Which is better, SmartLipo or LipoLite?

We had a great week in the office and saw lots of new patients interested in Liposuction, specifically our SmartLipo™ Triplex laser liposuction option. I did have one patient ask about the difference between SmartLipo™ and LipoLite™ so I thought I would go over that on our blog.

The SmartLipo™ Triplex laser liposuction machine is the most powerful and technologically advanced, from a safety standpoint, laser liposuction machine available. From a performance standpoint, SmartLipo™ offers 3 lasers in one platform. The 1440nm laser targets fat cells and melts them more readily than any other laser wavelength. It also offers a 1060nm and a 1320nm wave length of lights which are blended to coagulate vessels, which minimizes bruising, and heats the under surface of the skin to tighten loose skin. The Triplex is also very powerful. It offers 46 watts of power which allows your surgeon to put a tremendous amount of energy, which translates into heat, into the fat for the tightening effect. The power allows for any size area to be treated from something as small as the area under the chin to the entire front of the abdomen.

With all of this power comes some very sophisticated safety technology. There are two safety features with SmartLipo™ that are unique. First, the laser wand that melts the fat and heats has a motion sensor built in. So if the laser wand is not moving, the laser will not fire. This prevents dents from being created and helps create a more smooth contour. It also has a thermometer built into the tip. While I want to heat up your skin, I don’t want it to get it too hot or a burn will result. So, the Smart Lipo wand is set so that the lasers will automatically shut down as the temp gets past 46º C which is the ‘magic temp’ for heating the dermis. No other laser lipo machine has these advantages.

The LipoLite™ is one laser, the 1060nm wavelength, and is intended for small isolated areas of fat. There are also no safety cutoffs to protect you from burns or contour problems.

So in the final analysis, these are two very different laser liposuction options with vastly different capabilities and safety features.

If you have questions about Laser Lipo please contact our office at 502.721.0330 or feel free to e mail my Aesthetic Coordinator, Misty, at misty@corbettcosmeticsurgery.com

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director, Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

Tummy tuck or Liposuction? Which one do I need?

This might be one of the most common body contouring questions I answer. And the answer is really pretty straightforward…sometimes. So lets explore this one.

Basic issues:

Liposuction removes only fat, and if you choose SmartLipo, it will tighten skin.

Tummy Tucks remove skin and fatty tissue and tightens your muscles.

So, they are really very different operations and which is right for you depends on what your expectations are.  If you are looking for maximal tightening of your abdomen, a tummy tuck is the right choice. Now, with this comes an expanded procedure, more recovery, more downtime, more costs, but more result. Its a very powerful operation that produces very dramatic results.

I really like my Smart Lipo. In my opinion, this is truly the best option if you are considering lipo. It reduces the amount of pain, swelling, bruising, and overall recovery associated with lipo. Smart Lipo works by using lasers to both melt your fat cells and to heat the under surface of your skin to give a tightening effect. It is basically a “kinder, gentler” way to re-contour and it has the benefit of tightening your skin more than traditional lipo can.

Which option is best for you depends on your starting point and your goals/expectations.

Lee Corbett, MD, FACS

Member, American Society of Plastic  Surgeons

Certified, American Board of Plastic  Surgery

 

How does SmartLipo tighten up the skin?

I have the Smart Lipo Triplex laser liposuction machine that I use for almost all of my liposuction cases. I used traditional tumescent lipo for years and my only complaint was my lack of ability to get good skin tightening particularly on the back of the arm, the inner thighs, or tummies on the female patients who had some stretch marks from having babies. Skin tightening on the 40 and 50 something patients can also be a challenge. SmartLipo offers several advantages over standard lipo but skin tightening is a main one. But why?

Smart Lipo, particularly the triplex, uses a blending of two laser beams to create heat just under the skin surface. It has a 3rd laser light that targets and melts your fat cells and this process creates heat too. All of this heat, when properly applied and when taken to the proper levels, serves to heat up the deep surface of your skin, the deep dermis, and this is what causes skin tightening. It basically helps to shrink wrap your skin. It is great for the neck, the back of your arms, the inner thigh area, and lower tummies.

