Differences Between Smartlipo and Traditional Liposuction

Many individuals find sculpting the body they want daunting when it’s in the form of diet and exercise. Fortunately, there are multiple treatments that can get the job done simply and easily. Two popular body contouring treatments are Smartlipo and traditional liposuction.

Both come with unique benefits and challenges, but understanding the differences can help you make the best decision for your body. First State MedSpa in Wilmington, DE, is dedicated to helping you discover which treatment option is best for your body and lifestyle.

What is Smartlipo?

Smartlipo is a very popular laser-assisted procedure. It was first FDA-approved in 2007 and first introduced by Cynosure, a manufacturer of laser and radiofrequency technologies. The procedure consists of a small, targeted laser that liquefies fat through a fiber optic cable. As the fat is liquified, it is suctioned from the body and disposed of naturally. And since it’s an outpatient procedure, it does not require a hospital stay.

What is Traditional Liposuction?

Traditional liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the U.S. The first liposuction treatment was done in 1974 by Italian and French surgeons. It was developed as an alternative to a former treatment, which cut the fat from the body and left patients at risk for many complications.

But, as you might imagine, there have been significant advancements since the 1970’s. First, in 1985, Dr. Jeffrey Skein began using a smaller cannula to perform the first tumescent liposuction. The other significant improvement was Smartlipo.

Traditional liposuction consists of a thin tube called a cannula inserted into the treatment area. It is used to break up the fat so it’s easier to remove. A suction device is then used to suck the stubborn fat from the body.

Difference between Smartlipo and Traditional Liposuction

While there are a few similarities between Smartlipo and traditional liposuction, they have a variety of differences.


While both Smartlipo and traditional liposuction use suction, because Smartlipo uses a laser to liquefy the fat instead of physical manipulation of the fat, it’s much less invasive. By liquefying the fat before the suction, it’s much easier to remove with Smartlipo.

Target Areas

Smartlipo is ideal for larger areas with softer fat, like the thighs, back, arms, stomach, and chest. Traditional liposuction works on those areas as well, but it is also effective for hard-to-remove fat, such as the neck, chin, knees, or ankles.

Skin Tightening

Unlike traditional liposuction which can leave skin loose and dimpled after the procedure, Smartlipo provides skin tightening as well. The laser heat not only liquefies the fat but also tightens the skin by shrinking the collagen and tissue.

Recovery Time

Smartlipo results in shorter and less intense recovery time than traditional liposuction. Because the use of the laser causes less trauma to the treatment area, you don’t have to worry about as many side effects or complications. Most patients are back to their normal routines in about 2-5 days!


Traditional liposuction tends to be the more expensive of the two options. But, while Smartlipo is more affordable, depending on the area being treated, it may produce less dramatic results than traditional liposuction.

Schedule A Consultation Today

Both Smartlipo and traditional liposuction can be excellent body contouring treatments. Which one is right depends on your specific needs. Often, because it’s noninvasive, affordable, and requires a shorter downtime, Smartlipo is the best choice. But whatever you choose, it should be noted that neither of these procedures is meant to be used for weight loss.

At First State MedSpa, Dr. Shapira’s expertise and experience will help you decide the right body contouring treatment for you. Schedule a consultation today by calling our Wilmington, DE office at (302) 208-6084 or using our online contact form.