Is there an area of your body that makes you feel self-conscious? Maybe you’d like your thighs to look thinner, or your abdomen to look leaner. For many years, plastic surgeons have been using liposuction techniques to tone and tighten their patients’ bodies so they feel more confident in their appearance. When performed by an experienced and trained plastic surgeon, liposuction is effective and safe. However, advances in technology have produced SmartLipo, laser liposuction, as a viable. Let’s look at some of the differences between the two methods.


Traditional liposuction needs to be performed in a surgery center or hospital and is most commonly done under general anesthesia. SmartLipo can be performed on limited areas in the office since it is performed under local anesthesia.

Length of Procedure

SmartLipo is performed while the patient is awake with the use of local anesthetic. It is important to ensure that the patient is comfortable throughout the procedure. For this reason, laser liposuction can take a little bit longer than traditional liposuction.


Traditional liposuction requires general anesthesia or IV sedation, and SmartLipo can be performed with local anesthesia. Although general anesthesia is not considered unsafe, using local anesthesia reduces some of the risks associated with general anesthesia. Many patients complain of nausea after general anesthesia. This is one of the benefits of SmartLipo, no general anesthesia is required.


Every patient recovers differently, but typically, SmartLipo patients have less bruising and return to work faster than traditional liposuction. Dr. Michaels recommends taking several days off from work, regardless of which type of liposuction is performed.

Treatment Areas

Traditional liposuction can be used on the:

  • Abdomen
  • Flanks/love handles
  • Arms
  • Thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Back
  • Neck
  • Chest

SmartLipo can be used on all of the aforementioned areas, as well as the:

  • Male breast area
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles

Treatment Methods

Traditional liposuction is performed through multiple incisions in the treatment area. A surgical instrument called a cannula is inserted through the incisions and moved back and forth to break up the fat. Then, the fat is suctioned from the body.

SmartLipo is performed in a similar manner, but it incorporates high-definition laser technology. A laser fiber is inserted through the cannula and delivers laser energy to the fat cells to break them up. The laser energy is also used to heat up the collagen in the skin, causing it to retract, resulting in a skin tightening effect that cannot be obtained with traditional liposuction. Dr. Michaels uses SmartLipo Triplex, the latest in laser liposuction technology. This allows him to choose between three different laser energies to break up and dislodge the fat before removing it. It also provides the optimal settings to achieve skin tightening.

Schedule a Body Sculpting Consultation

For more information about traditional liposuction and SmartLipo, please contact Dr. Michaels at his Bethesda plastic surgery practice by calling 301-468-5991 or 703-957-8610 or by sending an email.

  • Share: