Is Lipo Laser Safe?

Laser liposuction, also known as laser lipolysis or laser lipo, is a minimally invasive procedure that uses controlled bursts of laser energy to remove excess fat from the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and other treatment areas.

Laser lipo is not as risky as traditional cosmetic surgery, especially when performed under the supervision of a board-certified medical practitioner with advanced cosmetic laser training.

Does that mean it’s truly “safe”? Let’s take a closer look at risk versus reward of laser lipo and what you can expect from the procedure as a first-time patient. 

Is Laser Lipo Safe?

Laser lipo is safe in comparison to more invasive cosmetic procedures performed by plastic surgeons, such as traditional liposuction. 

Although laser lipo is a minor surgical procedure, it is minimally invasive and has a favorable risk profile — that is, serious side effects and complications are rare.

For this reason, it’s a top alternative to plastic surgery among patients seeking long-term fat reduction in visible areas of the body like the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.

Laser Lipo vs. Coolsculpting

Laser lipo is often compared to Coolsculpting, another popular, minimally invasive fat-burning and skin tightening procedure.

The biggest difference between the two is heat. Laser lipo uses a hot laser to liquefy the fat in treatment areas, while Coolsculpting uses a freezing-cold probe to freeze fat under the skin. Neither has a high risk of complications. And while the recovery time for Coolsculpting is slightly shorter than for laser lipo, laser lipo often produces more noticeable results after the first procedure, and full results take less time to appear.

What to Expect From Your Laser Lipo Procedure

Like any minimally invasive cosmetic procedure, laser lipo is best performed by a medical professional qualified to perform laser liposuction to ensure quality results and further reduce the already-low risk of side effects. 

Here’s what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

Before the Procedure: Consultation and Fit

Once you’ve found a practitioner with laser therapy certification, you’ll need to confirm with them that you’re a good fit for the procedure.

Your provider will take a comprehensive medical history and rule out potential contraindications, such as:

  • Heart disease and certain other cardiovascular conditions
  • Cancer and nonmalignant tissue abnormalities
  • Liver disease
  • Certain autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • The presence of a pacemaker or internal defibrillator

Next, your provider will work with you to determine a treatment plan and schedule your procedure. Follow their pre-procedure instructions carefully; you may need to discontinue certain medications in the days leading up to the procedure, for example.

During the Procedure: Laser Lipo Process

Laser lipo is an in-office procedure. In most cases, the provider uses a local anesthetic like Novocain to minimize pain in the treatment area. The laser lipo device itself has redundant safeguards to ensure it only heats the target fat deposits; each area takes no more than a few minutes to address.

After the Procedure: Recovery Time and Follow-up

Expect to feel some soreness or tenderness in and around the treatment areas after your procedure. You may also notice mild swelling and bruising. 

These side effects should lessen within a few days, after which you’ll be cleared to resume normal activity.