What is shrink wrap liposuction?
There has been a lot of buzz and interest lately in a new procedure called shrink wrap liposuction. Unfortunately, shrink wrap lipo is just another name for laser liposuction or smartlipo. A physician in California has just marketed the procedure under a new name. Although the name is catchy and clever, the procedure offers nothing new over conventional laser liposuction.
The good news is that laser liposuction works and is here to stay. Initially written off by the plastic surgeons as an unnecessary procedure, laser liposuction has progressed to almost be standard of care during liposuction these days. Smartlipo, the original laser liposuction system has been joined by many competitors like Slim Lipo and Cool Lipo. The power of the lasers have increased as well the different wavelengths of light used. There are as many choices for these procedures for the surgeons as well as the patients.
What is the advantage of laser liposuction?
Laser liposuction is a tool and not a replacement for a skilled surgeon. It is just another instrument available to the surgeon to improve your results. What laser liposuction offers is the ability to introduce heat into the fat and skin layer. The heat is proven to have several critical effects. Fat cells absorb the heat and literally melt. So the laser can help remove more fat and enable finer body sculpting results. The other important effect is skin tightening. Heat is well known to cause collagen stimulation and collagen contraction. Collagen is the building block of your skin and connective tissue. So applying heat to your skin and deeper connective tissues leads to skin tightening (shrink wrap effect).
Laser liposuction has been compared to traditional liposuction as a better alternative. However, laser liposuction still involves traditional liposuction. When a liposuction case begins, there is usually a large fat layer that must be made smaller. If the layer is very small, the laser can be used first to melt the fat prior to suctioning it away. In most patients, the layer is too large and the small laser fiber would be inefficient in trying to melt this thick fat. It is best to suction away most of the fat with traditional as well as assisted liposuction techniques like vaser and power-assisted, prior to using the laser. Once the fat layer is at the desired thickness, the laser can then be brought in to fine tune and smooth the fat layer, perform body sculpting and induce skin tightening.
Laser liposuction does also have several other advantages like decreased bleeding and reduced downtime. The heat from the laser appears to cauterize some blood vessels and reduce bleeding. By substituting laser liposuction for the some of the more traumatic traditional lipo techniques, tissue damage and downtime also appear to be reduced.
When looking for a laser liposuction surgeon it is crucial to make your decision on their experience and results rather than on their technology. Repeated studies have shown that the power or the wavelength of the laser have no relation to good results. Remember, laser liposuction is just another tool and its how the surgeon uses it that will determine your outcome.