Laser liposuction, commonly known as ‘laser lipo’, is a non-invasive liposculpture procedure for the removal of stubborn pockets of fat such as saddlebags, love handles and double chins. It can effectively reduce areas of fat resistant to diet or exercise with fewer side effects than traditional procedures such as liposuction. The procedure uses a laser to effectively ‘melt’ unwanted fat on the face and body, and then either allows to body to metabolize the melted fat or uses ‘aspiration’, a form of suction that allows the practitioner to remove greater quantities of fat.
Although it has been touted as a lunchtime treatment, laser liposuction is classified as a minor surgical procedure as the surgeon will need to make a small incision and the area being treated will be numbed with local anaesthetic. Because you are awake throughout the procedure, there are fewer risks involved than with traditional liposuction, which is often done under general anaesthetic. Laser lipolysis is not a weight loss treatment and is not suited to people who are significantly overweight, it is better for those with small localized areas of stubborn fat. The results give rise to a more harmonious body shape in a short time, without the bruising and swelling of more aggressive procedures.
Am I a Candidate?
Ideal candidates are those with stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. Laser liposuction is not a treatment for obesity – it is designed for the reduction of localized areas of fat and skin tightening in people who are a normal body weight.
It is important to discuss the results that you desire with a practitioner before treatment, as it may be that a more invasive procedure is necessary to transform your body shape. Laser liposuction is only recommended for the removal of up to 500mls of fat, so you may need liposuction to remove larger quantities of fat.
A local anaesthesic will be used in the treatment area, and then a small incision will be made in the skin. A very thin cannula (1mm wide hollow metal tube) is inserted into the skin and a laser probe is threaded through to pulse laser light into the fatty tissue to ‘melt’ the fat cells. These melted fat cells are then naturally eliminated by the body. Increasingly, practitioners are also offering suction of the released fat after the laser liposuction procedure to speed up and enhance the results. The procedure takes between 1-2 hours.
You may be required to rest for an hour or so following treatment, but normal activities can usually be resumed the following day. It is best to avoid vigorous physical activity for 1-2 weeks after this procedure.
You should notice some weight loss and tighter skin immediately following treatment, but the final results are seen gradually over a number of weeks as your body continues to process and naturally remove the melted fat.
Risks and Complications
Due to the local anaesthetic, the treatment should not be painful. You may experience minor swelling, bruising or tenderness for a few days following treatment.
There are other less invasive options to laser lipo which can be effective on small, localized areas of fat without penetrating the skin. Ask your practitioner for alternative treatment options.
Costs for laser lipo depend on the size of the area(s) being treated.
Choosing a Practitioner
Only suitably trained and qualified practitioners should perform a laser liposuction procedure.