Lipo vs. Laser: Find Out More About This Safe, Painless and Effective Service

Diet and exercise are key to losing weight, but sometimes there are areas that you cannot reduce no matter how hard you try. Medical technology has evolved so that you now have many options for targeting these problem areas and getting rid of them once and for all.

Liposuction surgery is the most common cosmetic procedure in the United States today. It is an important way to help seriously obese patients. 

However, not everyone needs this level of surgery. Laser liposuction offers a different, less invasive process that may be appropriate for people seeking less intense measures.

Here are six important facts you should know if you are considering this kind of weight loss procedure. Take a look if you are trying to decide between lipo vs. laser, and figure out what is best for you. 

1. Is Invasive Surgery Right for You? 

Traditional liposuction is a surgical procedure where fat is removed from the body through a hollow instrument, known as a cannula, inserted under the skin. The fact is literally sucked out by a powerful, high-pressure vacuum. Liposuction can be used on the stomach, thighs, buttocks, neck, chin, upper and backs of the arms, calves, and back.

Laser weight loss, on the other hand, is a general term that describes several different procedures that use lasers to remove fat from the body. Some procedures are minimally invasive while others are non-invasive. 

  • Laser lipo or laser-assisted liposuction is minimally-invasive. A doctor uses the laser to liquefy fat in a targeted area which is then removed through a cannula. Laser liposuction requires only one treatment.
  • Laser Lipolysis or Zerona uses low-level laser therapy to target and liquefy the content of fat cells. The fat cells remain but the contents are emptied and eventually eliminated from the body.
  • SculpSure is a laser treatment that also removes fat by heating them to a temperature that damages their structure. The fat cells die and your body eliminates them. 
  • Coolsculpting also removes fat non-surgically but it does not use lasers. 

When a laser is applied directly to the skin. the light causes fat cells to open up and release their contents just like when you exercise. When water, glycerol, and free fatty acids leave the cell, fat cells shrink.

In deciding which approach may be best for you, you need to assess your personal health. Because liposuction is a major surgery, you have to go under general anesthesia. As with any surgery where you are put to sleep, there are always risks of complications. 

If you have other health issues or allergies to certain anesthesias or medicines,  you need to confer with a doctor to see if liposuction may be inappropriate for you. 

3. Recovery Times Differ 

Because surgery requires cutting into the skin, there may be some pain upon recovery. Some patients experience bruising or swelling. You may be advised to stay home from work for a few days and refrain from exercise or vigorous activity for a couple of weeks.

Some laser weight loss procedures do not involve any cutting, so you can get back to your regular life quickly and easily. Some patients do feel some tenderness in the affected area afterward, so you may have to wait a few days before returning to your usual routine. However, generally, the recovery time for this effective service is much shorter than it is for traditional weight loss surgery.

4. Need to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

To keep the weight off after a medical procedure, you will be advised to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen after both liposuction and laser weight loss.  However, these instructions are especially important for the latter procedure.

Because laser weight loss shrinks the fat cells instead of removing them completely, they can return. You must maintain good eating habits and regular workouts if you want to stay in the shape you attained from the laser treatments.

5. Cost and Timing

Because both laser and lipo are considered cosmetic procedures, they are usually not covered by standard health insurance. However, if your weight is a medical issue, lipo may be covered in extreme cases.

Lipo can cost anywhere from between $3500 to much higher, depending on the size of the area you are looking at and the exact process your doctor uses. Additional fees may be charged for anesthesia, hospital or surgical facility costs. medical tests, post-surgery garments, and prescriptions for medication. Geographic location also plays a part in pricing (Beverly Hills docs are known to be expensive!). 

For laser, the price depends on the size of the area you want to treat, as well as your location and the experience of the clinic you visit.

It also depends on the type of procedure. SculpSure requires multiple treatments so it can cost $2,000 to $3,000.  Zerona costs range from around $2,000 to under $4,000 for a full package (six 40-minute treatments). For laser lipo, prices range from approximately $2,500 to $5,000 per treatment area. 

6. How Much Weight Do You Need to Lose?

Laser weight loss treatments like the i-Lipo and the Zerona are great if you have stubborn problem areas that no amount of diet and exercise seem to reach.  Areas like “love handles” or inner thighs may not respond to usual techniques of body contouring and are appropriate for the laser.

However, if you need to undergo extreme weight loss, discuss this with a medical professional. Laser treatments are not suitable for people who are 25 pounds or more over their recommended weight.

Lipo vs. Laser: Know the Differences 

If you want a perfect body, you may need to supplement your healthy lifestyle with a little extra help. You may need to see a cosmetic specialist to advise what you can do about those pesky bulges that just do not go away.

Look at the pros and cons of lipo vs. laser. Depending on your underlying health, weight, budget and time constraints, one may be more appropriate than the other for you. Just remember to get a doctor’s opinion before you take the next step.

For more information on weight loss and health, check out our articles here.