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Laser-Assisted Liposuction vs. “Lipo Laser” – What’s the Difference

It can be confusing trying to sort out the names and claims about lasers, liposuction and laser lipo.

Liposuction has been around for decades. Modern liposuction was started in the 1980s, with the newer tumescent technique developed by Dr. Jeff Klein. Over the years, it has improved through research and education.

Lately, since 2006, it has been greatly improved with the addition of lasers to assist in the breakup or melting of fat prior to removal. This is called “laser-assisted liposuction” or laser lipolysis, or shortened to “laser liposuction” and even sometimes “laser lipo.” Brand or trade names include Cool Lipo, SlimLipo, Lipotherme and the most well-known, SmartLipo.

Laser Lipo = Liposuction with Laser Assistance

Laser-assisted liposuction, laser lipo, provides dependable results. Its track record is long, with many happy patients, many published studies and many peer-reviewed results endorsing its effectiveness. It is a minimally invasive, permanent body sculpting cosmetic procedure that is here to stay.

Lipo laser, a different term, is a noninvasive device that also claims to sculpt bodies. Noninvasive “lipo lasers” are somewhat of an oxymoron in name.

The name borrows from the known idea that liposuction sculpts the body and removes fat. Saying “non-invasive liposuction” is kind of like saying “dry water.” Lipo laser devices are known by such trade names as Zerona, LipoLaser, Lapex, and others, say they cause fat cells to release fat, which is then metabolized by the body. These devices have been on the market for 2- 3 years; they claim to cause fat loss by delivering low energy from a laser held about 12 inches from the patient. This sounds too good to be true because it probably is.

The company markets itself widely to doctors and the public. The problem remains that there have been no good unbiased, randomized scientific studies that have shown these devices to be effective. There has only been one study, which was produced by the owners of the device. This company-sponsored study found the device effective in about 67% of patients. While a one-in-three failure rate is not a great result to begin with, medical professionals, scientists, and the general public should be also be skeptical of any study produced by a company whose sole interest is to profit from the sale of the device. That’s like a fast-food chain publishing a study saying its french fries are great for you. We must look at which results the medical community is able to independently reproduce and verify.

After publication of the study, other medical professionals tried, as researchers do, to independently verify its conclusions in a non-company-funded study. If they were to find success with this device, it could revolutionize cosmetic medicine, so the results were hotly anticipated Researchers were not able to repeat even the moderate success rate. The subjects in the independent studies had no results and no success using the same treatment, protocols and methodology. That’s not great news about the device’s effectiveness.

Laser Lipo Works

We do know this about what’s effective to contour the body and lose fat: Fat removal through liposuction, exercise, or watching calorie intake, or some combination of those. “Lipo laser” treatments often include accompanying strict dietary restrictions to “help” results. We know that calorie-restricted diets really do help people lose weight and inches. So those who pay for these treatments are invested in success and have motivation to stick to their diets and so even if the lipo laser doesn’t work some people are going to lose some weight and or inches because they are motivated to follow the diet and exercise program.

For those who haven’t been able to eliminate stubborn pockets of fat through diet and exercise, liposuction with its permanent removal of fat remains an effective and satisfactory method to accomplish this. There is no proof that there’s a magic, noninvasive laser which can remove inches and pockets of fat. Although it is minimally invasive, Laser lipo gives patients lasting success after a single treatment with little downtime and with dependable results.

Lapex, Zerona and Lipo Laser are not liposuction.

Liposuction and Laser Assisted Liposuction, sometimes abbreviated as Laser Lipo, can get confused with the light therapy nonsurgical devices. These terms can be confusing. Some manufactures and associate health providers claim that the Light Therapy Non-Invasive treatment gives the same results as Liposuction, and it is simply not true.

Traditional tumescent liposuction is safe and highly effective with many people highly pleased with the results. Liposuction and its newer cousin, Laser Assisted Liposuction a/k/a laser lipo, is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure.

Says Dr. Wright, “To obtain results of permanent fat loss, see a qualified surgeon who performs the procedures for an evaluation before deciding to have any cosmetic procedure. Do your homework and beware of claims that sound too good to be true. They often are.”

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