Laser-assisted lipolysis is a minimally-invasive medical procedure that uses lasers to eliminate unwanted fat. After a local anesthetic is applied, a very thin tube is inserted into the targeted area of fat. A laser fiber contained in the tube sends energy into the fat cells, which raises their temperature enough to make them break down — a process known as lipolysis. As the fat cells turn into an oily substance, they’re naturally absorbed and eliminated by the body.
Laser lipolysis is a good choice for contouring your body, but it’s not meant for major weight loss or removing large amounts of fat from throughout your body. It works best on specific problem areas, such as saddlebags, a double chin, love handles around your abdomen, or excess fat on your knees, inner thighs, and calves.
Another type of laser lipolysis that’s noninvasive can be performed using a medical device called SculpSure. However, it works best for smaller pockets of fat.
To remove larger areas of fat, Dr. Giannakakos uses an advanced device called the Smartlipo Triplex. With this device, the laser can be adjusted to three different wavelengths, which can be used individually or blended together. Each wavelength achieves a slightly different effect, so having the flexibility of multiple wavelengths allows Dr. Giannakakos to customize the treatment to each area of fat, depending on the depth and amount of fat being removed.
The Smartlipo Triplex also has different handpieces that ensure precise delivery of the laser and a sensor that measures the temperature at the treatment site. This immediate feedback lets the doctor make any necessary adjustments and ensure that the target temperature is reached, for a safe treatment and uniform results.
The length of the procedure depends on how many areas of fat are being treated and the amount of fat being removed. Since local anesthesia is used, you shouldn’t experience any discomfort during the procedure, and you’ll only have minor swelling or bruising when it's finished. You may need to rest for an hour or so following the treatment. You can resume normal activities in a day or so, but you’ll need to avoid vigorous activity, such as playing sports, for a short time. Most patients see and feel a difference right after treatment. However, fat cells break down and are eliminated gradually, so it can take 4-6 months to see the maximum effect.
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