I often see questions online in which it is asked which is better for fat removal….lipodissolve or Smartlipo? On the surface, this is a bit perplexing because they are rather different methods and concepts for selective body contouring of unwanted fat. But given the exposure that both have had from marketing in the past five years, it is actually not surprising that many are confused and uninformed.
The common thread that ties the two together, besides being used to treat fat, is that they are advertised as not being ‘surgery’ and can be done under local anesthesia or in the office. While this is partially true, this superficial perception covers up some more significant differences.
Lipodissolve is an injectable office treatment that relies on a chemical interaction to break down fat cells. To not cause too much inflammation and tissue necrosis, the required amount of chemical solution can not be put in all at once. As a result, a series of injections is needed spaced about 4 to 6 weeks apart. It will usually take at least 3 injection sessions to begin to see an effect. While an injection sounds more kind to one than actual surgery, the reality is that the injected area will swell considerably (double in size) and will remains so for a week. While this chemical approach to fat reduction does have an effect, my Indianapolis plastic surgery experience has shown that it works only for a fairly small area. (about the size of one’s hand)
Conversely, Smartlipo is actual liposuction surgery. It uses a small laser probe to first heat up and melt fat in the treated area. Once the fat is adequately liquefied, it is then suctioned out. Smartlipo is a single treatment method that causes expected amounts of swelling and some bruising. Because it is a single treatment, it is by definition a more efficient fat removal method. Since the laser probe can go anywhere it is anesthetized and can remove as much fat as one is able, it is also a more effective fat treatment method.
Smartlipo and Lipodissolve are apparently frequently confused. But they should not be. Smartlipo is a far more effective and efficient method of surgical fat removal. Lipodissolve, in my practice, is reserved for very small fat collections in which the patient does not want to undergo any form of surgery or for secondary touch-ups after liposuction surgery. Top avoid surgery, you are sacrificing effectiveness and efficiency.
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Dr Barry Eppley