Side Effects of Laser Liposuction

Body correction with the help of plastic surgery, side view
Common areas for liposuction include the buttocks, thighs and arms. (Image: agencyby/iStock/Getty Images)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved laser liposuction in 2007, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Fat removal focuses on specific areas, such as chin, neck and male breast tissue. The laser technique involves inserting a heated thin fiber under the skin to liquefy fat cells. A cannula then removes fat cells through the traditional suction method. The FDA cautions that liposuction should not be considered a weight control procedure. Patients should be within 30 percent of their ideal weight.

Bruising, Swelling and General Discomfort

A small amount of bruising and swelling is possible after surgery and will often go away within two to three weeks. Bruising is less severe than with other forms of liposuction, because the laser’s heat stops the bleeding of small blood vessels during surgery. Some patients wear a compression garment over the surgical site, to decrease swelling and promote healing. Mild pain medications can be prescribed by the surgeon for the discomfort, and most patients are able to return to work within two to three days. Physicians advise patients not to exercise or participate in strenuous physical activity until a month after surgery.

Change of Body Shape

Results of laser liposuction are visible a week after surgery. With traditional liposuction, two to four weeks was typical, according to the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery. After surgery, a patient often notices changes in her profile or silhouette. However, it is important for patients to understand that skin contours may appear irregular. Such asymmetry can even require additional additional surgical adjustments.

Skin Sensation and Tightening

Skin tightens as collagen and layers of tissue build in the body. Collagen and tissue growth takes between several weeks to months to be visible, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. At this time, the patient will sense that the skin feels tighter as well as more firm and toned.

Burns

Newer methods of laser liposuction rarely cause skin burns, though the risk is still present. Current devices used by many surgeons include gauges that measure the temperature of the skin, reducing the risk of skin and tissue overheating and burning. If a burn occurs, a patient risks further complications of infection and scarring at the burn site.

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