state, allowing more gentle instrumentation and suction than with traditional liposuction. This minimally invasive technique allows fat extraction to be performed with less tearing of the surrounding tissues, reducing blood loss, swelling and bruising for a speedier, smoother recovery time.
Dr. Walter combines VASER + Smartlipo™ so patients find the minimal invasiveness of the procedure allows them to see faster results with fewer complications. Whereas traditional liposuction usually requires general anesthesia, VASER + Smartlipo™ patients need only a local anesthetic, so the procedure carries far fewer risks, and the recovery time is much shorter. Since the laser also seals blood vessels as it dissolves fat, there is less swelling, bleeding and bruising than with traditional liposuction, adding to the faster recovery time.
- Who is a good candidate for Smartlipo™ + VASER®?
Someone of normal body weight, athletic in nature or on an exercise program, is ideal for this treatment. Individuals who are moderately overweight are still good candidates; the most important thing is that they have a realistic expectation of what can be achieved with the procedure.
Age by itself is not a significant factor: many patients who are in their 60’s and 70’s, in good health and without any significant medical problems, have been delighted with the outcome. While this technique is not a substitute for weight loss, many overweight patients can be pleased with an improvement in contour.
- Are Smartlipo™ + VASER® safe?
Smartlipo™+VASER® are not only safe procedures, they are superior to traditional liposuction, because both are performed under local anesthetic at our facility. Therefore, complications such as blood clots, infection and allergic reaction, are quite uncommon. As with any liposculpting procedure, there are certain expected side effects such as bruising, swelling, and temporary numbness.
- How long is the recovery period?
Recovery time varies depending on how many areas are treated. Most patients can perform routine duties the next day, but in some cases a few more days may be necessary. For the first 12-18 hours soreness is usually minimal; the greatest discomfort usually occurs between Day 2 and 5 after the procedure. Extra-strength Tylenol is often sufficient to control the discomfort. Since ibuprofen and aspirin contribute to excess bleeding/bruising, they should not be taken a week before or a week afterward. Stronger pain medication will be available, should you need it.
- When will I notice the results?
About 90% of patients see improvement in their silhouette immediately after the procedure. But due to the fact that post-procedure swelling takes time to resolve, the final result, especially full skin tightening, usually takes 3 to 6 months to achieve.
- Will the fat grow back?
With rare exceptions, no new fat cells develop after you reach puberty. Whatever fat cells you have after that either swell or shrink in size, depending on weight gain or loss, but if they are removed from a treated area, they do not return. Your improved silhouette remains, and if you gain or lose weight later, the change tends to be seen more in other parts of your body.
- What about the excess skin?
Skin has elasticity and is usually able to shrink and accommodate itself to the new body contour achieved through the procedure. Since Smartlipo™ + VASER® both gently heat the tissue and stimulate collagen, they both promote skin tightening. Dr. Walter combines the two techniques for optimal effect, so there is usually no need for to tighten skin through surgical removal.
- Can the procedure be repeated?
There is a limit to the fat that can be extracted during a single procedure, but usually 3 or 4 areas are possible during the session. If you want many areas, these may have to be done over several sessions.
- Will I lose any weight?
Weight loss is minimal because fat actually weighs very little (a quart weighs only 2 lbs!), which is why this procedure is not an answer for weight problems. In general, body weight after the procedure will be similar to what it was before, if diet and exercise levels remain unchanged. The primary difference will be in the way your clothes fit you: you will lose inches and look slimmer.
- Do I have to wear a bandage?
Special compression garments to help sculpt your body to its desired contours are worn for 2 weeks; they are not noticeable under most clothing. Gauze or sanitary napkins are used for the first several days to absorb the drainage of anesthetic fluid, then regular Band-Aids are used. Patients who have had their chin and neck done will be required to wear a chinstrap for two days.
- What are the limitations of Smartlipo™ + VASER®?
Areas with cellulite (“cottage cheese” texture) may be changed little by Smartlipo™ + VASER . Although the results of Smartlipo™+ VASER® are impressive, it is not realistic to expect perfection since the human body is naturally asymmetrical. Ideally, a candidate for the Smartlipo™ + VASER® procedure should be willing to accept a 50% enhancement in appearance. Many of our patients, however, report they have achieved a 60% to 80% improvement in the amount of excess fat.