Liposuction vs. Smart lipo

Liposuction vs. Smart lipo

Table of Contents

Cosmetic surgeries have become popular in recent years, allowing people to improve their physical appearance. You can undergo invasive, less invasive, and non-invasive cosmetic procedures to enhance your body’s size, shape, and contours. 

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. It is ideal for men and women looking to remove excess fatty tissues and achieve their body aesthetic goals. Recent technology advancements in the cosmetic industry have led to the development of new techniques, such as smart lipo. 

Today’s article will discuss the difference between liposuction and smart lipo. We will discuss the techniques, recovery, costs, risks, and other parameters to compare the traditional liposuction and smart lipo, helping you decide and choose a method or option that best fits your needs. Read on! 

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is an invasive surgery that removes excess fatty tissues from different body areas. It is an ideal option for men and women who can’t lose weight or remove excess fat with exercise and diet. 

A board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon performs the procedure on your abdomen, thighs, hips, buttocks, arms, back, neck, and under the chin to improve their shape. Depending on your requirements, the surgeon may also combine the with other surgeries, such as breast reductions, tummy tucks, and facelifts. 

After liposuction, you will experience soreness, inflammation, swelling, and bruising. The same goes for arm liposuction bruising. Your surgeon will instruct you to wear a compression sleeve around your arm for four to five weeks. 

What is Smart Lipo?

Smart lipo is an advanced, cutting-edge liposuction procedure that uses laser technology to remove excess fatty tissues from your body and tighten the loose skin. The laser energy penetrates inside your body and reaches the fatty tissue layers. 

Once there, the laser energy or waves melt the targeted area’s fatty tissues. The surgeon uses a small tube or cannula to suck out the liquefied fatty tissues. Smart lipo is an effective and safe procedure for body sculpting and contouring. 

Differences between Liposuction and Smart Lipo 

Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the cosmetic sector. It represents 20% of all cosmetic surgeries in the United States. However, Smart Lipo has become more prevalent in recent years. Let us discuss the difference between these two procedures to ensure you make the right choice. 


During the traditional liposuction surgery, the surgeon gives you diluted local or general anesthesia to reduce the risk of trauma, bleeding, and pain. The surgeon then inserts a cannula or thin, hollow tube through the incisions to loosen the fatty tissues. 

The surgeon makes a manual back and forth motion to get the job done. Once the surgeon has dislodged the stubborn fat, they use a surgical vacuum attached to the cannula to suck the fatty tissues. 

On the other hand, smart lipo uses laser technology for the fat-melting process. Once the surgeon has melted the fatty tissues, they insert a cannula to remove the softened and melted fat. The laser-assisted or smart lipo has less downtime and fast recovery. 

Skin Tightening

Liposuction can remove fatty tissues from your body, but it may not tighten your skin and lead to sagginess. However, this depends on how healthy your skin tissues are, and you can undergo skin tightening after the procedure to overcome the issue. 

In contrast, smart lipo heats your skin, allowing it to produce collagen and elastin proteins. These play a critical role in skin rejuvenation, resulting in tighter, firmer, healthier, and toned skin. 


Liposuction requires thorough rehabilitation. For instance, your surgeon will instruct you to avoid pushing yourself too fast, quit smoking, keep your body hydrated, consume a healthier and nutrient-rich diet, and keep the incision clean. 

In addition, you have to avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. However, you can wear a compression garment to prevent pressure on the treated area. Take shorter walks from one room to another in your home to maintain proper blood flow to the incision site. 

Smart lipo has a relatively more straightforward and more streamlined recovery process. It requires you to avoid heavy physical activities to allow your body to heal naturally and achieve better cosmetic results. 

Your health provider will advise you to wear a compression garment on the treated area for at least 12 hours a day. Make sure you wear the attire for four to five weeks to achieve better results. 

If you have undergone arm liposuction or smart lipo for your arm, focus on the arm liposuction recovery and following your health provider’s guidelines. For instance, you can wear a compression sleeve to reduce soreness, bruising, and inflammation. 

Recovery Time

Traditional liposuction takes five to seven days before you can resume your day-to-day activities. You can resume physical activities after four to six weeks. Long-term recovery will last for three to four months, depending on how quickly your body reduces swelling and inflammation. 

Smart lipo rehabilitation requires you to rest for two to three days and resume your day-to-day activities after four to five days. After seven days, you can return to physical activities, such as exercise and yoga. 

Good Candidate

Generally, an ideal candidate for traditional liposuction is someone within 30% of their ideal weight. The candidate must also have firm and elastic skin and healthy muscles. Likewise, people with no pre-existing or long-term conditions are good candidates for traditional liposuction. 

An ideal candidate for smart lipo is men and women who want to remove excess stubborn fat pockets without exercise and diet. The candidate should have a stable body weight to avoid postoperative complications. 

Average Cost

Research shows that the average cost of traditional liposuction is between $3,000 and $5,000. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the price depends on numerous factors, such as anesthesia, surgery room facilities, and surgeon’s skills/fees. 

The average cost of laser-assisted liposuction or smart lipo depends on various factors, such as the targeted area, the type of laser technology used, the quality of surgical equipment, and the surgeon’s experience. However, the typical cost is between $2,500 and $7,000. 


Traditional liposuction can lead to various risks, such as contour irregularities, bumpy or wavy skin due to uneven fat removal, and reduced skin elasticity. It can also cause fluid accumulation, infections, internal punctures, numbness, fat embolism, lidocaine toxicity, and cardiovascular problems. 

For example, you can expect to loose skin after arm liposuction when you undergo arm liposuction and fail to follow the health provider’s guidelines during the recovery period. 

On the other hand, smart lipo has relatively lower risks than traditional liposuction. These include bruising, infection, hematoma, and scarring. Skin burns, excessive bleeding, trauma, and tissue burns are rare risks with smart lipo. 


Traditional liposuction involves multiple incisions depending on the targeted area. So, this can lead to the formation of scars. However, some studies show that even if a person has scars from liposuction, they appear as tiny dots. 

In most situations, scars fade slowly and take more than six months before they become less noticeable. Likewise, Arm liposuction Scarring is usually minor and less visible.  

What to do Next? 

Most men and women find it challenging to choose the best liposuction technique for fat removal. Traditional liposuction and smart lipo have their own pros and cons. Call us today to schedule an appointment with our board-certified surgeon. Our experienced surgeon will examine your situation and choose the best technique that aligns with your body and skin health. 

Dr. John E. Nees, MD

Dr. John E. Nees, MD

Medically reviewed by
Dr. John E. Nees, MD specializes in aesthetic plastic surgery in Miami, FL


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