SMARTLIPO uses the latest advancements in laser and cosmetic surgery technology to provide a safer, quicker, and more cost-effective method of liposuction. This is why Dr. Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist and board-certified cosmetic dermatologic surgeon, chose to be the first surgeon in Nebraska to offer this exciting dual procedure technology at his state-certified and Medicare-certified ambulatory surgical center.
The SmartLipo procedure is the first laser-assisted liposuction procedure and was approved by the FDA in November 2006. Since this time it has quickly been labeled the cutting-edge procedure in cosmetic surgery and achieved highly positive ratings from patients and unbiased Web site reviews such as those on RealSelf.com.
According to SmartLipo's manufacturer, Cynosure, the SmartLipo system has quickly become one of the most successful liposuction procedures in the cosmetic surgery field for its use of revolutionary technology.
With SmartLipo, a thin wire-sized laser is inserted into a small incision made by Dr. Schlessinger. The laser is used to liquefy the fat under the skin and tighten the skin. Then, Dr. Schlessinger follows this liquefaction using a small, sippy-straw-sized cannula to drain the fat away.
Because the cannula is only about 1.0 mm (the size of a paper clip wire), it is able to pass through the skin easily, without any damage to the surrounding tissue. The fat is destroyed, but the adjacent tissue remains healthy.
SmartLipo is a less invasive procedure, dramatically reducing the risk of bruising and promoting a quicker recovery. In addition, the cannula's laser acts as a visual guide, helping Dr. Schlessinger make more precise movements than typical liposuction would allow.
Dr. Schlessinger invested in the safest version of the powerful SmartLipo laser. As the laser liquefies fat cells, the laser simultaneously coagulates small blood vessels, thus preventing bleeding and swelling.
SmartLipo works best on small areas of fat that can be quickly liquefied and easily removed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is the fat removal permanent?Yes! It seems that after puberty, we do not create new fat cells. When you gain weight, you expand the fat cells that you have. Tumescent liposuction permanently removes fat cells to improve your body's contour. Should you gain weight after liposuction, it goes to the fat cells that remain in your body. The localized fatty deposits that existed prior to liposuction can no longer balloon up out of proportion to the surrounding areas.
Question: What will my skin look like?Liposuction will improve your ability to wear and look good in clothes, but dimples, ripples, and stretch marks will not improve and sometimes are even accentuated following liposuction.
Your new figure will be similar to what you would expect if you could lose an equal amount of localized fat through diet and exercise alone. The use of smaller cannulas allows the fibrous connections between your skin and body to remain. These connections will contract over time. As a result, excessive skin folds are so rare that many patients avoid the necessity for surgical skin excision such as the tummy tuck by having excellent results with liposuction alone. Sometimes a small tuck can be done to improve skin after liposuction.
Question: How many dress sizes will I lose after SmartLipo?There is no way to know, and Dr. Schlessinger suggests patients not go into the procedure hoping for dress size changes. SmartLipo is a great tool, but it isn't something that can definitively deliver dress size changes. More often, patients see a change in shape. You generally do not lose pounds in this procedure (if so, it may only be a pound or so).
For patients who seek weight loss, the best approach is to use diet and exercise.
Question: Which is better between tumescent liposuction and SmartLipo?Both techniques are good if performed by the right medical professional. Dr. Schlessinger performs both tumescent liposuction and SmartLipo using the laser. The issue is to choose a skilled surgeon to perform your procedure. It all comes down to experience. If your surgeon isn't skillful enough or doesn't have good judgment, you can end up having poor results whichever method is used.
Most plastic surgeons do not offer tumescent liposuction; whereas, most dermatologists do as it was invented by a dermatologist and offers the quickest recovery possible with the least risk. For example, if you are put under general anesthesia and are asleep or have to go to a hospital for your surgery, you are not getting true tumescent liposuction. Additionally, if you have significant bruising or are told you will have prolonged recovery periods that are more than about 24 hours, you aren't getting tumescent liposuction.
The beauty of tumescent along with SmartLipo is that you get the best of both worlds.
Question: Is SmartLipo FDA approved for skin tightening?Dr. Schlessinger does not recommend SmartLipo for skin tightening. SmartLipo is useful for removing fat, but if you are truly looking for only skin tightening, it won't be that impressive. Many other options for skin tightening work better, are less expensive, and have shorter recovery times such as laser procedures.
Question: Can SmartLipo be used for bags under the eyes?Dr. Schlessinger would never use SmartLipo for bags under the eyes. In fact, the prevailing thought is that it is better to leave this fat in place rather than removing it. You may want to even increase the volume in this area by injectables such as Restylane or Perlane or Juvederm. It is NOT SAFE to do SmartLipo near this area, whatever the case.
