The second most common cosmetic procedure in 2019 was liposuction, with more than 250,000 completed. That is up 3 percent from 2018. It utilizes a cannula tube to suction fat from problem areas that don’t respond to a change in lifestyle. 

There’s also a minimally invasive form of this technique for those looking for quicker recoveries, smaller incisions, and tighter skin. SmartLipo uses the heat of a laser to melt fat down, making it easier to suction from the body. The method has the additional advantage of firming skin. 

The following is Buglino Plastic Surgery’s guide outlining everything you need to know about SmartLipo.


What is SmartLipo?

A minimally invasive body contouring procedure, SmartLipo is a form of laser lipolysis. It utilizes laser energy to melt fat, enabling easier extraction. While facilitating the suction process, the heat also tightens existing collagen bands, stimulating collagen production and leading to firm and tight skin. 

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Biophotonics examined the effectiveness of Nd:YAG lasers used during laser lipolysis, finding “the treatment considerably decreased fat thickness and improved skin stiffness in the treated region.” A majority of consumers on RealSelf, a healthcare marketplace where consumers can connect with physicians, deemed the procedure “worth it.”


What areas of the body can it treat?

SmartLipo can treat all areas of the body, however, it’s best used on smaller pockets of fat. The technique’s precision makes it perfect for eliminating stubborn fat in areas such as love handles, upper arms, bra bulge, or double chin. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy concluded SmartLipo was safe and effective when combined with facelifts. The two locations that aren’t recommended for the treatment are the thighs and just above the knees. 


SmartLipo uses the heat of a laser to melt fat down, making it easier to suction from the body.

Who is an ideal candidate for SmartLipo?

The ideal candidate has done everything possible to get rid of stubborn areas of fat. You’ve changed your diet and committed to an exercise regimen, but nothing seems to be working. 

RealSelf also explains: “Good candidates for Smartlipo have a BMI of less than 30 and have less than 35% body fat. Some doctors recommend that patients be within 20% of their ideal body weight.” The site continues that candidates should have “good elasticity” and “not too much loose skin.” Those with certain conditions, such as cardiovascular issues, hypertension, or diabetes, need medical clearance beforehand. 


What does the procedure entail?

Before the procedure, you’ll have a consultation with a board-certified surgeon to discuss your goals and expectations. The plastic surgeon will create a customized surgical plan to help you achieve desired results. Your treatment will be scheduled. 

On the day of your SmartLipo, arrive a few minutes early to fill out necessary paperwork. You’ll be guided into one of our sterilized surgical rooms, and given local anesthesia. Once numb, an incision will be made and the laser fiber inserted. The laser destroys the fat cell membranes. Using a tiny cannula, the surgeon will suction the liquified fat out.

The entire procedure takes up to two hours. You shouldn’t feel any pain during the treatment. 


What is the recovery process like?

Typically, stitches aren’t needed because the incision is so tiny, about 3 mm. The wound will close up and heal on its own. However, you will be swollen and sore after the treatment. Patients should take off three to five days to fully heal, and wear a compression garment, if provided. Swelling will already be noticeably decreased in about a week afterward, so you’ll be able to see results. 

You can resume normal activities, including exercise, 1 week after the procedure. For the following two to three weeks, you may experience slight and tenderness. By week six, your symptoms should have improved. You’ll continue to see more defined results throughout the next six months. 

Similar to liposuction, you’ll need to maintain a stable weight to upkeep final results. 


What is the difference between SmartLipo & liposuction?

SmartLipo is used for the same purpose as liposuction. Both procedures suction stubborn fat, resulting in a more fit figure. Neither is a weight loss treatment. 

Although they serve the same function, SmartLipo provides a few advantages liposuction does not, such as improved skin tightening for small areas. Because the fat is liquified, there’s less trauma to the surrounding tissue during surgery, meaning recovery is faster and there’s less pain and bruising afterward. Dr Buglino uses power assisted liposuction as well to emulsify fat for easier recovery  

One major difference between the two is that SmartLipo has the ability to tighten skin in the treated area.  Dr Buglino finds smart lipo to be most effective time for smaller areas such as the neck and arms. 


Schedule a free consultation to discuss SmartLipo with Dr. Anthony Buglino, today.

Topics: Body Contouring, Liposuction