SmartLipo vs. Traditional Liposuction: What’s the Difference?

SmartLipo vs. Traditional Liposuction: What’s the Difference?

Despite following a healthy, balanced diet and sticking with a regular exercise routine, many people still struggle with unwanted body fat. No matter how much you exercise, it’s normal to have stubborn areas of fat that will not respond to all of your efforts. There are several procedures available to reduce these areas of fat. Two of the most popular at K Plastic Surgery are SmartLipo and traditional liposuction. 

While at first, they sound very similar, there are some significant differences between these procedures that patients should be aware of. Before you schedule a consultation to pursue SmartLipo or liposuction, there are some things you should know about each procedure, how they work, and what the recovery and results are like. 

What is SmartLipo?

SmartLipo is an advanced laser liposuction system. Using laser energy, SmartLipo melts fat cells before they are suctioned away using a cannula. In addition, SmartLipo involves using a tumescent solution in the target area, a combination of saline, anesthetic, and epinephrine. This causes blood vessels to constrict, minimizing bleeding throughout the procedure. 

One of the benefits of SmartLipo compared to traditional liposuction is that the procedure can offer additional tightening of the skin versus traditional liposuction. Standard liposuction offers little skin tightening benefits, and solely works by manually removing fat from below the skin. How much skin will tighten depends on the patient’s skin elasticity alone? In patients with poor skin elasticity, this can lead to an unwanted sagging or drooping effect following the liposuction procedure. SmartLipo is preferred over traditional liposuction for patients with limited skin elasticity, which is more common as you age, after large weight loss and pregnancy.  

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a fat reduction procedure that has been popular for many years. Liposuction is completed by inserting a cannula through a small incision, which is used to manually break apart fat before suctioning it away. Liposuction is commonly performed to reduce fat from the arms, thighs, hips, abdomen, back, or “bra roll,” or below the chin. 

Incisions and Anesthesia

For most patients, SmartLipo can be a more comfortable procedure. The cannula used is much smaller and there are often only small insertion points required compared to the incisions required to perform liposuction. Often, the insertion points made for SmartLipo can be covered with just a small bandage. 

In addition, many patients find that the procedure is more comfortable because unlike liposuction, SmartLipo can be performed under local anesthesia, meaning that they don’t have to worry about the effects and recovery required from general anesthesia. 

What is Recovery Like After SmartLipo?

Recovery after SmartLipo is much faster than liposuction on average. Because SmartLipo doesn’t require general anesthesia, the recovery process is shorter. Most people can return to work or other regular routines after just 1-2 days of rest. In some cases, it’s possible for patients to feel adequately recovered to resume normal routines almost immediately after the procedure. While recovering from SmartLipo, you may feel some minimal soreness and experience redness, which subsides quickly. 

What is Recovery Like After Liposuction?

Recovery after liposuction can be significantly longer than SmartLipo. While you can go home the same day of your procedure, liposuction typically requires about two weeks of downtime before you will be ready to return to work or your normal routine. Patients experience soreness and discomfort which can be treated using medication. You will also be required to wear a compression garment as you heal. Bruising and redness are also possible during the recovery process after liposuction. Finally, it typically takes about four weeks before patients are able to return to their exercise routines or other physical activities, but more strenuous activities should be avoided until about six weeks. 

Am I a Good Candidate for SmartLipo or Liposuction?

SmartLipo is an excellent choice for patients who want to reduce areas of stubborn fat and tighten the skin. It is preferable over liposuction for those who are interested in a minimally invasive procedure with less downtime. 

Liposuction may be better for patients with larger areas of unwanted fat, sufficient skin elasticity, and who can tolerate anesthesia and have time for an extended recovery period. Traditional liposuction may also be recommended for you if you are choosing to pair it with another surgical procedure. 

For both SmartLipo and traditional liposuction, it’s important that you are generally healthy overall before undergoing the procedure. This includes being at a healthy and stable weight. Note that neither of these options is considered a weight loss procedure; instead, they are designed to refine the body’s contour. Both liposuction and SmartLipo can be chosen to reduce fat from the abdomen, thighs, hips, back, arms, or other areas. Dr. Kayastha will determine whether you are a suitable candidate and recommend which procedure may be best for you after a comprehensive consultation. 

When Will I See Results from Liposuction?

After liposuction, you can expect to see swelling, which gradually decreases as you recover. Most liposuction patients will start to see their final results at about six weeks, although, residual swelling may still be present. 

Results from SmartLipo are relatively similar to those of liposuction. Swelling is also common after SmartLipo and can be minimized using massage or other techniques. Most patients will see results from SmartLipo at about six weeks after the procedure. However, some will see their results continue to improve over time. This applies to the skin tightening effects of SmartLipo in particular, as the body will continue to produce new collagen and elastin, leading to firmer-looking skin. 

Schedule a Consultation 

To learn whether you are better suited for SmartLipo or liposuction, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kayastha at K Plastic Surgery by calling our office (518) 674-9060 or requesting an appointment online.

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Dr. Kayastha is a board certified plastic surgeon who serves Albany, NY and the entire Capital Region. Dr. Kayastha completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell University and graduated with distinction in all subjects. He then attended medical school at SUNY Buffalo. During his time in Buffalo he also completed a fellowship in surgical pathology at Roswell Park. Following medical school Dr. Kayastha gained a much sought after position in the Michigan State-Grand Rapids integrated plastic surgery residency. After finishing residency training Dr. Kayastha completed a one year fellowship in hand and microsurgery at the Buncke Clinic in San Francisco. To round out his training before starting private practice Dr. Kayastha spent an additional 6 months learning from some of the best cosmetic surgeons in San Francisco. Dr. Kayastha is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.