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Laser Lipo treatments - effective?

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I wanted to ask your opinion of the Laser Lipo treatments now widely offered in our area.  Theoretically, these help shrink fat cells, but more importantly, claim to tighten up skin.

 

I realize this is not a replacement for plastic surgery to remove excess skin, I'm just looking for something to help before I am actually ready to have surgery.

 

Thanks you!

 

 

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Hello MJ,

I have a lot of experience in laser assisted liposuction.

I own a SmartLipo machine and use it regularly in my practice.

I find it to be a significant improvement over traditional liposuction.

The laser melts the fat much gentler than the mechanical trauma of a suction cannula, thus resulting in less bruising, pain and swelling.

And yes, the laser also does tighten the skin.

But this is no where near the amount of skin tightening a typical bariatric patient requires, and laser lipo does nothing for stretch marks.

Liposuction works best on people who have good skin tone but extra fat pockets.

This is opposite of a typical bariatric patient, who has lots of extra loose skin but minimal subcutaneous fat.

Therefore, liposuction is usually not indicated in bariatric patients, and not as effective as skin excision.

Sincerely,

Abhay Gupta, MD

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I am 5'5" and 156, I'm 17 months post op and haven't lost since Oct 2013 (I bounce from 150-156). My starting weight was 236. I am VERY active, run 5k's, do Insanity and T25 5 days a week. I don't have a lot of saggy skin I just have a lot of jiggle and loose skin. I'm actually ok with how my body looks, I'm just wondering with all this exercise is there any chance my skin will tighten up or should I look into lipo or surgery? I'm 42 y/o. Would really like to see the 140's. My surgeon said I'm an athlete and I look like I weigh 130 not 156, at that time I didn't ask him this question. I understand change to bodies happens in the kitchen not the gym so I do work at eating very clean as well (crackers are my weakness tho).

Thanks in advance for your reply and opinion.

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Hello Sharjaxn,

Congratulations on your achievement!

The amount your skin will tighten on its own or with exercise depends entirely on its elasticity.

Skin is elastic just like the waistband on a pair of underwear.

If you stretch it a little or just for a short time, it will return back to normal when you release the stretch.

But if you stretch it a lot, or stretch it multiple times, eventually the elastic will weaken and will become loose.

Skin acts the same way - the more you stretch it and the longer it stays stretched, the weaker and looser it gets.

If you stretch an elastic too much, it will break. In skin, the same thing can happen, resulting in a stretch mark.

So the amount your skin will bounce back after weight loss mostly depends on how long and how much it was stretched from obesity.

There are other factors including genetics and other medical conditions that affect skin elasticity as well.

If you skin still has good elasticity, then it will tighten as you lose weight, and may also tighten more after liposuction.

But if your skin has poor elasticity, then it won't tighten on its own and you will likely require a skin excision type of procedure.

A board certified plastic surgeon experienced in weight loss reconstruction should be able to give you an idea how elastic your skin is and discuss your surgical options with you.

Good luck!

Sincerely, Abhay Gupta MD.

Edited by Dr. Abhay Gupta

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