Laser-assisted liposuction is an upgraded version of traditional liposuction that uses innovative technology, with some key variations. For starters, the fat is melted and broken down using heat produced by concentrated lasers. Yes, I know what you may be thinking: this sounds like a weapon a villain might use in a movie. In reality, however, this has not only proven to be highly effective but also involves a much smaller incision and less scarring than tumescent liposuction.
To clear up any confusion you may have, there are two versions of laser liposuction. The goal of both procedures is the same, but the journey is quite different.
The version we discussed above, the minimally invasive variation, uses a cannula inserted through a small incision made in the targeted body part. The cannula, a small, tube-like, and versatile tool, is also used during traditional liposuction procedures, but in those scenarios, it does not use laser energy. During minimally invasive laser-assisted liposuction, high-intensity light liquefies undesired fat before the cannula sucks out this waste material.
The other version of laser liposuction (pictured below) is an entirely different, noninvasive procedure. Fat cells are shrunk using laser-emitting pads placed on the skin without burning or damaging the epidermis or surrounding tissue. The body then naturally flushes out these cells over the following weeks.
Both procedures are considered to be highly effective and safe. Still, one of the most frequently asked questions is whether the extreme heat can burn or hurt the patient.
During minimally invasive laser liposuction, an exceedingly small risk of burning exists if the surgeon uses the incorrect wavelength. These unfortunate cases, which usually leave patients with severe burns that can turn into a nasty scar, often are done by someone who is not board-certified plastic. This risk explains why we always recommend vetting your doctor and making sure not to opt for a discounted or black market procedure. Even if you are desperate to lose that unwanted fat, you should try to adopt a strict diet plan and incorporate a steady dose of exercise before turning to minimally or noninvasive cosmetic surgery.
The discomfort associated with this type of liposuction should not be too extreme after the procedure. You may feel sore in the days immediately after the minimally invasive operation. Still, once that wanes, you should feel nothing worse than minor, occasional tingling or numbness in treated areas. Such aftereffects will gradually wear off over the following couple of months.
With noninvasive laser liposuction, the risk of burning does not really exist, but there can be a mild level of discomfort in the treated area during the treatment. The recovery time is much quicker with this option, but it is far less effective at removing large quantities of fat than surgical procedures. Pain and swelling afterward is not a factor, and the risk of infection is virtually nonexistent since it requires no incision.
Overall, both procedures have been proven to be very safe. In the end, it all depends on how comfortable you feel taking anesthesia and having a cannula inserted into your body, as well as how aggressive you want to target your stubborn fat.