Laser Liposuction

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Everything You Need to Know About Laser Liposuction

By Nora McClellan • Medical review by Jason Emer, MD on December 6th, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions?

You can trust RealSelf content to be unbiased, thoughtful, and rigorously checked for quality and accuracy. We also maintain high standards for how we allow doctors to appear and participate on our platform. Learn more about RealSelf standards and business model here.

What is laser liposuction?

A relatively new twist on traditional liposuction, laser liposuction uses laser energy to liquefy pockets of excess fat before it’s suctioned out through a thin tube. The liquefied fat is easier to remove, making this a less aggressive procedure with a potentially faster recovery and smoother skin. It does have risks, so if you’re considering laser lipo, you’ll want an experienced surgeon.

Also known as: Laser Lipo, Lipoplasty, Laser-Assisted Liposuction

Is laser liposuction right for me?

You could be a good liposuction candidate if you’re a healthy, nonsmoking adult who has:

  • a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or below
  • a desire for fat reduction and body contouring in a few specific areas
  • good skin tone and elasticity

Younger people with minimal sun damage and darker skin tones tend to have the best skin elasticity. As we age, our skin loses its ability to bounce back after being stretched, so older patients can be left with saggy skin.

“Energy-based liposuction, like laser or ultrasound, gives the best fat reduction and skin tightening, along with contouring and shaping,” says Dr. Jason Emer, a Los Angeles dermatologic surgeon. “The ideal candidates are those in their best shape possible before the procedure, with tight skin and only small problem areas of stubborn fat.”

If you’re primarily looking for a weight-loss solution or a treatment for cellulite, liposuction won’t be your best option.

Laser liposuction is also a relatively new procedure, so it’s essential to find a board-certified surgeon who has ample experience with this technique.

Read Q&As about who’s a laser liposuction candidate

How much does laser lipo cost?

RealSelf members report the average cost of laser liposuction is about $5,500. Costs vary based on the number of treated areas and the amount of fat removed.

As you select your provider, be wary of those with prices significantly below costs quoted by experienced board-certified plastic surgeons. This could indicate they’re not adequately trained to perform the procedure, putting your safety at risk.

Find laser lipo costs near you

What should I expect during a laser lipo treatment?

Your experience during a laser liposuction procedure will be similar to traditional liposuction. You’ll be given local or general anesthesia and a sedative, depending on the area being treated. A small tube, called a cannula, is then inserted into the fat layer through a small incision. The laser liquefies the fat, which is then suctioned out from your body.

Read reviews about laser lipo treatments

Are there nonsurgical alternatives to laser lipo?

CoolSculpting and SculpSure are two popular nonsurgical options for fat reduction. However, the results of nonsurgical body contouring treatments are typically not as dramatic as those from liposuction, and it can take multiple treatments to achieve the results you want.

Not sure what option is right for you?

Compare top body contouring options

How much fat can laser lipo remove?

The amount of fat removed will vary for each person, but surgeons follow a general guideline to keep the procedure safe.

“Most board-certified plastic surgeons will follow the recommendation of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons on this matter: a maximum of 5 liters per session (equal to 11 pounds),” says Dr. Hisham Seify, an Orange County plastic surgeon, in a laser lipo Q&A. “This is general advice and should be tailored more by your board-certified plastic surgeon depending on body type, weight, height as well as intraoperative findings.”

Learn more about fat removal expectations

What are the side effects of laser lipo?

The most common side effects of laser lipo are bruising, numbness, and swelling.

“Laser liposuction has the same risks, plus burning of the skin, as does traditional liposuction,” says Dr. Michael Gold, a Nashville dermatologic surgeon, in this RealSelf Q&A. “The risks do include infection, if things are not done under sterile conditions, bleeding, and perforation if things are not done by someone skilled in the procedure.”

Read Q&As about laser lipo side effects

What is laser lipo recovery like?

Laser liposuction recovery time is just a few days, which is much quicker than traditional liposuction.

“The beauty of laser liposuction under local anesthesia is the minimal downtime and speedy recovery,” says Dr. Mitchell Chasin, a Livingston, New Jersey physician, in a laser lipo recovery Q&A. “Typical recovery from laser liposuction is anywhere from three to five days.”

“Most patients describe recovery to feel like an intense workout with some tenderness and swelling of the area that was treated,” he continues. “I advise my patients to take it easy the day of and after their surgery, as this will help speed up your healing process in the long run. Treating multiple areas at once may require a bit more downtime as each area being treated will feel sore and tender.”

Read reviews about laser lipo recovery

How long will my laser lipo results last?

As adults, we don’t produce new fat cells, so the cells removed during liposuction are not replaced, but factors like weight gain and pregnancy may still increase the size of remaining fat cells. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight after your procedure to keep your results on point.

Read reviews about laser lipo results

Does laser lipo reduce cellulite?

Laser lipo may have a mild skin tightening effect due to the stimulation of collagen production, but it doesn’t reduce cellulite. Among the RealSelf community, the most popular cellulite treatment options are Cellfina and Velashape.

Read Q&As about reducing cellulite

Published 6 Nov 2018   •   Updated 6 Mar 2019

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