For the last year, there has been a lot of hype surrounding Smart Lipo, a laser assisted liposuction technique that has since had other companies produce machines like Slim Lipo among others. The marketing plan of the company is certainly smart, promising direct advertising to the public and referrals to all the doctors who buy the machine from them. Because they sell them all over the country, they can afford a national ad campaign, and it results in patients for anyone who has the machine. The real question is does it offer benefits for you the patient?
As of my writing of the blog today, I am not aware of any convincing long term study that shows improved results over traditional liposuction. I am aware of many cases of skin burns and permanent contour irregularities as a result of inexperienced doctors performing Smart Lipo. Let me explain why.
The company that sells the machine wants to sell as many machines as possible. They will sell to any doctor, regardless of his/her training or certification. That means your ob/gyn, family practitioner, or internist who wants to make money can buy the machine and get the referrals as a Smart Lipo expert. The only training they get is to watch a doctor do it in his office before doing it on their own. Additionally, laser assisted liposuction has a much higher complication rate of burns and fluid collections.
This is not to say that the procedure is bad- the major problems are with the doctors. As in my prior blog entry “Is your cosmetic surgeon a plastic surgeon?”, never assume just because a doctor does cosmetic surgery that he is a board certified plastic surgeon. Ask “Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?” if you want to be sure.
In my opinion, Smart Lipo is smart for the doctor, not the patient. You pay more for a riskier procedure that is possibly done by a less well trained physician with no benefit of better results. Just because something is new and well advertised does not make it better. Be a smart consumer and do your homework.