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Center of Dermatology and Laser Surgery of Philadelphia


Persistent, fat deposits that are resistant to diet and regular exercise are a common cause of dissatisfaction for millions of Americans. As a result, body contouring treatments are one of the most commonly requested cosmetic procedures. For those who are seeking an alternative to traditional liposuction and the associated downtime, there are novel minimally-invasive options available. Smartlipo, a laser-assisted liposuction procedure, is a cutting-edge technique that uses laser technology to facilitate the suction removal of unwanted fat. Less invasive than traditional liposuction, Smartlipo is an excellent option for people who would like to sculpt areas of the body that contain stubborn fat.

What Does Smartlipo Treat?

Smartlipo is a versatile sculpting treatment that can give a slimmer and tauter appearance. The procedure can address larger areas of localized fat – such as fatty tissue in the flanks (love handles), buttocks, hips, and thighs–as well improve the contour of the chin and neck. Because the laser energy also prompts collagen regeneration in the skin, a Smartlipo procedure has a skin tightening benefit. This makes the procedure especially effective for reducing post-pregnancy skin laxity and restoring the figure to its pre-childbirth appearance.

The Smartlipo Procedure

Designed to selectively target and destroy fat cells, Smartlipo is a highly accurate treatment that will not affect other healthy tissue. During the procedure, a local anesthesia is administered to ensure patient comfort. A thin tube, which contains the laser fiber, is then carefully inserted into the tissue. The laser emits energy that heats and melts the fat, making it easier to dislodge and suction out the disintegrated fat cells. Once the fat is extracted, the tube is taken out and a compression garment is applied to help reduce swelling and bruising. Fast and efficient, the procedure can be done in about an hour, depending on the extent of the treatment area. Although patients may feel some mild pressure during the procedure, Smartlipo is generally very well-tolerated.

Downtime and Recovery after Smartlipo

Because Smartlipo delivers such a precise treatment, swelling is mitigated, which reduces risk and downtime. Mild bruising and soreness is commonly reported, but these side effects are temporary. After about 48 hours, most patients can return to work or resume their normal activities. Typically, patients continue to wear the compression garment for few days, although that period of time can vary from individual to individual.

Seeing the Difference

Although patients can see noticeable improvement within about 7-10 days after the procedure, final results will unfold over the course of a few months. As the body heals, the inflammation will subside and the skin will become more firm. Best of all, the results are enduring–once the fat is removed, it is gone. To optimize results, a balanced diet should be combined with regular exercise.

Ideal Candidates for SmartLipo

For those looking to achieve a more contoured body, but do not want to undergo traditional liposuction, Smartlipo can deliver remarkable results. Ideal candidates are a healthy overall, are not overweight and have localized fat deposits. While Smartlipo can help shape the body, but is not a substitute for a weight loss plan and is not effective for overall weight reduction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Smartlipo Safe?

Currently Smartlipo is the most widely validated and widely used laser-assisted liposuction. Smartlipo has been shown to cause less bruising, swelling and overall pain compared to traditional liposuction. Its use has also been extensively studied for the last decade. Smartlipo laser causes small blood vessels to coagulate directly on contact. This results in less bleeding and swelling and a fast recovery time than conventional liposuction.

How Long Does it Take to See Results?

Many patients experience positive results in just one week after the first treatment. Results normally continue to improve over the course of three to six months. Although the Smartlipo laser system permanently destroys fat cells in the area that is being treated, in order to have longer lasting results it is important to keep a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Is There Scarring?

Since the Smartlipo procedure is minimally invasive, the incision site is quite small. If post care instructions are followed and the patient takes proper care of the incision site, the little scarring that occurs will be practically unnoticeable. Every person’s skin is different therefore it is best that the physician provides the patient will the complete information regarding the procedure and his or her skin type.

What Are The Treatment Areas?

The treatment areas remain limited compared to traditional liposuction. Smartlipo is ideal for treating the stubborn fat that accumulates on hips, under arms, knees, and small areas of loose skin, especially on the neck. It can also be used to treat fat on the abdomen, buttocks, back and hip areas. Consult our team of medical professionals for more information on treatments areas specific to your needs.

Does SmartLipo treat cellulite?

Smartlipo can also improve the appearance of cellulite. This improvement is more likely to be seen in the arm and leg area.

Patients ask Dr. Ringpfeil answers

Please feel free to use this form to ask our dermatologists questions about this treatment.