As you work with your plastic surgeon to determine which liposuction procedure will work best to give you the results you want, you may begin to discuss the possibility of laser liposuction. The procedure is one of the newer options available to people who undergo liposuction, but it provides good results to the right patients.

“Generally, anyone who is in good health is a potential candidate for liposuction. However, you have to look at each case individually to balance the patient’s expectations with what is actually possible,” says Alfredo Hoyos, MD, a plastic surgeon from Colombia who has invented several cosmetic procedures.

Laser liposuction is one of several types of liposuction available to patients seeking a sleeker, more pleasing shape. Liposuction procedures, including laser liposuction, can help patients receive the contoured, smooth results they desire but can’t be obtained with diet and exercise, due to factors such as genetic predisposition.

“Laser liposuction is usually best on very small areas,” explains Emily Pollard, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon from Bala Cynwyd, Pa. “It works best on those procedures. While I don’t like to use it on bigger areas, like the belly, it can create positive results for good patients.”

Performing Laser Liposuction

A typical laser-liposuction procedure can be performed either under general anesthesia or local anesthesia, depending on the area of the body being sculpted.

According to Dr. Pollard, the cosmetic procedure begins with the surgeon marking the area and injecting it with a saline solution designed to help begin emulsifying the fat. The solution, Pollard adds, also includes medications to ease both pain and swelling.

Then, the plastic surgeon uses the laser to heat the fat, which will help break it down to allow the cosmetic surgeon to more easily remove it. After the surgeon uses the laser, he will create small incisions and employ thin tubes called cannulas to suction away the fat.

Recovery Process after Laser Liposuction

Recovering from laser liposuction is very similar to the recovery process for other liposuction procedures. The surgeon will apply compression bandages to help with swelling and drainage tubes to help remove excess fluid after the procedure.

Swelling may persist for several weeks after the procedure, but ultimately, through patience and careful guidance from a quality plastic surgeon, results can meet a patient’s realistic expectations.

Other Benefits of Laser Liposuction

In addition to offering patients a more pleasing and contoured shape, laser liposuction may also benefit the quality of the skin. The heat from the lasers may help bolster collagen production — the substance that gives skin its elasticity and youthful appearance.

Because factors such as aging impact the skin’s production of collagen, many patients are pleased with this additional benefit of laser-liposuction procedures.