Now, it’s not magic though. It will not tighten up skin that hangs or is covered with stretchmarks and it doesn’t work as well in smokers.

If you want to see if Smart Lipo might work for you please contact our office in Louisville at 502.721.0330

Lee Corbett, MD Medical Director of Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

What makes laser liposuction different from traditional liposuction?

With traditional tumescent liposuction the process goes as follows: Very small incisions are used to access the treatment area. Then a saline (salt water) solution is pumped into the area. This process is where the word “tumescent” comes into play, it refers to the infusion of the water into the area. The tumescent fluid does 3 things for us. It causes the fat cells to swell and plump so they are easier to break down, there is lidocaine in it to numb the area, and there is epinephrine in it to constrict the blood vessels. We then wait about 15 minutes to let the epinephrine take effect. Then a hollow tube called a cannula is inserted and moved in a to and fro motion to break up and suction out the fat cells.

Laser Liposuction works a little differently. The incisions used are smaller because of the effects of the laser. 1-2 mm incisions are made and the tumescent water is placed. With the laser we don’t have to wait the 15 minutes because the laser will seal the blood vessels so that saves us some time. So the 1 mm laser wand is inserted and the laser turned on. The laser wand shoots out blended combinations of laser light that target the water in the fat cells and literally melts the fat. So the fat cell is being melted away instead of being physically disrupted as with traditional lipo. The laser also creates heat which is beneficial because it heats the under surface of the skin causing it to tighten more than is possible with standard lipo. The laser also coagulates blood vessels so there tends to be less bruising than we get with standard SAL (suction assisted lipectomy).

Both techniques will result in swelling so that part of your recovery should be the same with each method but most patients report less bruising, pain, and down time with the laser lipo vs standard lipo.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

How much weight can I lose with Liposuction?

I was seeing a patient this week for a Smart Lipo consultation and she asked me this question. She was quite surprised by my answer which was, “not much”. So, I thought this might be a good topic to blog about so that you might better understand the role of liposuction.

First, conceptually, think of Liposuction as a shaping tool, a sculpting tool. It is a way that I can restore balance to your figure. Another way of saying it, and I tell every patient this, is to think of liposuction as you would a nail file. It is a tool we use to smooth out a rough edge. For instance, take your back as an example. Say you are OK with your bra line area and you are OK with your tush, but right above your buttocks, lets call this area your hips, you have a bulge. I use this as an example because it seems like every woman who has had a baby has a little extra fat right there. Well, using the nail analogy, I want to use liposuction to ‘file down’ your hips so that they blend more smoothly with your bra line above and your buttock below.  So we are shaping/sculpting your figure to give you a smoother,  better curve. This doesn’t mean I am trying to remove every fat cell in the area, if I did that I would leave you with a dent that doesn’t match what’s around the area. I just want to remove enough to improve your figure. Now, if I am doing liposuction on your tummy, I am trying to remove every fat cell that I can possibly get out as no one has ever complained that their tummy is too flat!

As far as weight loss goes, fat is not a very dense tissue. It falls into the “pound of feathers” category. In other words, it takes a lot of fat to weigh even a pound. With most of my liposuction cases the patient might lose between 3 to 5 pounds, but that’s about it. Now, losing 3-5 pounds might very well enable you to drop a dress size or two. If we get rid of the bulge on your hips or your tummy your clothes will fit much better and you might not have to buy that larger size just to accommodate your problem area. But the idea of liposuctioning off 20 or 30 pounds or more is simply not possible and not done.

Dr. Lee Corbett

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

What’s a Mommy Makeover?

