Traditional liposuction uses a small hollow tube (a cannula) to remove unwanted fat from body areas. Tumescent fluid is typically used as part of this traditional method, since it reduces pain and bleeding during the procedure.
Laser-assisted liposuction adds another step to the traditional liposuction process. After tumescent fluid is instilled into the treatment areas, instead of immediately using the traditional suction cannula to remove unwanted fat, the next step is to pass a laser fiber beneath the skin to literally melt the unwanted fat. Once the fat is liquefied, the suction cannula is then used to remove it.
With traditional liposuction, the liposuction cannula is pushed through the fat to remove it. With laser-assisted liposuction, the fat is first melted with the laser, then the liquefied fat is removed with the suction cannula. The laser-assisted method is gentler than traditional liposuction because the liposuction cannula doesn’t have to have as much force to move through the tissues. Because of this, there is usually less swelling and bruising with laser-assisted liposuction.
Even better, the heat from the laser stimulates the skin to create new collagen, which causes some skin tightening and smoothing. Traditional liposuction does not stimulate collagen production because no heat is generated.
The ideal candidate for any type of liposuction is someone who is close to their ideal body weight but has isolated “problem areas” that just won’t go away with normal dieting or exercise.
After you arrive at our office, you’ll first meet with one of Dr. Kavali’s Physician Assistants, Maggie or Alicia. They will begin the consultation process by reviewing your medical history, establishing your goals for the surgery, and by taking relevant photographs for your medical record.
Dr. Kavali will complete the consultation process by meeting with you to personally hear about your goals for surgery and to examine you. This conversation will help Dr. Kavali understand your expectations and determine whether they can realistically be met.
The consultation time is meant to be comfortable and educational. We want you to feel completely informed, so you can make your own personal best decision. There are some questions that commonly arise during the consultation process, so we’ve included them here:
Nearly any body area can be treated with laser-assisted liposuction. If there is extra fat in the area, liposuction can be used to remove it. Commonly treated areas include the cheeks, jowls and neck, upper arms, breast or chest, back, abdomen, hips, waist, buttocks, inner and outer thighs, calves, knees, and ankles. Laser-assisted Liposuction is also used to treat gynecomastia, or male breast enlargement.
If you have areas with extra fat and some loose skin, then laser-assisted liposuction is likely a better option than just traditional liposuction. The laser-assisted liposuction will give some degree of skin tightening.
Absolutely. Many people combine breast surgery with laser-assisted liposuction, or abdominoplasty with laser-assisted liposuction, for instance. Just talk to Dr. Kavali about any of your concerns, and she’ll help you design a plan to meet your goals safely.
It is possible to undergo laser-assisted liposuction at almost any age, but you will have the best results if your skin still has enough elasticity to achieve a smooth contour after the procedure. When skin has lost its elasticity (from aging or from pregnancy), it may not reshape well and a skin tightening procedure may be necessary. If you aren’t ready for the surgical type of skin tightening (tummy tuck, etc), you might consider Laser-Assisted Liposuction as an alternative.
Keep in mind, though, that laser-assisted liposuction is not meant to replace surgical forms of skin tightening. For instance, if what you need is a tummy tuck to remove loose skin, then laser-assisted liposuction could be a compromise alternative, since it won’t give you the same degree of skin tightening as a tummy tuck. But if you’re not ready for that kind of surgical skin tightening, then laser-assisted liposuction makes sense. Dr. Kavali will speak with you candidly about the results you can expect from each different option.
Laser-assisted liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. You will have the best results when you are as close to your ideal body weight as possible. We certainly understand that most people are somewhat above their ideal body weight, and most of them are still good candidates for laser-assisted liposuction. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you would likely do better to lose that weight first, then consider laser-assisted liposuction for contouring any problem areas.
Yes. In general, Dr. Kavali follows the safety guidelines of the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons). ASPS Guidelines limit liposuction to no more than 5 liters at one time.
If Dr. Kavali thinks that she will reach that 5-liter limit for you, she will ask you to prioritize your desired treatment areas.
Dr. Kavali is often asked this question. Here’s the truth: if you gain weight after any type of liposuction, your body will act the same as it does anytime you gain weight. All the fat cells in your body will enlarge with the weight gain. However, there are now fewer fat cells in the areas you had liposuctioned, so you’ll see the results of your weight gain in other areas first. If you continue to gain weight, you will eventually see enlargement in the liposuctioned areas as well.
You best bet is to stay motivated to maintain the results of your liposuction!
If you are no longer in your 20s, you’ve had prior pregnancy, or you’ve had a lot of weight loss, your skin won’t have great elasticity. Dr. Kavali will certainly talk to you about what she thinks you can expect from laser-assisted liposuction, and she will make appropriate recommendations.
Laser-assisted liposuction will give you more skin tightening than traditional liposuction will, but it won’t replace surgical skin tightening (tummy tuck, lower body lift, etc).
No. In many cases, cellulite will remain the same following laser-assisted liposuction. In some cases, the heat from the laser will smooth the skin a bit and reduce the appearance of cellulite. In other cases, the appearance of cellulite may be worse after laser-assisted liposuction. Dr. Kavali offers VelaShape cellulite treatments in her office. VelaShape is often combined with laser-assisted liposuction for ideal results. Ask about our special package pricing for these procedures.
The fat removal from any type of liposuction is permanent. However, the fat cells that are left behind have an infinite ability to expand, so if you gain a significant amount of weight after liposuction, you may no longer see the results of your surgery. Also, skin quality changes with age, so your results may look different as you age (skin may become looser).
