Laser-assisted liposuction, introduced in 2007, is one of the newest liposuction techniques. SmartLipo is the first laser to be approved by the FDA to be used for fat dissolution.

According to FDA documents, the SmartLipo laser is intended for the surgical incision, excision, vaporization, ablation, and coagulation of soft tissue. While all soft tissue is included, it is also indicated for laser-assisted lipolysis (liposuction).

This laser technology produces a burst of energy as it enters the fatty tissue that liquefies the fat. Similar to other techniques of liposuction, laser-assisted liposuction requires the use of tumescent solution prior to lipolysis, and standard liposuction to aspirate the liquefied fat.

The laser energy is delivered by a thin laser fiber that is inserted through small incisions in the skin. In addition to breaking up fat cells, the laser energy also heats other tissues. Possible side effects include, but are not limited to, swelling, bruising, burns, numbness and minimal bleeding.

The laser is deemed a safe and effective device by the FDA. The only study that has scientifically compared this to standard liposuction has found no differences between these techniques in terms of the results. The best procedure for a patient depends on many factors which is why a thorough consultation with a plastic surgeon is beneficial.


Many of the topics discussed in this section are procedures or technologies that are relatively new or currently under clinical investigation and may require further scientific study to determine efficacy and success rate.

 These topics are presented for research and education purposes only. The ASPS does not endorse the procedures or technologies in this section.
Physicians using such procedures or technologies are advised to make individual treatment decisions according to their own medical judgment in light of each patient's individual circumstance.

Further, any reporting or publication of the information presented must be done responsibly with full disclosure of its unproven nature.