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Getting Rid of Belly Fat: SmartLipo vs Tummy Tuck

Laser liposuction offers the opportunity to reduce belly fat and avoid additional surgery like a tummy tuck. However, it's not the right solution for every patient.

The SmartLipo laser liposuction device one of the most well known medical devices of its kind. Since FDA approval in 2006, SmartLipo has gained a reputation as the gold standard of laser lipo devices and is one of the most well known brands among consumers. Many physicians tout that SmartLipo can replace a tummy tuck while others say that's simply not so.

SmartLipo is consistently a top choice amongst patients and physicians, who like that not only are they able to remove fat, but many maintain that SmartLipo enables the physician to tighten the skin by stimulating collagen growth from under the skin. There are several devices available in the SmartLipo family, the most recent of which is the SmartLipo Triplex. It is a new addition to the SmartLipo brand and it differs from previous devices by offering three distinct wavelengths to melt fat and tighten skin. The Triplex's additional wavelength is said to target skin tightening needs, helping patients avoid a second procedure to remove loose skin.

The benefits of SmartLipo over a tummy tuck are significant. There is only minimal scarring, and recovery is much quicker. Patients enjoy needing only local sedation or conscious sedation as opposed to general anesthesia. However, patient selection is critical as not every patient in need of a tummy tuck is going to see enough improvement from laser lipo alone.

smartlipo triplex
SmartLipo Triplex Results of Dr. Joel Beck
(click here to see actual SmartLipo before after pictures)


There are several factors affecting whether or not a patient does still need a traditional tummy tuck or if they are a candidate for SmartLipo alone. The amount of muscle involvement is an important consideration. Bay Area SmartLipo provider Dr. Joel Beck uses the Triplex and says that it's a great option for patients who want to avoid tummy tuck, but does note that in order to be a candidate, the patient shouldn't have the common muscle separation known as diastasis recti. He says, "I have found that the SmartLipo Triplex is able to accomplish things that I would not ordinarily even attempt to perform lipo on. I used to go right in and do a tummy tuck. Now with this technique, you can go in and remove the fat and help tighten the skin with the machine so that the end result would be a nice aesthetic result from just doing SmartLipo rather than a tummy tuck." He says that the Triplex helps avoid scarring as well. "A lot of people who are afraid of having an enlarged scar would benefit from this method. It still won't replace the tummy tuck, but it certainly broadens your patients' selection for liposuction."

Michigan SmartLipo provider Dr. Robert Burke says that patients need to have realistic expectations when choosing a laser lipo procedure over an actual tummy tuck, and that physicians also need to carefully choose their patient. "An ideal candidate is a woman whose family is complete, they're close to their ideal weight with a body mass index under 30, and they're in good health." A patient with a lot of excess skin is not a candidate for this procedure, because it's too much to tighten by collagen alone. It would need to actually be removed by tummy tuck.
tummy tuck alternative
Tummy Tuck Alternative, SmartLipo Results of Dr. Robert Burke


Dr. Burke says, "People tell me the best thing is they get back to work fast and there is minimal disruption in their activity." If patients work at it and eat healthy they can maintain their results. He performs about 100 SmartLipo procedures per month, and Dr. Burke says, "it's a team effort on the part of the patient. I have to have somebody that's well motivated, that wants to take good care of themselves, and watch their diet, get the exercise, and do the things that they need to do."

Discuss your options and goals with your physician to work towards the best treatment course for your needs. Though SmartLipo is an appealing tummy tuck alternative, it isn't available to everyone. Make sure to disclose what kind of results you hope to see and find out if those can be achieved through SmartLipo alone.