I’m preaching to the choir here, but pregnancy takes its’ toll on Mom’s figure. Sometimes it’s minor, but sometimes its not. Your breasts take a hit, especially if you breast fed. Obviously your tummy is forever changed, particularly with twins or triplets. And, in a lot of cases, even after you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, your shape just isn’t the same.

Here are a few truths that a lot of my patients are surprised to hear. 1) Your skin will not respond to exercise 2) There is a sheath that wraps your stomach muscles called fascia. It gets stretched with pregnancy and it will not respond to exercise. Thus the laxity 3) Your breasts will not get more perky if you exercise your chest muscles. 4) Your shape will be different no matter what your weight.

So…there are Mommy Makeovers. A Mommy Makeover is not a specific operation though. It involves some combination of a breast augmentation or breast lift or both. For your tummy/flanks/hips a tummy tuck or liposuction or both are used. Some combination of these procedures adds up to a mommy makeover.

Mommy makeovers are usually done in a hospital setting because they tend to be longer cases, around 3 to 4 hours. I prefer that my patients take advantage of an over night stay after surgery but this decision depends on the scope of the procedure.

After surgery you should plan on about 3-4 days of downtime, back to work is about 7-10 days, and a return to full activity in about 6 weeks.

Lee Corbett, MD

Cankles…What can be done

Cankles. I think everyone knows what cankles are. Think Hilliary Clinton. If you don’t know the term it refers to when there is really no taper as the calf transitions into the ankle area. Sometimes this problem is associated with higher BMI patients but a lot of times it’s just the way that particular patient is shaped. The treatment for the problem is Liposuction. However, before you sign up for this procedure you need to understand what you are signing up for! Assuming you are a healthy patient, having the procedure done isn’t really a big deal. It would take about 1 to 1.5 hours under anesthesia on an outpatient basis. So the surgery itself isn’t the issue, the swelling after is. Any time we do liposuction, whether its traditional tumescent liposuction, ultrasonic lipo, or SmartLipo laser liposuction, we traumatize the soft tissues in that area and swelling results. That is a normal process and it is how the body heals itself after we have a surgery or experience an injury. The problem is that anything below the knee will swell more and for longer than any other area of the body. So we’ve now combined a procedure that is known to cause a fair amount of swelling in an area that is prone to swelling more than any other area on the body. Not a great combination. What this means for you is months of wearing compression hose and being very patient with the process. Like 6 to 9 months of patience. So it’s not a procedure for everyone. I have done it before and it works quite well but the patients were will to be very diligent with their compression hose for many months.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

 

Weight Gain after Contouring Surgery

This past week one of my most favorite patients from this past year came back in with her husband and was worried because her tummy seemed to pooch out more. She had a tummy tuck just about a year ago. She had called and said her tummy was getting bigger. This sounded a bit unusual to me so I asked them to come back in so I could examine her and help find a solution. When I examined her the tummy was still nice and flat, her muscle repair was still intact and her skin was still tight. But…she was definitely a bit more full. When we looked back at her chart from her initial visit and after some discussion it looked like she might have gained some weight over the past year. So she hopped on the scale and sure enough, she had picked up about 15 pounds since surgery.

Weight gain after body contouring surgery usually shows itself as described above. When we do a tummy tuck or liposuction we are not only shedding excess skin and fatty tissue, we are sculpting and re-contouring the body. Now, if you maintain your pre-surgical weight you should maintain your results in the long term. If however, you do add  weight what tends to happen is that the beneficial shape changes that resulted from your surgery maintain but you are just a bit larger. As in this patient, her tummy is still flat, her skin still taught, her muscle repair still intact, she is just a bit thicker at her current weight. What does not happen, and I hear this all the time, is that other body parts become disproportionately large. In other words, for example, your tush and thighs will not get extra large with weight gain if you’ve had your tummy liposuctioned or a tummy tuck. You will simply get larger but maintain your shape proportions.

As for my patient, after a good laugh was had by all three of us, we agreed her best option was to get back on her exercise regimen that had her at her lower weight to begin with!