Any discussion about fast ways to lose fat inevitably touches on liposuction. But what is liposuction, anyway? You may have vague ideas about the fat-removal procedure, yet it is an immensely complex subject.
For instance, there are surgical procedures that use laser light and nonsurgical procedures that also use laser light, and they're both often referred to as laser lipo. It can be overwhelming, but we're here to help you sort through the noise.
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Traditionally, liposuction is a surgical procedure during which a surgeon suctions out fat from areas such as the stomach, thighs, and arms through a tube inserted into small incisions. Within the family of surgical lipo techniques, the most common is tumescent liposuction, which temporarily plumps the surgical area with a diluted solution of anesthetic. The anesthetic is then suctioned out along with the fat.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, ideal candidates for lipo:
A consultation with a plastic surgeon will be able to give you a better idea of whether or not you’re a candidate.
It's about 1–3 days for light activity, but it may take weeks or months for swelling to fully subside.
Typically, local anesthetic will be used for small volumes of fat, and general anesthetic for larger volumes. Intravenous sedation may also be used. Your doctor will determine which option is right for you.
The cost of liposuction can vary, but generally surgical liposuction prices are in the thousands. It all depends on the size of the patient, the number of areas treated, and the city in which the procedure takes place (Los Angeles may be more expensive than Phoenix, for example). Search our site for liposuction deals near you.
Liposuction cannot treat obesity, nor can it treat cellulite.
The words "laser lipo" may refer to surgical laser lipo or nonsurgical laser lipo. Let's focus on the former, first.
Surgical laser liposuction is performed with a laser that liquifies fat. Doctors insert the laser fiber into the treatment area, then suction out fat after it's melted. Instead of suturing the incisions, they often simply apply surgical dressings, letting fluids continue to drain away naturally. The most common form of laser liposuction is Smartlipo.
Laser liposuction candidates are similar to traditional liposuction candidates. Again, a doctor can help you determine your specific eligibility.
According to the Smartlipo manufacturer, you should be able to resume normal activities in a day or two.
There is usually only a local anesthetic, which means no "going under."
Surgical laser liposuction costs in the thousands of dollars, just like with traditional lipo. Click here to check for deals on laser lipo.
The treatment areas for Smartlipo and other laser liposuction procedures are similar to the treatment areas for traditional liposuction, including legs, arms, abdomens, and buttocks.
They each have advantages and disadvantages, so instead of worrying about the type of machine the doctor uses, worry about the doctor's qualifications and experience. And always ask to see before and after photos of real patients. (Click here to read what a real plastic surgeon wants you to know before you get surgery.)
Nonsurgical, or noninvasive, laser-lipo treatments send laser light into the body to get rid of fat, but they don't require incisions or downtime. Here is what happens during a treatment:
Step 1: Lasers penetrate through the skin and down to the fat cells.
Step 2: Once the laser light hits the fat cells, it creates tiny holes in the fat cells' membranes, causing the fat cells to release their stores of fatty acids, glycerol, and water into the bloodstream.
Step 3: The fat cells shrink in size, which results in a slimmer, more contoured physique.
Step 4: The body transfers the fat-cell waste to the lymphatic system for disposal.
Step 5 (optional): Clients use a body-vibration machine after a laser-lipo treatment to help the body get rid of the waste.
Common nonsurgical laser lipo devices include i-Lipo and Zerona. Read more about the treatments here.
None, clients can resume normal activities right away.
Nonsurgical laser lipo treatments can cost as low as $30 each, depending on your city.
Yes, you can still gain fat back after liposuction if you don't exercise and maintain good eating habits. That goes for both surgical and nonsurgical liposuction.
In addition, the treatments themselves work best on people who are already relatively fit and just want to address problem areas that seem to elude the effects of exercise.