Dr. Kavali is fortunate to have options for laser-assisted liposuction. She has both Lipolite and Lipotherme laser-assisted liposuction devices. The differences between the two are in wavelengh and power. the Lipolite is a 1064nm device with a maximum power of 12W, very similar to SmartLipo, but made by a different company. The Lipotherme is a 980nm device with a maximum power of 24W, very similar to SlimLipo and others. Dr. Kavali will speak with you about which device might be better for you once she’s had a chance to meet and examine your problem areas.
Prior to performing laser-assisted liposuction, fluid is instilled into the areas to be suctioned. Dr. Kavali uses a tumescent technique that introduces large amounts of fluid into the tissues before the procedure begins. This fluid helps with postoperative pain and helps to control bleeding during the surgery.
Once the tumescent fluid is in place, the laser fiber is passed under the skin through the same small incisions. The laser treatment is continued until the fat has been melted adequately.
Once the laser treatment has been completed, the melted fat is removed by inserting a small, hollow tube, called a cannula, through the same incisions. Incisions are usually less than one-quarter inch in length and are placed as inconspicuously as possible, often within skin folds or contour lines.
Dr. Kavali then typically uses the Microaire Power-Assisted Liposuction. The MicroAire PAL® uses a 2-mm reciprocating movement at 4000 cycles per minute to facilitate the procedure. This means that less force is required, especially in areas with more dense fibrous tissue. The PAL® is not ultrasonic. No heat is generated by the instrument or cannula, so burning isn’t a concern, as it is with ultrasonic liposuction.
If you have need for specific small areas of contouring, Dr. Kavali may offer and you may choose to have your liposuction done in our office procedure room under local anesthesia. You will be given some medication to relax you during the procedure, and you will be numbed for the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home.
If you have need for more significant contouring, or if you are combining liposuction with other procedures, your surgery will be done at a fully accredited surgery center. A Board-Certified Anesthesiologist (MD) will keep you safe and comfortable during the procedure. You may choose to be completely asleep for your procedure, or you might choose only sedation (“twilight” anesthesia).
Many doctors are offering laser-assisted liposuction these days, even if they haven’t been formally trained in plastic surgery. In fact, some aren’t even surgeons at all! These non-plastic surgeons aren’t allowed to do any type of liposuction in a hospital, because the hospitals recognize that there hasn’t been specific formal training done. The benefit of seeing someone like Dr. Kavali is that she is a fully trained Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon and has the freedom to do your liposuction at a hospital facility if that is the best option for you. In addition, she has the training to be able to offer you a full range of procedures to meet your needs, whether it’s a particular type of liposuction or surgical skin tightening. Many medical spas and non-plastic surgeons can only offer one or two options for body contouring, while Dr. Kavali offers a full range of options and will talk with you candidly about what will get you the best result.
Once all your questions have been answered during your consultation, you’ll meet with Zaphea, our Patient Coordinator, who will put together the financial and scheduling information you’ll need.
We never want you to feel pressured to schedule any surgery. Dr. Kavali prefers that you gather all the information you need and take all the time you need to feel comfortable with your decision to proceed. Once you are ready to schedule your surgery, just let us know. We’ll coordinate a surgery date with you, then we’ll see you again for your preoperative appointment, which will take place a couple of weeks before your surgery date. Of course, we know that many people (like our out-of-state clients) have special circumstances that may require their preoperative appointment to take place closer to the surgery date, and we’re happy to oblige.
On the morning of surgery, Dr. Kavali will meet with you again to confirm the areas to be treated.
It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly from person to person.
You’ll be able to go home the same day as your surgery. You will have dissolving stitches in each of the tiny incisions.
You will notice some swelling and maybe some bruising, which is to be expected. Swelling usually begins to subside a week or so following surgery, while bruising can last three weeks or longer. There may also be numbness in some areas, and it may take several weeks (or months) before feeling returns. Your stitches will dissolve on their own.
You may shower two days after your surgery. You may also take warm Epsom salt baths, which will help with swelling and bruising. You may bathe 2 days after the surgery, assuming you only had liposuction done. If you had liposuction done in combination with any other procedure, Dr. Kavali will let you know when you may bathe.
You will be sore, but functional. It is important that you get up and move around shortly after your surgery, as this will help to prevent blood clots in the legs.
You will have a compression garment to wear over the treated areas. In most cases, you’ll need to wear this garment for about 6 weeks. The garment fits well under normal clothing.
Lymphatic massage is very helpful after any type of liposuction, and Dr. Kavali will refer you to a trusted therapist for this treatment once you are ready for it, usually in the second week after surgery. The lymphatic massage helps to reduce swelling, stiffness, and deep scar tissue.
Many people return to work the next day, depending on how much liposuction they had done and which areas they had treated. In general, most people are able to drive after only a day or two, and most are able to return to a desk job within a few days as well. More strenuous jobs require more time off, usually not more than a week.
You may return to exercise whenever you feel comfortable,usually within the first week after surgery.
The healing process is gradual, so you should expect to wait awhile before fully enjoying the results of your liposuction. Most swelling subsides in about 6 weeks, but true healing and scar maturation takes up to a full year after surgery.
Fortunately, significant complications from laser-assisted liposuction are infrequent. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of both the benefits and risks.
Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia. Blood or other fluid accumulations (hematoma or seroma) under the skin are possible, but these normally resolve themselves and rarely require removal. While numbness of the skin following laser-assisted liposuction is almost always temporary, it is possible for some lack of sensation to persist or for skin discoloration to appear in treated areas. Burns of the skin are possible with laser-assisted liposuction. Contour irregularities including depressions or wrinkling of the skin can result in some patients, but treatments are usually available to help minimize these problems if they occur.
Be sure to go to the “Patient info” link on this site. You can find consent forms and instructions for each procedure, and you’ll find information about what to do and what to expect before and after your surgery.