Stephen Handisides

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What Is Laser Lipolysis?


Laser lipolysis, commonly known as ‘laser lipo’, is a non-invasive liposculpture procedure for the removal of stubborn pockets of fat such as saddlebags, love handles and double chins. It can effectively reduce areas of fat resistant to diet or exercise with fewer side effects than traditional procedures such as liposuction. The procedure uses a laser to effectively ‘melt’ unwanted fat on the face and body, and then either allows to body to metabolise the melted fat or uses ‘aspiration’, a form of suction that allows the practitioner to remove greater quantities of fat.

Although it has been touted as a lunchtime treatment, laser lipolysis is classified as a minor surgical procedure as the surgeon will need to make a small incision and the area being treated will be numbed with local anaesthetic. Because you are awake throughout the procedure, there are fewer risks involved than with traditional liposuction, which is often done under general anaesthetic. Laser lipolysis is not a weight loss treatment and is not suited to people who are significantly overweight, it is better for those with small localised areas of stubborn fat. The results give rise to a more harmonious body shape in a short time, without the bruising and swelling of more aggressive procedures.

Am I a Candidate? Ideal candidates are those with stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. Laser lipo is not a treatment for obesity – it is designed for the reduction of localised areas of fat and skin tightening in people who are a normal body weight.

Before Treatment It is important to discuss the results that you desire with a practitioner before treatment, as it may be that a more invasive procedure is necessary to transform your body shape. Laser lipolysis is only recommended for the removal of up to 500mls of fat, so you may need liposuction to remove larger quantities of fat.

During Treatment A local anaesthesic will be used in the treatment area, then a small incision will be made in the skin. A very thin cannula (1mm wide hollow metal tube) is inserted into the skin and a laser probe is threaded through to pulse laser light into the fatty tissue to ‘melt’ the fat cells. These melted fat cells are then naturally eliminated by the body. Increasingly, practitioners are also offering suction of the released fat after the laser lipolysis procedure to speed up and enhance the results. The procedure takes between 1-2 hours.

Recovery You may be required to rest for an hour or so following treatment, but normal activities can usually be resumed the following day. It is best to avoid vigorous physical activity for 1-2 weeks after this procedure.

Results You should notice some weight loss and tighter skin immediately following treatment, but the final results are seen gradually over a number of weeks as your body continues to process and naturally remove the melted fat.

Risks and Complications Due to the local anaesthetic, the treatment should not be painful. You may experience minor swelling, bruising or tenderness for a few days following treatment.

Alternatives There are other less invasive options to  laser lipo which can be effective on small, localised areas of fat without penetrating the skin. Ask your practitioner for alternative treatment options.

Cost Costs for laser lipo depend on the size of the area(s) being treated and can range from £1,500–£4,500.

Choosing a Practitioner Only suitably trained and qualified practitioners should perform a laser lipolysis procedure.

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