Liposuction — Tumescent or SmartLipo?

At Dr. Jensen’s we offer both tumescent liposuction and SmartLipo, which is laser-assisted liposuction. Patients can be confused as to what is the difference between the two, and whether one approach is superior to the other.

So you have more information, here is some information on both methods.

Tumescent liposuction

Liposuction has come a long way since its debut by Italian and French surgeons in 1974. That original procedure involved pretty violent movements to break loose the fat under the skin. The incisions necessary to insert the larger cannulas were longer, and the procedure caused fairly significant tissue trauma due to the cannula movement, and could result in significant blood loss.

Since then, techniques have improved immensely. One of the biggest improvements was adoption of the tumescent technique. In tumescent liposuction, Dr. Jensen first injects the treatment area with a tumescent solution, consisting of lidocaine, epinephrine, and saline solution. The lidocaine provides anesthetic; the epinephrine constricts the blood vessels for less bleeding and subsequent bruising; and the saline solution helps constrict the fat for easier removal.


SmartLipo adds laser energy to liposuction. Prior to the cannula being inserted, a laser fiber is inserted into the treatment area. The laser energy breaks up and liquefies much of the fat, enabling somewhat easier extraction. Still, the same cannulas are used for SmartLipo as regular tumescent lipo, so the minor incisions made are the same.

Comparisons between the two

Dr. Jensen provides both tumescent liposuction and SmartLipo. He is a fan of both methods, but does want to be sure patients don’t fall for the hype that has surrounded the marketing of SmartLipo. Here are a few things to consider about SmartLipo.

  • Skin tightening is minimal and not permanent. SmartLipo’s laser energy does have a subtle skin tightening effect, similar to other laser energy tightening procedures. But these results are not permanent, and in no way could replace a procedure such as a tummy tuck.
  • SmartLipo has the same recovery times and safety as tumescent liposuction. You may have heard of miracle recovery times with SmartLipo, but they are the same as with tumescent liposuction, as is the overall safety of the two methods.
  • There is a danger of some thermal injury with SmartLipo. Although this is usually what happens with inexperienced practitioners, delivering laser energy under the skin does have some risk of thermal damage to tissue.

If you’re considering having liposuction, call Dr. Jensen at (801) 728-9258 to set up a consultation. Then the two of you can discuss which method would be best for you.

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