R. Scott Haupt, M.D.

Utah Cosmetic Surgery (801) 293-8100
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(385) 321-0941

Liposuction in Utah

Liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgical procedures. There is no doubt that this is the surest way to remove unwanted fat. It is a fantastic contouring procedure for the one or two spots that just won’t go away with diet and exercise. At Utah Cosmetic Surgery, we specialize in laser lipo and other cosmetic procedures.

Public perception is that lipo is an easy procedure with a fast recovery. With small incisions there is very little risk of pulling a scar apart, and no deeper structures have to heal, so one can understand how this opinion has developed. But it is a very invasive procedure that leaves a layer of scar tissue that takes a long time to remodel. However, fat is in areas that have no immediate functional needs, so one can move and look healed quickly. 

It is true that any physician can simply make a small incision and anesthetize the area and remove the fat. So this is a buyer beware procedure, as even Utah physicians without cosmetic surgery training think it is an easy procedure. However, we encourage all seeking liposuction to seek out comsetic surgery physicians who have had their training at a certified plastic surgery training program approved by the Board of Medical Specialties. This is for two reasons: 1. adequate training in plastic surgery including Continuing Medical and Plastic Surgical Education and Training. 2. These physicians have hospital privileges to perform liposuction at hospitals and can admit you to these hospitals if emergencies happen.

People do come in all shapes and sizes, and they do have irregularities from the top of the head to the feet. However, most of the fatty irregularities are in the abdomen, flanks/side of abdomen, and thighs. Occasionally there are request for laser lipo in the lower back of the neck, or lower calves (i.e. cankles).

If you are interested in removing unwanted contours, then a thorough consultation with a reputable physician can tell you more about laser lipo and if you’re a good candidate for the operation. We want to be honest with you, even if we say you are not a good candidate, or we may say there is a better option. The liposuction-only facilities may not tell you when a tummy tuck might be a better option.

Come by or call our Murray office. Our laser lipo professionals will help you make the right decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Laser Lipo (Smart Lipo) the best?

Laser is the latest innovation attempt to improve fat removal. It uses a heat source, the laser, to break the fat cells open so that they can be suctioned out. Proponents use it near the skin to get more tightening of the skin. However, this heat source in the wrong hands and even with trained people can lead to burns or over heated fat leading to large contour irregularities or scarred skin. When utilized correctly it will have similar effects as standard or power assisted liposuction with the possibility of some skin retraction. Because of the complications we have seen from other physicians, we do not utilize this method.

How many liposuction methods are there?

Liposuction started with a hollow tube and suction device. The tubes were initially refined to make the end less traumatic and with the use of thinner/ smaller tubes the chances of contour irregularities have decreased.  

Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction (UAL) became very popular utilizing ultrasonic energy to break apart the fat and then standard liposuction was used to remove the fat.  There is still one company that is producing this type of device.  

Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) uses smaller cannulas and a device that moves the cannula back and forth quickly to cut through the tissue better.  It is still highly utilized and doesn’t have the burn potential as other devices. 

Water Assisted Liposuction (WAL), trade name Body Jet, was developed and uses a spray (jet) to loosen the fat. This doesn’t cause burns and is reportedly more gentle and useful for fat grafting.  

Laser Assisted Liposuction (LAL), often termed Smart Lipo, utilized a laser to heat and emulsifies the fat, which is then extracted with a standard liposuction device such as PAL.  


What are the risks?

The primary risks are dimpling and irregularities as well as removing too much or too little. Bruising almost always happens, but a larger blood collection (hematoma) or fluid collection (seroma) can occur. Most experience some initial sensation loss, but usually returns to normal.  Prolonged swelling or irritation can happen and rarely blood clots or pulmonary embolus. There are some additional risks also.

What is the post-operative course?

Most have discomfort after that slowly drops over several weeks. Swelling happens and is controlled by the compression garments or wraps that are applied for 3 weeks. Exercise can restart in 3 weeks as the bruising resolves.  Returning to work will depend on the extent of the surgery.