Did you know that liposuction was invented in 1974 by an Italian gynecologist? It’s true. It was then brought to America, but it wasn’t until the 80’s that tumescent liposuction was created, giving patients a softer and safer method of body sculpting by adding salt water to the process. Like every medical discovery or device, time brings more technological advances. The latest and safest liposuction available today is provided by laser technology.
What’s the difference? There are key differences in function, safety, discomfort, results and recovery time.
Let’s talk about function first.
Although the function of both traditional and laser liposuction is to remove fat deposits, laser lipo is best for mild to moderate fat removal plus skin tightening, while traditional, surgical liposuction can eliminate larger amounts of fat. Traditional liposuction cannot tighten the skin like laser body contouring can.
There are big differences in discomfort and safety between traditional and laser liposuction.
Discomfort is higher in traditional liposuction, hands down. Incisions must be made and then sutured closed. Sometimes drains are also inserted and removed a few days after the procedure. With laser body contouring, the cannula is much thinner, often requiring no incisions at all, just tiny insertion points that will heal with nothing more than a steri-strip or a small band-aid. Traditional lipo usually requires going under general anesthesia, making the procedure more expensive and adding the risk of anesthesia-related complications. Laser lipo is performed under local anesthesia; you’ll be awake, alert and comfortable during the procedure.
The differences in results from laser vs traditional liposuction
Laser liposuction provides a level of skin tightening that does not occur with traditional liposuction. The high-energy beams of laser liposuction penetrate into the skin and heats up the innermost structures, stimulating new collagen and elastin growth in the skin. This creates better skin function and appearance, which improves over time. Less fat + better skin is, in our minds, the definition of a great result! Here are some laser lipo photos that show the excellent results one can get without surgery.
Another difference between laser and traditional liposuction is the timing of results. Traditional liposuction patients see results immediately. Laser liposuction patients will also see a change immediately, with more changes occurring over several months, as the collagen and elastin proliferate to smooth out the skin.
Recovery is vastly different
Laser liposuction is, by and large, much better tolerated than traditional liposuction. There’s no nausea and headache from general anesthesia, as laser lipo is done under local anesthesia. There are no large incisions and sutures. Also, there is far less bruising with laser liposuction. Generally, patients feel able to be up and about almost immediately, if not immediately, from laser body contouring.
Which type of liposuction is best for your needs?
The best thing is to talk to your physician about which form of liposuction will best help you achieve your body contouring goals. With its ease of tolerability and minimal downtime, laser liposuction has become the far most popular option with patients at Reflections. You can find more information about the differences between these two procedures on our site, including frequently asked questions about laser liposuction.