One of the major advantages of the laser Smartlipo liposuction procedure is that it can be performed when the patient is awake, using only local anesthesia. This provides significant safety benefits over traditional liposuction, which required a patient to be put under general anesthetic throughout the surgery. While some other modern forms of liposuction can also be performed using only local anesthesia, the Smartlipo procedure generally produces better overall results.
The First Stage Of The Procedure
The first step is quite important, because it ensures the physician knows exactly where the fat is to be removed, and how much needs to be removed. The patient remains standing while the physician marks on the patient’s skin the areas that require work. This is done in a topographical fashion, which means that the body’s contours are marked (much like mountains are marked on a topographical map). This shows the physician the areas where the fat is thicker, and more tissue needs to be removed, to the areas where it is thinner, and less needs to be removed, allowing the physician to taper the body correctly.
The Second Stage of the Procedure
The first step of the actual liposuction operation involves injecting tumescent fluid into the tissues to be operated on. This is the slowest part of the operation. The fluid contains the anesthetic and epinephrine, the combination of which numbs the area completely, so the entire operation will be pain free, and shrinks the blood vessels, minimizing bleeding and bruising. The fluid added produces a swollen area, which allows easier fat removal.
The Third Stage of the Procedure
In this stage, the Smartlipo laser is inserted into the skin and is used to treat both the skin (heating it, and causing it to shrink and tighten) and the fat (by softening and liquefying it so that it’s easily removed). The anesthetic by this stage has completely numbed the patient, so all they can feel is some movement beneath the skin as the laser is moved around. The instrument with the laser makes a light under the skin, which acts as an aiming beam. This allows the doctor to better see exactly where he is, and allows him to direct the beam to the exact location needed.
One of the advantages of the local anesthetic used is that its effects last for up to forty hours, minimizing pain for a full day after the procedure has been completed. While the full anesthetic effect won’t remain the entire time, the pain will be minimal. For this reason, most patients experience the worst pain on the third day, by which time the body is beginning to heal.
The Final Stage of the Procedure
In the final step, a micro cannula is used to remove the liquefied fat. The cannula is attached to a suction machine and a cannister where the excess fat is stored. The cannula is moved very rapidly beneath the skin, removing the fat in a very uniform fashion. The patient may feel the movement of the cannula, but is not at all uncomfortable even though the movement may be quite vigorous.
In some areas of the body (particularly the stomach where there may be thicker fat deposits) the physician may use a powered cannula which vibrates, enabling the fat to be removed easier. The patient may feel a very odd sensation, but again, will not experience any pain.
Throughout the procedure several pounds of fat can be removed. In the hands of a skilled physician, the Smartlipo method produces a very natural result, with no irregularities. The patient is able to return to work in a few days, and can resume their normal activities very quickly.