Question: Why won't SmartLipo work for visceral fat (fat under the muscle)?Visceral fat develops in the abdomen below the muscle layer. SmartLipo does not go below the muscle where visceral fat is located. SmartLipo (as with all liposuction procedures) is good for only the fat that is above the muscle and easily reachable. The safety of this procedure is that it doesn't go below the muscle to areas where large blood vessels and organs are located. For now, the only way to reduce this area is diet and exercise!
Question: Can I have liposuction even if I intend to get pregnant and have more children?While liposuction can be done at any time of life, typically it is best to wait until after all childbirths in order to have liposuction. This doesn't mean that it can't be done before, but if you gain significant amounts of weight or even reasonable amounts, more fat may redistribute to the areas that have already been treated.
Many patients wish to address tummy fat they just can't seem to lose after having their babies. A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) leaves most women with a terrible scar, while SmartLipo done by the tumescent method is nearly scarless. It pays to consult a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to discuss this procedure and your needs.
While plastic surgeons will always encourage a tummy tuck, the dirty little secret is that oftentimes a well-done tumescent liposuction with or without SmartLipo can avoid the horrible scar, the long recovery time, and the pain involved in a tummy tuck.
Tummy tucks have a cute name, but the reality is that they are quite expensive and often aren't even necessary.
Question: How long will the results for SmartLipo last?Results can vary. SmartLipo, just the same as regular liposuction, involves suctioning of fat from areas where excess accumulation has occurred. Whether this procedure will have short-term results or long-term results depends entirely on how you diet afterward. Dr. Schlessinger has seen many patients who never again need any help in the areas treated, while others who had poor habits after the surgery needed extra procedures within a year or so. Whatever the case, it is unlikely that the same amount of fat will reaccumulate in the exact same areas.
What is more concerning is that the areas where the liposuction was performed will not gain fat, but other areas will, making the appearance of an apple core. Dr. Schlessinger always encourages his patients to prepare for a healthy life after liposuction and make sure they are fully committed before undergoing this expensive and important procedure.
Question: How do doctors achieve symmetry during the SmartLipo procedure?In a word: competence. The toughest thing to achieve after a liposuction is symmetry and this is what tests the skill of a surgeon and separates the experts from the rest when it comes to results.
The reason for this is that the SmartLipo portion involves the laser only, but what most patients don't realize is that the fat has to be removed in some way and that is the portion that actually requires great skill. Any person can learn to shove a laser in and out of the body, but it takes finesse and a true artistic appreciation for the body in order to make a liposuction case not look lumpy or asymmetric. That's where it pays to go to a professional who has done cosmetic surgery for years, rather than to a cosmetic surgery wannabe who simply purchased a laser and now believes their staff can do anything.
Question: Can SmartLipo be used if you are overweight?SmartLipo isn't a method of weight loss and if you are doing it for that, you're wasting your money. Liposuction and SmartLipo typically won't result in any weight loss. Do not consider this procedure to even "jump start" a weight loss program. You will be disappointed.
The problem is that if you aren't motivated prior to surgery, you probably won't be after surgery. Dr. Schlessinger recommends to these patients that they go back to diet and exercise and make sure they can lose weight on their own. If they can get within 10% of their goal weight and still have areas that need improvement, then SmartLipo is an option.
Question: Do the bumps from SmartLipo go away?Yes, it should if the bump is just swelling from fluid. During the healing process, you may develop an infection. If so, see a doctor immediately. Sometimes you may develop a collection of fluid called a seroma. Seromas typically can grow and are not very hard, but if this doesn't go away, that may be a possibility that needs to be reviewed by your surgeon.
Question: When can a patient return to work?Recovery from SmartLipo depends on type of anesthetic used. While many physicians try to tell patients it is all about the SmartLipo, here is the secret: It's about the anesthetic that is used prior to doing the procedure. Tumescent liposuction, invented by a dermatologist, is the reason that dermatologists typically have patients up and about the day of the procedure and the reason that many of Dr. Schlessinger's patients go to work the next day or two after surgery.
If your physician tells you the recovery will take more than a day, the surgeon is likely not doing the tumescent method, and you are going to have extra bruising and much more risk from your procedure. Additionally, you are probably going to have a bit more lumpiness after the procedure as well.
It pays to ask questions prior to your surgery or you will be bruised, tender and out of work for longer than necessary if you don't do the right method.