Smartlipo vs. SculpSure: Which One is Right For You?

If you’re looking to eliminate stubborn pockets of fat, the options may overwhelm you. On the one hand, you have treatments like Smartlipo®, which is a laser-assisted lipolysis procedure that provides dramatic improvement but has some minimal downtime. On the other hand, there’s SculpSure®, which is a non-invasive body contouring treatment that provides natural-looking results without surgery or downtime.

With these options in mind, the next step is to determine which procedure would work best for you and weigh the pros and cons of Smartlipo vs. SculpSure. In some ways, the two procedures are similar. They’re both FDA-cleared and use laser technology, and they both eliminate unwanted fat cells from common areas such as your belly, love handles, thighs, and double chin. That’s about where the similarities end, however.

To get a better understanding of Smartlipo vs. SculpSure, take a look at the differences:

How Do They Work?

SculpSure uses laser energy to heat and destroy fat cells, which are then gradually eliminated through your body’s lymphatic system over the course of a few months.

Smartlipo, on the other hand, delivers laser energy safely and consistently through a small tube inserted underneath your skin, which disrupts and liquefies the fat. The liquefied fat is then gently suctioned out, and because Smartlipo actually tightens the skin through coagulation, you don’t have to worry about dimpling and sagging skin.

How Invasive Are They?

SculpSure is a noninvasive procedure, and typically there’s no evidence right after you’ve had the treatment. Before the treatment, the area of stubborn fat will be fitted with a frame template, which is then belted onto the treatment area. Then small laser applicators, each about the size of a cell phone, snap into place.

Smartlipo involves the insertion of a narrow tube, requires small incisions, and is therefore considered to be minimally invasive. It’s usually done in an “in-office” operating room.

Are the Procedures Painful?

Most patients tolerate SculpSure well, describing the sensation as a feeling of cooling, followed by deep heat or tingling throughout the treatment. There’s no suction or pulling; instead, the applicators simply lay flat against your skin. The laser cycles heat on and off, raising the temperature of your fat cells so they can be destroyed, while the cooling is on for the entire treatment to help keep your skin safe and body comfortable. It’s common to feel tender in the treated area for a few days.

Smartlipo uses a local anesthetic (which means it’s restricted to a specific part of your body), so patients are typically awake but don’t feel any pain during the procedure, which can take up to an hour and a half. Some patients may feel soreness for a few days after the procedure.

Will They Bruise the Skin?

SculpSure generally doesn’t cause bruising. Patients may experience mild swelling and redness immediately after the treatment, which resolves soon after.

However, with Smartlipo, you may experience some light bruising and swelling, which should resolve in just a few days to weeks.

What about Downtime?

With SculpSure, you can return to your regular activities—even the gym—immediately following each treatment session.

If you opt for Smartlipo, you will have a couple days of downtime, and you’ll be wearing a compression garment for about a week following the procedure.

When Are Results Visible?

People who opt for SculpSure often report seeing a noticeable improvement about six weeks after treatments, with full results visible at the twelve-week point. Multiple sessions are typically recommended and can be performed four to six weeks between each treatment, to maximize results.

Most people who are treated with Smartlipo can see results within a week, with continued improvement over three to six months following their procedure. Both treatments, however, require you to consider your diet and exercise routine to maintain long-term results.

So Which One Should You Get?

A few factors should go into this decision. First, determine how much time you can take off to recover. SculpSure can probably be done on your lunch break (though it takes multiple appointments), while Smartlipo will require a few days off. As well, it depends on what problem areas you’re interested in fixing. If it’s really only your double chin that bothers you, try SculpSure while Smartlipo can help you deal with larger areas. If you’re new to cosmetic treatments, SculpSure may be a better choice since Smartlipo is minimally invasive but provides dramatic results.

Whether you’re looking to banish that post-baby bod, trade in your mom jeans for skinny ones, or look more toned and tight, choosing between Smartlipo and SculpSure can help you get your confidence back.

Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed. SculpSure is intended for non-invasive fat reduction for the submental (under the chin) area, abdomen, flanks, back, inner thighs and outer thighs. SculpSure is not a weight loss solution or for people who are obese.

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