Sunday, April 6, 2008

What happens when laser meets liposuction?

Almost universally we are all concerned about our body shape. For some it’s their hips, or for us men, our “love handles”. Recently, several people have called me regarding a new laser liposuction procedure called, “SmartLipo.”

It has been touted on TV shows and magazines as the “new and better” trend in lipo. But, is it really?

Much of the hype of SmartLipo is for marketing purposes. Everyone wants to be the first kid on the block with the latest toy or gimmick.

This, plus the media hype is designed to get patients flocking to the plastic surgeon’s door. But, in reality, is it any better or more effective in giving us our “perfect’ shape?

The premise behind SmartLipo is to use a laser to liquefy the fat and make it easier to remove.

The SmartLipo laser was developed by a Brazilian plastic surgeon, who in the late 90’s, teamed up with a company, Cynosure, to refine it and bring it to the market place.

One of the supposed benefits of SmartLipo is that it causes skin retraction. The FDA has NOT approved Cynosure to use the claim in marketing SmartLipo. The company currently is doing clinical trials to see if this is the case. This is very controversial. Some physicians say it does and others say it doesn’t.

The machine costs around $150,000 so if I buy one, I will want to tout its benefits because I have to pay for it.

The cost of SmartLipo is generally more than conventional tumescent liposuction. Surprise! Surprise!

Another claim is that it can be done under local and hence is safer. Conventional liposuction can also be done under local. It all depends, with either technique, how much liposuction you are doing. So a word of caution is needed – as always, “Buyer beware” of unsubstantiated claims.

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