What's Laser Liposuction and Can It Really Burn Your Fat Without Surgery?
Laser liposuction has been found to require 13 percent less touch-up surgeries than regular liposuction. But is it safe? It seems to be another way doctors can successfully remove fat from your body. Here are some details on the procedure.
Laser liposuction was first used in the 90s, but it wasn't recognized until the early 2000s and was approved by the FDA in 2006. Doctors found that laser liposuction (also known as laser lipolysis) can be safer than traditional liposuction because it causes less trauma to tissues surrounding the fat and may not even involve physical surgery. Unlike traditional liposuction, which involves making small incisions from which fat is sucked out, some laser liposuction procedures melt fat from a distance without requiring any physical incisions into your skin at all!
A typical laser liposuction procedure involves concentrating a laser at a section of fat you want removed. The doctor optimizes the laser's frequency and wavelength until its energy output allows the laser to penetrate and be absorbed through your skin where it starts liquefying the fat by damaging your fat cells' cell membranes. Then the doctor makes a tiny incision and removes the liquefied fat with a small tube. If the procedure is being done on a small area of fat, like pockets of fat in the inner thighs, most doctors will just let the destroyed fat be removed naturally by your body and won't make an incision at all!
Is laser liposuction safe? If you feel unsure about lasers operating on your body, consider that lasers have been safely and successfully used to shrink or zap things in the body for decades – doctors have been using laser technology to break up kidney stones, for example. But laser liposuction carries different risks than traditional liposuction – like thermal burning.
Doctors using laser liposuction have to be more careful because there's a narrow safe window in laser wavelength, frequency, and energy range where the laser safely burns fat without causing damage to surrounding tissues. If the laser's wavelength, frequency, and energy are below that window, then the laser isn't strong enough to burn fat. If the laser's wavelength, frequency, and energy go higher than that window, the skin and other healthy tissues surrounding the fat start becoming burned.
Your doctor will have to constantly keep the laser's parameters within the safe range throughout the procedure. But laser liposuction equipment have become more sophisticated since the early 2000s -- with modern lipo LED machines that have better frequency and wavelength stabilization, it's easier for doctors to keep the laser's parameters within the safe window. You can read more about these machines here.
If performed correctly, laser liposuction is safer and has less side effects on your body. It usually leaves no scars, or far fewer scars than if traditional liposuction were performed. If an incision is required to remove the liquefied fat, the incision would be smaller than that of traditional liposuction because a smaller tube is used. This leads to less pain, less blood loss, less discoloration due to blood loss, and less trauma to surrounding tissues. The laser also coagulates blood vessels to the fatty tissue better than the coagulation agents used in traditional liposuction, which leads to less or no edema at all post-treatment. Because of these factors, doctors noticed that laser liposuction patients have faster recovery times than traditional liposuction patients – some can even get back to work in one and a half days!
The major reason people choose laser liposuction over traditional liposuction is that the heat from the laser therapy also tightens and shrinks the skin, which prevents flabby skin after the fat is removed. In fact, people undergo laser liposuction for this benefit alone when they've already removed undesired fat through traditional liposuction. Unlike traditional liposuction, laser liposuction also causes your body to make new collagen in the area, which leads to firmer skin.
Although laser liposuction sounds like a fast and safe way to burn fat, remember it's not without its risks. It's also more costly than traditional liposuction. You should only choose laser liposuction only if diet and exercise isn't getting rid of excess fat in troublesome areas.