You've counted enough calories to earn a math degree, spent a fortune on fitness gadgets and never missed a date with the gym; but still, you're haunted by that dreaded stomach bulge each time you lift up your shirt. Right now, liposuction may seem like the only way to nix that stubborn fat, but there is a safer and cheaper alternative to surgery, especially since it comes with several additional benefits: the laser liposuction.
Earlier this year, during the 38th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, scientists presented the results of an interesting study of more than 2,000 patients who underwent laser-assisted lipolysis and liposuction. It was revealed that those who had the operation for areas like the waist, belly, thighs, arms and calves also experienced tighter skin along with decreased girth.
“Liposuction has been around for more than 20 years. Many people don’t try it because they have heard that the skin often sags after the fat is removed," said lead author Abbas Chamsuddin, M.D., an interventional radiologist at the Center for Laser and Interventional Surgery in Atlanta. But with laser liposuction, "we are able to give people things such as a tighter abdomen without the need for surgery."
How much tightening can you expect? Among study participants, skin was 20 percent tighter on the low end and up to 80 percent tighter in some cases. On average, skin "snapped back" about 50 percent better than with traditional liposuction.
What is Laser Lipo?
The secret behind laser lipo's skin-tightening effect lies in its unique method of fat removal. With traditional liposuction, a plastic surgeon sucks out unwanted fat using a hollow tube that resembles a pen. With laser liposuction, however, the surgeon places a laser fiber beneath the skin, melting the fat into liquid form before suctioning it out of the body. Another laser is applied at the end of the procedure, prompting your body to release collagen, a natural substance responsible for giving the skin strength and elasticity. The more collagen you have, the tighter and firmer your skin will be.
Along with the tightening benefit, laser lipo has a couple of other advantages. For instance, it can remove more fat than traditional lipo, and also results in less bleeding and bruising because the laser coagulates your blood vessels.
Since is non-surgical, laser liposuction does not require a hospital room or general anesthesia. Your doctor will only give you a local anesthetic and may prescribe pain relievers to help you cope with any discomfort after the procedure. Unlike traditional liposuction, no knives or stitches are involved, and patients rarely report any pain during the procedure.
Although the doctor does most of the work, you can minimize risks and speed up recovery by wearing compression garments, drinking ample fluids, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes and steering clear of strenuous activities in the following days.
You'll probably see the desired results after several weeks or longer, as the treated area swells temporarily after the procedure. You may also experience some bruising or numbness, which are normal and will subside with time. Ultimately, your laser lipo can yield permanent slimming results if you maintain a healthy weight â€” so it's up to you make it last.
Is It Right for You?
Although laser liposuction has helped many people achieve the sculpted body they desire, the procedure is not right for everyone. As with all types of medically-assisted fat removal, laser lipo is best for people who are at a healthy weight but have pockets of fat that don't respond to diet and exercise.
If this describes you and you're finally ready to lose extra fat for good, it's time to contact a qualified plastic surgeon for a consultation. Laser lipo may be just what you're looking for, and can help you look and feel your best without ever going under the knife. With the added perk of tighter skin, you now have one more reason to pursue the body you've always wanted.
About the Author
Dr. Justin Yovino of Ideal Face and Body is a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon specializing in the most advanced surgical techniques in the field, including aesthetic, reconstructive, and hand surgery. He is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Yovino has been published in respected peer-reviewed plastic surgery journals, has presented his clinical work at plastic surgery meetings and is an expert plastic surgery contributor for realself.com.