At GLOW Surgical Arts, we do a lot of liposuction, and particularly Smartlipo. Because of our interest in and experience with Smartlipo liposuction, we talk to many patients (and potential patients!) about the possible outcomes of this procedure and its limitations.
Patients always want to know what the possibilities are. What areas can be treated? What will the area look like afterwards? Will there be some weight loss? Will the fat come back? These are just a few of the questions we seem to get all the time. We could write several chapters dealing with the most frequently asked questions, but for now, let's focus on just one: Will there be some weight loss after Smartlipo liposuction?
Learn more about how Smartlipo can shape and sculpt your stubborn areas with our free e-book,A Patient's Guide to Liposuction.
How Smartlipo Liposuction Works
Let's review the process. We all have problem areas (stomach, love handles, inner or outer thighs, bra rolls, or arms, to name a few) that don't seem to respond to diet and exercise. For those fatty areas, Smartlipo liposuction may be an ideal treatment. The technique takes about an hour per area, and can be done using local anesthesia. Smartlipo liposuction is safe and effective, and does not require much downtime. Most patients are back to work in two to three days, and get back to most activities within a week to 10 days.
Who should consider Smartlipo liposuction?
We've found that patients with a relatively stable weight, a healthy, balanced approach to eating, and a sustainable exercise program tend to be good candidates for Smartlipo liposuction. The discipline that comes with eating well and exercising can be a key factor in enjoying the results of liposuction well into the future, and large weight fluctuations before or soon after the procedure can be confusing and counterproductive.
Ideal patients can be male or female, younger or older, and lean or somewhat heavy. While some may insist on limiting liposuction treatment to those within a certain BMI (body mass index) range, at GLOW, we treat our patients as a whole. In general, the leaner the patient and more defined the problem area, the better the result. It is fair to say that patients trending toward obesity and beyond are less ideal candidates, and there are some that are simply too large. In these cases, Smartlipo liposuction may simply yield no noticeable (or pleasing) results.
What will the results of Smartlipo liposuction look like?
We always measure the volume of material removed during liposuction. This volume is comprised of a mixture of fat, cellular and non-cellular bodily fluids and tissues, and some of the tumescent anesthesia liquid that was used to enable the procedure. Let's assume the weight of one liter of aspirated (sucked out) material is equivalent to the weight of one liter of water. That would equal 2.2 pounds per liter of material removed. If three liters were removed, that would equal 6.6 pounds.
This is a rough measure linking volume to weight. The amount removed during Smartlipo liposuction varies, depending on patient size, body composition, and treatment area number and size. We can remove as little as 25-30 ccs, or as much as 3 to 4 liters. The greater the amount removed, the greater the potential to have some measurable difference in overall body weight. Likewise, the lower the starting body weight, and the greater the amount removed, the greater the potential for some measurable change. Truly large, heavy patients are unlikely to experience any weight changes, even with the maximum amount removed.
At GLOW Surgical Arts, an average Smartlipo liposuction treatment may involve three areas and 2.5 to 3 liters of material removed. We carefully document weights and body measurements, and take many photos, throughout the treatment process.
Interestingly enough, weights taken soon after the procedure may be the same or slightly higher than the pre-procedure weight. We track weights at three, six, and 12 weeks after the procedure, and almost always see a minor decrease in weight. This is almost always less than 10 pounds, and more frequently in the four- to six-pound range. Occasionally, we see little or no measurable weight change.
We also see decreases in body measurements and visible changes in before and after photos, and patients frequently tell us about clothes that are loose or decreases in pant or dress size. As noted, the best results come with consistent exercise and activity, and a sustainable, healthy approach to eating.
So, can Smartlipo liposuction lead to weight loss? Yes. Will it be dramatic? Probably not, and in some cases, there may be no measurable weight loss at all. As we've discussed before, liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure. It is, though, a great way to sculpt problem areas that just dont seem to respond to diet and exercise.
If you're ready to learn more about our Smartlipo liposuction results here at GLOW Surgical Arts, request a free consultation today!