Here’s an eye-opening study published in the recent issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, comparing the efficacy of laser-assisted lipolysis using various fat-busting lasers, including the first generation SmartLipo and CoolLipo machines (10 watts power). The authors are respected laser experts from La Jolla, California.
Liposuction of the arm was performed, using tumescent technique, with one of three fat removal devices, and the results were evaluated at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months post-operatively.
In the first comparison between SmartLipo and standard non-laser liposuction, no significant improvement of results over tumescent liposculpture alone was noted using the 10 W Smart Lipo laser.
The second study showed no difference using the 10 W SmartLipo device versus the 10 W CoolLipo laser-assisted lipolysis system.
Finally, the multiplex (combination) 1,064/1,320 nm system appeared to show improvement in skin laxity and fat reduction. However, more complications were seen, with intra-operative thermal burns in 2 of 20 patients using the multiplex system.
Comment: Of course, the laser manufacturers now have increased the power of the laser lipo machines. While this may melt fat more effectively, it also increases the potential for thermal injury. We’ll have to see whether the newer, more powerful machines can be actually proven to show a significant difference over standard non-laser liposuction in an objective study. It’s great to finally see some science looking at this.
I feel bad for the physicians that spent a lot of money on the first generation (10 watt) machines – they got conned by the lure of new “laser” technology and didn’t wait for the scientific proof.