SmartLipo is the hottest fat reduction treatment around at the moment. Could be that we have just come through summer and the focus has been on bikinis and bare limbs but SmartLipo has been in demand.
Since last year cosmetic clinics in the UK and Europe have been flooded with eager clients. And in the US demand for SmartLipo was equally high after FDA approval was granted.
But we are talking liposuction here and you need to tread carefully. So – here’s my quick and easy SmartLipo guide to help you sort the hype from the reality.
If you are interested in anti aging treatments generally then SmartLipo may not be an obvious choice – the main benefit here is to make you look sliimer and tackle areas of fatty deposits you can’t shift. Having said that the procedure does target areas like upper arm flab which many of us associate with aging.
SmartLipo involves a local anaesthetic and a small incision through which a micro sized canula (tube) is inserted. A laser is inserted into the layer of fat just underneath the skin and moved around in slow, fanning movements.
The heat from the laser destroys the walls of the fat cells, liquefies the fat within them, and seals off blood vessels. Internal bleeding and bruising is minimized compared to liposuction. You may have more than one incision depending on the area being treated.
The melted fat is released into the bloodstream and then removed and metabolised by the liver like any other fat. This is one way SmartLipo differs from straight liposuction. With liposuction fat is sucked out at the time of the procedure causing considerable discomfort and bruising internally.
If you’re wondering whether you can really get SmartLipo done in your lunch hour the answer is yes – at least in theory. There are reports from patients who have done exactly that.
Many reports in the press focus on the fact that it takes ‘only 20 minutes’ to get SmartLipo. But this is misleading. If you have only one small area of fat to treat then you may be done in 20 minutes but if you have more fat in different areas – or more difficult to access fat – then it will last much longer – up to 2 1/2 hours. Ask your plastic surgeon exactly how long it will take for the areas you want treating.
The hype says that SmartLipo doesn’t involve any downtime and there are reports of people going straight back to work or to the gym immediately afterwards. But if you have multiple incisions and spend 2-2 1/2 hours being treated it’s highly unlikely you’re going to want to do anything other than go home and rest.
You won’t see immediate results with SmartLipo either – remember unlike liposuction – the fat is gradually eliminated from the body. This can take around 12 weeks and sometimes longer. The upside of this is you’ll look like you just lost weight naturally. The downside is – you may not get the full results for quite a while.
Unlike liposuction where horror stories abound – there shouldn’t be any issues with loose skin or uneven bumpiness. In fact clinics and press reports say the heat applied to the fat cells under the skin actually stimulates collagen production which has a skin firming effect.
On the other hand I have also read reports recently from people who have experienced visible bumps from fat which has not dispersed properly during the elimination process.
SmartLipo is a minimally invasive procedure – meaning no stitches. Don’t forget you may have many incisions depending on the areas you want treated and there could be soreness and discoloration as the incisions heal.
SmartLipo has an impressive safety record provided it is used by a trained and experienced operator. There are virtually no reports of any accidents or infections arising from the procedure itself.
SmartLipo has only been in clinics for a relatively short time so it’s a bit early to say just how safe it is long term. Very recently some cosmetic surgeons have started to voice concerns that the heat generated by the laser may release free fatty acids into the bloodstream that are not eliminated and could be dangerous in the longer term.
If you are seriously overweight SmartLipo is unlikely to be the right treatment for you. SmartLipo works best for fairly slim and toned individuals with stubborn areas of localized fat or cellulite they want to remove (saddle-bags, love handles, the caesarian overhang or upper arm flab). If your BMI is in excess of 25 it may not be for you.
The good news is though that once the fat cells in the area targeted by SmartLipo have been destroyed or damaged they are unlikely to come back. This doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you like, take no exercise and expect not to get bigger. You’ll just put it on in different places.
SmartLipo is cheaper than liposuction but it still costs a lot. Treatment is around $3000-7000 depending on the number of areas treated.
There you have it – a quick guide that should help you decide whether SmartLipo is the treatment for you.
Getting a new svelte figure will certainly help you look younger but you might want to wait a bit to see how safe and effective SmartLipo turns out to be longer term.
In the meantime – you could consider an alternative like mesotherapy – or there’s always the old technology – diet and exercise!