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Advances in Laser Liposuction
- The first laser liposuction, known as SmartLipo, was approved for use by the FDA in November, 2006. It had been created in Italy years earlier and used in Europe for several years before testing even began in the United States. Regular liposuction was created in Italy also, and dates back to 1974, when it was developed by Italian gynecologist, Dr. Giorgio Fischer. It wasn’t until 1978 in France that liposuction was used for cosmetic purposes. Laser liposuction was still the stuff of science fiction at that time.
- In 1985, two dermatologists made an advance in the field of cosmetic surgery by creating tumescent liposuction. Tumescent liposuction was one step closer to laser liposuction, in that it also didn’t require a general anesthetic to be used. About five times more liquid would be injected into the site where the fat was to be aspirated. Lidocaine was mixed into the liquid for its anesthetic properties, and since a local anesthetic was administered before the procedure, the patient could comfortably stay awake.
- The next major breakthrough would be laser liposuction in Europe in the early 90s, though it wasn’t approved in the US for many years. The first approved laser technique was SmartLipo. This procedure used a laser to literally melt the fat cells, and that liquid would be aspirated, or sucked away. A small incision was necessary, and only a local anesthetic was needed.
- Today, there are more options when it comes to laser liposuction. In fact, liposuction isn’t even an accurate term for the procedure anymore because some techniques don’t require any kind of suctioning at all.
- Many laser liposuction techniques are similar to the first in that a tiny incision is made and a very thin wand with a laser on the end is inserted underneath the skin. The laser destroys the fat cells, which liquefy. But instead of suctioning this away, it’s allowed to drain away into the body tissues. This is easier on the tissues that the suction and causes less bruising, trauma and pain than any other form of invasive liposuction.
- The most recent advances, however, allow a person to get a form of laser liposuction in which no incision at all is necessary. A laser lipolysis method unveiled in the UK in 2008 is much like having an ultrasound. The laser is guided over the fat pockets on the outside of the skin, and in treatments that range from 30 minutes to 3 hours, a visible difference can be made.
- The fat that’s broken down during these newest laser liposuction techniques, generally referred to as body contouring instead of laser lipo even though a laser is used, is removed through the lymphatic system. There’s no need for anesthetic, no need for an incision, and no need for downtime or healing time since there’s no invasion of the body whatsoever.
Multiple sessions may be required to lessen the size of a fatty deposit, though. There are different “brand” names of these body contouring techniques, with varying results. These techniques appear to work best on smaller and