Laser Liposuction in Profile

Research suggests laser technique adds skin tightening benefits

Laser Liposuction So you want less fat and a tighter tummy. Do you have to have a surgical tummy tuck to get the results you want? Not necessarily according to preliminary research conducted by a team of researchers who recently presented their results at the Society of Interventional Radiology‘s 38th Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans.

Traditionally liposuction has been reserved as a body contouring solution for those patients with tighter skin. When the skin is loose, most MDs generally recommend surgical removal as the best option because removing fat via liposuction will only make loose skin appear even looser.

“Many women who have standard liposuction are discouraged because often the skin sags after the fat is removed,” said lead study author Abbas Chamsuddin, M.D., interventional radiologist at the Center for Laser and Interventional Surgery in Atlanta, GA, reports news source Medical News Today in a recent article.

But adding a laser to the mix may make liposuction a viable option available to a wider patient base. Laser liposuction, which was approved as an aesthetic procedure by the FDA in 2006, not only melts the fat, which can make the procedure less stressful on the patient’s body and the surgeon’s arm, it is also well known to stimulate collagen production and cause a “shrink wrap” effect. Dr. Chamsuddin  believes laser liposuction makes patient skin up to 50% tighter, reports HealthDay article “Laser Liposuction May Zap Fat Without Skin Sag: Study.”

In the study, Dr. Chamsuddin and colleagues examined skin tightening in more than 2,000 male and female patients who underwent laser liposuction of the arms, thighs, tummy, neck, love handles, breast, or calves. Skin tightness was evaluated and measurements were taken pre and post procedure (every day for one week and at 3 and 6 months). At the 3-month follow-up, researchers reported an observed 20% to 80% increase in skin tightening. The amount of skin tightening, they explained, depended on the area treated as well as the quality of the skin before treatment.

While both the laser liposuction and standard liposuction approaches to fat reduction share similarities, there are also key differences. Similarities include the use of tumescent solution for pain control and to minimize the risk of bleeding as well as making tiny incisions into the areas to be liposuctioned. In both instances fat is suctioned out using a cannula, a small tube. The difference between the two is the state of the fat that is removed. The laser in laser liposuction melts the fat first, so that it is removed in a liquid state; traditional lipo extracts fat in it’s solid form. Laser liposuction also adds an extra step. After removing liquified fat, a laser is used to tighten the skin.

Several companies have developed liposuction lasers, each of which has a specialty:

These research findings may suggest benefits, but some doctors say we should still approach with caution. Dr. Chamsuddin agrees and has his eye on a follow up study that would compare results with another group of patients undergoing standard liposuction.

As for cost, HealthDay News reports that laser liposuction can be within the $2,000 to $4,000 range if you’re having arms, belly or thighs treated while standard lipo ranges in price from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on location of treatment.

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