What is Laser Fat Reduction?

Published: 23rd September 2009
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What Exactly Is "Laser Fat Reduction?"

The latest form of laser fat reduction is a non-invasive procedure that uses light from special lasers to eliminate excess fat in targeted areas. Like liposuction, laser fat reduction is intended to remove fat permanently from specific areas of the body. Unlike liposuction, however, laser fat reduction involves first liquefying, then draining naturally, the excess fat from the body. No vacuum tubes are used to suction the fat from the treated areas.

The procedure involves using lasers to target the fat layer below your skin's surface. As the special light from the laser interacts with the fat, the fat is "melted" into a liquid that can easily be eliminated by the body's own lymphatic system.

Who Should Consider Laser Fat Reduction?

The best candidates for laser fat reduction are healthy individuals with an active lifestyle who only have a small amount of excess fat to lose. The laser fat reduction procedure can be particularly helpful for individuals who have stubborn fat deposits in common problem areas (hips, thighs, abdomen) that they have not been able to eliminate through dietary changes and exercise. These hard-to-tone areas can be smoothed and tightened with excellent long-term results when paired with a healthy lifestyle.

Laser fat reduction can also help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Although traditional liposuction can effectively remove fat from targeted areas, it is not able to do anything to improve the appearance of cellulite. If you are not overweight, but are concerned about the appearance of cellulite on your legs, thighs, buttocks or abdomen, laser fat reduction may be a good choice for you.

What Are the Benefits?

The procedure is completely non-invasive-no needles or scalpels are involved. Instead, paddles that emit special wavelengths of light are placed on or over the areas to be treated for a short period of time. The light waves penetrate the skin without harming the skin's surface to target the fatty tissue below.

The laser fat reduction procedure itself is performed fairly quickly. The session is usually completed within 30 to 45 minutes. While liposuction involves general anesthesia and a hospital bill, laser fat reduction can be done in the doctor's office or a medical spa, and you can be on your way home in less than an hour.

Laser fat reduction involves no pain (many patients report not feeling anything) and no downtime. You can return to work immediately following the procedure. Your doctor will ask you to exercise for a brief period of time after your procedure is complete-this gives your body the chance to burn the newly liquefied fat and speeds drainage.

Like liposuction, laser fat reduction offers a permanent result. Once it's gone, the fat that is drained from your body is gone for good. This does not, however, mean that you can never gain fat in these areas again-it's important that you maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle in order to maintain the cosmetic benefits of the procedure.

The use of the laser causes increased collagen production at the treatment site. This creates a tightening effect to accompany the reduction in fat-as the body completes its healing process, the entire area is sculpted, with no loose skin left as a reminder of the fat that has been removed.

What Are the Risks?

Most cosmetic procedures, even non-invasive ones, involve some risk. The same is true for laser fat reduction. Although adverse effects are not likely to occur as the direct result of your treatment, not much is known about the possible long-term effects of liquefying fat cells and leaving them in the body to be drained by the lymphatic system. Lasers have been used for a few years to "melt" fat in preparation for vacuum removal, but the non-invasive version of laser fat reduction is still relatively new.

The Bottom Line

Laser fat reduction represents a significant step forward in the quest for permanent fat removal. Although it is not the best choice for an individual with a large amount of excess fat, it may be a great solution for someone who has worked hard to get in shape and just needs a little help smoothing out the trouble spots.

The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

Kelly Drill is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a plastic surgeon or more plastic surgery articles at Yodle Consumer Guide. What is Laser Fat Reduction?

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