How Smartlipo Evolved in Liposuction Chronology

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Liposuction has roots in low-tech beginnings before laser liposuction allowed for patients to rid their bodies of unwanted fat. The original form was introduced in Italy in 1974 by gynecologist Dr. Giorgio Fischer.  It wasn’t until 1978 that the operation was used for cosmetic procedures. A breakthrough by two dermatologists in 1985 created tumescent liposuction, which involved the injection of a liquid mixture of Lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine at the site of fat removal to reduce pain while firming up the fat.

Woman's body.

Laser liposuction was the next advance in fat removal, originating in Europe in the early 1990s. The first form to be approved by the FDA was SmartLipo in November 2006. The technology involves a small incision to allow a laser wand to be inserted underneath the patient’s skin. The laser liquefies fat cells to be sucked out by a small tube. Similar forms of laser liposuction require a small incision but substitute fat suction for drainage through body tissue for less bruising, pain and distress. This procedure is not as invasive as previous forms of liposuction.


The newest advances in laser liposuction do away with incisions entirely. Introduced in the United Kingdom in 2008, laser lipolysis uses a laser guided over the outer skin—much like an ultrasound— for anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to melt fat pockets. Methods like laser lipolysis are commonly referred to as body contouring, as surgeons use human anatomy to sculpt bodies for ideal results. Fat not drained through the lymphatic system can be creatively placed in the body. These techniques are not invasive and require no downtime or healing. Multiple sessions are useful to reduce fatty deposits, and the procedures (marketed under different names) have varying results. They work best on smaller and medium fat deposits.

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