Everyone, no matter how good their physical condition, has pockets of fat that don’t respond to changes in diet and exercise. No matter what you do the fat just keeps on keepin’ on. Stubborn.
In the 1970s doctors in France developed a way of removing these unwanted pockets of fat — liposuction. The procedure came to the U.S. in the 80s. But that original form of liposuction was a relatively violent procedure. Doctors had to aggressively move the cannula back and forth under the skin to break loose and suction out the fat. This created pretty extreme bruising and tissue trauma. And the patient had to be under general anesthesia. Recovery times were relatively long, and sometimes, because the removed fat had been supporting the skin, the skin on top would end up loose and saggy after the procedure.
That’s why Dr. Aydin uses SmartLipo, a dramatic improvement from traditional liposuction that incorporates laser technology into the procedure.
Laser-assisted liposuction was developed in Europe and approved for use in the U.S. by the FDA in 2006. SmartLipo utilizes medical-grade lasers to create a light beam that ruptures and melts fat cells without causing trauma to the nearby blood vessels, nerves, and other soft tissue. By breaking up and melting the fat it is easier to capture and suction away. Plus, the cannula required for suction is much smaller than in traditional liposuction, so the corresponding incisions are smaller making for easy recovery and virtually no scarring.
In addition to melting the fat and making it easier to remove, the laser in SmartLipo has another benefit. After the fat in the target area has been removed, Dr. Aydin directs the laser at the dermis layer of skin. The heat energy triggers a wound response in the body, creating new collagen and elastin. Why is this valuable? Collagen and elastin are two proteins that provide the skin’s basic support system (collagen) and make the skin supple (elastin). As we age collagen production drops one percent each year once we hit 20. Elastin drops in a similar fashion. That’s why our skin becomes saggy, loose, and brittle the older we get. But by triggering new collagen and elastin production, the skin at areas treated with SmartLipo tightens, adding to the overall contouring effect of the procedure.
The laser also coagulates the blood vessels while melting the fat. This creates far less bleeding, bruising and tissue trauma compared with traditional liposuction.
What is a SmartLipo procedure like?
Dr. Aydin performs SmartLipo as an outpatient procedure. After applying local anesthesia, he then injects tumescent solution into the area. This solution contains small amounts of epinephrine, local anesthetic, and saline and acts to constrict the blood vessels and numb the area.
Next he makes one or more tiny incisions (depending on the size of the treatment area) to insert the laser and then the cannula. The tiny laser fiber is inserted first, melting the fat and triggering skin tightening. After the heating is complete, a thin cannula is inserted through the incision and moved from side to side to suction out the dissolved fat and much of the tumescent solution (the body absorbs the rest).
Tissue trauma involved in SmartLipo is so much less than traditional liposuction that recovery is not difficult. Incisions are very small, not even requiring stitches. And because the laser energy melts the fat, aggressive movement of the cannula is not required to dislodge the fat. Finally, thanks to the combination of the laser’s ability to coagulate blood vessels, along with epinephrine’s constricting qualities, there is less bleeding, bruising, and residual pain. Patients can walk and move about not long after the procedure and usually don’t require pain medication that first evening. Most patients can drive the next day and return to work in one or two days. This is dramatically different than traditional liposuction recovery. Plus, due to the small size of the incisions, scarring is so minor it is virtually invisible.
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