A new liposuction technique called "Smart Lipo," provides less trauma to the body and quicker healing time compared to traditional liposuction techniques.

According to Walter Tom, MD, in Santa Rosa, Calif, "Smart Lipo" uses laser heat before the liposuction.

"You are really looking at more body sculpting with ‘Smart Lipo,’" says Tom.

During the procedure, Tom draws a contour map on the patient’s abdomen indicating where he’ll remove the most fat. Next, he injects the patient with anesthetic solution. The Smart Lipo laser doesn’t burn gauze when held against it, says Tom, but under the skin, there is enough heat to dissolve fat cells.

"Because of the heat of the laser it can actually melt the fat so it melts little tunnels through the fat," says Tom. "You can see the laser moving back and forth under the skin, liquefying the fat as it moves."

According to Tom, the laser coagulates or clots off the blood vessels so patients don’t experience bruising or blood loss. The melted fat is removed just like traditional liposuction, but because of the heat, there is less fat to remove and the skin is tighter. It works best for spot reduction, says Tom. Over the next several months collagen begins to rebuild, increasing the tightening.

[www.abclocal.go.com, November 5, 2007]