Smartlipo/Laser Skin Tightening is a minimally invasive, laser-assisted lipolysis procedure that targets upper arm jiggle by eliminating the fat deposits while tightening and firming the skin.
Am I a good candidate?
If you are in good health, are less than 25-30 pounds overweight, and cannot tone or tighten your upper arms despite diet and exercise, you are an ideal candidate for Smartlipo/Laser Skin Tightening. As with all procedures, you should have realistic expectations of the results and understand the procedure and recovery process.
Patients have the option of having this procedure under IV sedation or under a local anesthetic. If the patient ops to be awake for the procedure, upon arrival, patients take an oral sedative to relax during the hour-long procedure. Either under IV sedation or under local anesthetic, once the patient is in the operating room, the doctor will administer a lidocaine to numb the area. The arms are done one at a time with only one small incision just above each elbow. The Smartlipo laser fiber is inserted through a very small tube just under the skin and it delivers a blend of laser wavelengths that melt fat and tighten tissue. The varying levels of energy rupture the fat cell membranes, thus destroying those fat cells permanently. The liquefied fat is then gently suctioned out. The laser then works to further disrupt the underlying tissue so that new collagen will form from the coagulation of skin; thus the skin tightening element exclusive to Smartlipo Triplex technology. Finally, the plastic surgeon removes the cannula from that tiny incision at the elbow. The incision, about the size of a pen tip, is actually so small that no suture is needed after the procedure.
As with brachioplasty surgery, Smartlipo / Laser Skin Tightening patients leave our office wearing a protective sleeve-like wrapping. This is a post operative compression garment worn to ensure proper healing and to minimize swelling. The incisions will be bandaged to avoid any outside contact that may cause infection. Patients can expect to see some blood tinged oozing from the site for the first 24 hours after the procedure. There is minimal discomfort, yet we prescribe a pain medication along with an antibiotic as a precautionary measure to decrease the risk of infection. We encourage all of our surgery patients to take the Arnica Montana that we provide to help alleviate bruising and swelling. Patients return to our office within three or four days for their initial post op. At that appointment, the doctor will determine how often the patient will wear the compression garment and when the next post op appointment will be. It is best that the patient does not engage in any strenuous activity for the first week after surgery, yet he or she can return to normal daily activities right away.
Terms to Know
Collagen – the skin’s fibrous protein responsible for its structure and appearance
Cannula – a flexible tube that is inserted into a bodily cavity, duct, or vessel to drain fluid or administer a substance such as a medication.
Arnica Montana – a homeopathic remedy to reduce pain, swelling and discoloration from bruises. It also temporarily relieves muscle pain and stiffness due to minor injuries, overexertion and falls.
How long will the results last?
First, the fat that has been removed is gone for good. Even if you gain some weight after your procedure, typically you will not see it in your upper arms. As for the skin tightening, as we age our skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag. The question of how quickly that will happen to you depends on your skin’s elasticity and how much time you spend in the sun without proper protection.
Why will I need to wear compression sleeves?
The results of your surgical procedure and the comfort level you will experience during your post-op recovery will be greatly enhanced by your compression garment. First, the sleeves improve blood circulation and minimize swelling. They also accelerate the healing process a by offering support to the area and helping the skin fit better to the arms’ new contour.
How long do I need to take off from work?
As long as your job does not require any heavy lifting or physical exertion, you may return to work within two or three days. If you have to lift or do anything strenuous with your job, you may return to light duty after a week, and be back to full duty after that.