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Smart Lipo

Erin Cowell - November 29th, 2010
Feel the Burn… Literally!SmartLipo uses lasers to melt fat and speed recovery
By Erin Crowell
Three years ago, Melissa Kasarskis of Irons woke up to find a large
mass on her left and right hip, just below the skin.
“I looked down and saw this huge looking tumor and I freaked out,”
said the 43-year-old mother of two.
Two years before, Kasarskis had undergone a gastric bypass procedure
-- a surgery that makes the stomach smaller and allows food to bypass
part of the small intestine to aid in rapid weight loss.
“My doctor told me that because I had lost weight so fast, the fat
above my pelvis literally dropped and filled in the empty space
overnight,” said Kasarskis. “When you have extreme weight loss and
your liquid fat has nowhere to move, it will camp out wherever it
finds a location.”
Kasarskis had to undergo liposuction to remove the fat deposit.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery,
liposuction (also called lipoplasty) is the second most popular
cosmetic surgery for women – right behind breast augmentation; and is
the number one cosmetic surgery for men.

A SMARTER CUT
While popular, the procedure is aggressive, particularly tumescent
lipoplasty – the most common liposuction procedure, which is what
Kasarskis underwent, performed by Dr. Vincent DiNick of Brookside
Plastic Surgery in Novi.
The surgeon injects a sterile solution, which is a mixture of salt
water, anesthetic and epinephrine into the area that’s to be treated.
This causes the affected area to swell and stiffen. Small cuts are
made into the skin and a thin tube called a cannula is inserted under
the skin, which is connected to a vacuum that suctions fat and fluids
from the body – a process that takes anywhere from one to several
hours, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“They beat the snot out of you,” Kasarskis said about the procedure.
Tumescent liposuction is followed by extensive pain, swelling and
bruising; and requires several weeks of inactivity.
However, the cosmetic surgery industry is finding new ways to help
ease the pain and dynamics of liposuction by introducing several new
procedures. These include, but aren’t limited to:
• ultrasonic liposuction, which uses sound waves to loosen fat cells
before removal;
• laser liposuction, also known as SmartLipo, which uses a
microcannula through a small incision that delivers laser energy to
heat up and melt fat.

A BETTER WAY
Tumescent liposuction can damage delicate nerves and blood vessels.
SmartLipo avoids both, targeting only fat cells – which means faster
and much less painful healing.
“Because the laser in SmartLipo liquefies the fat before suction, it
makes it much easier to remove,” said Dr. Courtney Sumpter, clinic
director of the Cosmetic Skin & Laser Center.
With locations in Petoskey, Traverse City and Gaylord, The Cosmetic
Skin & Laser Center is the only facility in Northern Michigan to offer
SmartLipo. Sumpter, along with Dr. Gustav Lo, opened the clinic in
2001.
Because it specializes in laser cosmetics, the clinic did not offer
liposuction before SmartLipo became an option. Both Sumpter and Lo
have been certified graduates since 2009 of Dr. John Millard’s
program, a nationally recognized liposuction expert.

TRADITIONAL VERSUS SMART
Kasarskis said she was unaware of the SmartLipo option, and although
her surgery was very successful, she would have opted for less pain
and discomfort.
“I was in pain for six months,” said Kasarskis. “It felt like I had
gotten into a car accident. Even after the procedure I had pain in my
legs. It was like a guy working on road construction was standing on
that jolting cement hammer and digging it into me.”
Bruising was also prevalent in Kasarskis’ case – with discoloration
from her upper abdomen down to her knees, visible for nearly eight
months after the surgery, she said.
“(With laser liposuction), patients are usually back at work three to
four days after the procedure,” said Sumpter.
Besides a speedier recovery, other benefits from SmartLipo include no
general anesthetic, a smoother appearance and tightness of the skin,
according to Sumpter.
Although the cost difference is slight, SmartLipo g

underarms.

THE TREND OF “LIPO”
Prior to the development of liposuction, doctors would cut away the
adipose tissue (stored fat) to remove unwanted fat, a procedure that
resulted in nerve damage, excessive bleeding and rippled skin.
In 1977, Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz of France used a blunt-tipped cannula
and suctioned out the fat. By 1980, liposuction was introduced to the
United States; and with the addition of saline injections, the process
became easier and less uncomfortable for the patient. The ball has
been rolling ever since.
“Body sculpting is continuously growing in popularity,” said Sumpter.
“It’s become mainstream like choosing a hair color.”
While SmartLipo is cutting edge, the Skin & Laser Center will soon be
adding another fat-removing option for its clients.
“Cool sculpting,” said Sumpter, “There’s no injections, no anesthesia.
It freezes fat externally. The results are a bit milder than laser
lipo, but everyone’s asking about it.”

 
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