A guide to laser lipolysis with SmartLipo

What is SmartLipo (Smart Lipo) ?
SmartLipo is a minimally invasive cosmetic treatment to remove fat from the body by means of a laser assisted lipolysis system.  It uses a high powered laser to dissolve the fat and tighten the surrounding skin in the area of application on the body.  It is particularly ideal for treating localized areas of fat that is difficult to remove through normal diet and exercise or even conventional liposuction.

How is it different from liposuction?
Though both procedures are concerned with the removal of fat, SmarLipo has several advantages over the latter as shown below in the table comparing the two procedures.

Comparison between SmartLipo and liposuction



Minimally invasive using laser equipped 1-2 mm laser probe

More invasive then SmartLipo as it makes use of a larger suctioning cannula

Requires only local anaesthesia

Requires general anaesthesia or IV Sedation

Remotes fat by liquefying it

Removes fat by means of a large suctioning cannula

Also tightens the surrounding skin in the process

Often results in sagging skin especially when large areas are treated, requiring additional surgical procedures to correct them

Since they are minimally invasive, there are no sutures required

Since they make use of a large cannula, sutures are required to close the openings

Results in little or no scarring provided that proper care is taken

Can result in scars that may subside only after long periods

The maximum downtime is approximately 2 days, with most people returning to their normal life within 24 hours after the procedure

The downtime can be about 7-10 days as adequate recuperation period is essential

Compression garments need to be worn only if large areas are treated

Compression garments are mandatory and need to be worn for 2 weeks after the procedure

What are the advantages of SmartLipo over other conventional procedures for the removal of fat?
Since SmartLipo utilizes a minimally invasive procedure using laser to remove fat and requires no sutures, it has several advantages over other procedures such as conventional liposuction, abdominoplasty etc.  These include

  • Minimal discomfort during the procedure
  • Minimal pain lasting only 24-48 hrs
  • Quick recovery allowing people to return to work in 24 hrs
  • Minimal bleeding or bruising
  • The surrounding skin is tightened during the procedure hence leaving no sagging skin as seen in other procedures
  • Uses local anaesthesia hence there are no side effects of general anaesthesia
  • No incisions or suturing involved

Can SmartLipo be carried out in conjunction with liposuction?
Since SmartLipo is particularly used to treat small pockets and localized areas of fat that are harder to remove using conventional procedures, they may be performed in conjunction with liposuction in order to carry out small amounts of remodelling required, if any.

What areas can be treated with SmartLipo?
SmartLipo can be used to treat all areas that are treated using conventional liposuction.  They are especially beneficial in treating localized areas of fat that are difficult to treat using traditional liposuction; these include

  • Small areas of the face (not around eyes)
  • Cheeks
  • Double or hanging chin
  • Inner and outer thighs or saddle bags
  • Neck
  • Back of neck
  • Upper arms
  • Back
  • Bra strap
  • Stomach
  • Love handles
  • Hips
  • Waist
  • Buttocks
  • Pubic mound
  • Knees
  • Legs
  • Tights
  • Male with breasts (gynecomastia)
  • Other areas of loose and flabby skin

Who are ideal candidates for the procedure?
You are an ideal candidate for the SmartLipo procedure if

  • You are in good general health and have realistic expectations from the procedure.
  • You exercise regularly and are within 25 lbs. of your weight
  • You have localized pockets of fat that does not respond to exercise or diet.
  • You want to return to normal life immediately after the procedure
  • You want to avoid loose hanging skin often seen after traditional liposuction procedures
  • You want the results to last longer with fewer chances of fat depositions in the treated areas in future.

Who must not undergo a SmartLipo procedure?
Individuals with any of the following conditions are advised not to undergo the SmartLipo procedure

  • Diabetes   
  • Liver problems  
  • Blood disorders
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart problems
  • Skin disorders

How is the procedure done?

  • Most often the patient is made to stand upright for the procedure in order to allow the surgeon to better assess the treatment area and work accordingly.
  • The areas to be treated are marked and the areas are numbed using local anaesthesia.
  • The surgeon then inserts a small cannula that is approximately 1-2mm in diameter and contains a laser probe, beneath the skin.
  • The laser probe is then moved back and forth, thereby delivering the laser's energy to the fat cells.  As a result the fat cells are ruptured and drained away.  The energy of the laser also interacts with the dermis causing collagen shrinkage and tightening of the skin.
  • There is minimal bleeding, swelling and bruising as the laser causes the immediate coagulation of small blood vessels that come in contact.
  • The session can last from 45 minutes to one hour for each area being treated.

How many sessions of SmartLipo are required to achieve the complete results?
Depending on the area being treated, 1-3 sessions may be required for most individuals, with the repeat sessions being carried out after an interval of 3-6 months.

How soon can I return to normal life after the procedure?
Since the procedure is minimally invasive and causes minimal pain, bleeding, bruising and swelling the downtime is very less, with most people returning to work within 24 hours.

What can be expected following the procedure?

  • You can return home within two hours after the procedure.
  • You may experience minimal bruising and most often mild ache or no pain.  The bruising may disappear within 2-3 days.  You may be prescribed painkillers to alleviate any such discomfort.
  • Most patients can return to their normal activities within 24 hours. 
  • Depending on the area being treated, you may be required to wear a pressure dressing or a compression garment to help decrease the swelling, which may be removed after 1-2 weeks.
  • Recovery from SmartLipo happens in several stages
    • First stage -minor bruising and numbness occurring right after the SmartLipo procedure, that disappear within days or hours.
    • Next stage - The swelling will go down within a week and you are able to resume normal activities, as advised by the doctor.  This marks the completion of your recovery stage.
    • The skin is back to normal within three months.

What are the post-operative instructions for recuperation and healing?

  • Avoid any vigorous activity for 1-2 days.
  • Follow the instructions provided by the surgeon on how to take care of your wounds.
  • Minor activities following the procedure are recommended to promote circulation
  • You must not take any anti-inflammatory medicines or blood thinners following surgery
  • You must not smoke for a few days after the procedure.
  • Go for the scheduled checkups with your doctor, to ensure that you are healing well and there are no other complications such as scarring and/or infection.

When can I begin to see the positive results of the SmartLipo procedure?

  • Immediately after the procedure, there are visible changes as the laser treated area appears tighter, compact and smaller.
  • Over the next 6-8 weeks, the remodelling of the surrounding skin progresses in order to adjust to the body contour.  The final results will become visible after two months.

Are the results of SmartLipo long lasting?
There are two contrasting claims when it comes to the lasting effects of SmartLipo

  1. Claim 1- As fat cells are not regenerated by the adult body, fat cells are permanently removed by SmartLipo.  When you gain weight it becomes deposited in other parts of the body but not the treated area.
  2. Claim 2 - The effects are semi-permanent and once the individual gains weight, the fat will be deposited in the treated and non-treated areas alike

Based on the above opinions, the best option would be to exercise and regulate ones diet in order to maintain the results achieved through SmartLipo.

What are the possible risks and complications of the procedure?
There have been no reported complications of SmartLipo till date.  It is considered as one of the safest cosmetic surgeries, owing to the facts that

  • It is performed under local anaesthesia thereby avoiding the risks arising from general anaesthesia.
  • There are no stitches and it results in minimal bleeding and swelling, avoiding the possibilities of potential post surgery infections.