The term laser lipo refers to a group of procedures which use laser energy to melt fat cells before they are removed via aspiration, or suction. We spoke with Dr. Charles Mok, a lipo surgeon near Detroit and director of Allure Medical Spa, about CoolLipo, one laser lipo treatment that is changing the way people see liposuction and feel about themselves.
Laser lipo is considered to be a two part treatment. The first portion pretreats the fat with the laser, melting it so that it can be removed. There are a couple of advantages to pretreating the fat, according to Dr. Mok. "It's a little more forgiving... you're less likely to get skin irregularities. We also find that it's a little less fatiguing on the surgeon, it's a little less work." In traditional liposuction, a good bit of muscle was required on the physician's part as they moved the cannula back and forth, cutting through the fatty tissue and breaking it up for removal.
Another advantage to laser lipo in general and CoolLipo in particular, is the addition of skin contraction, or tightening. With traditional lipo, the skin will often sag at the treatment site as it is unable to contract back over the area that no longer has fat to support it. Dr. Mok says though that this improvement is theoretical at this point, "There's not been proof of exactly why that occurs but everybody sees skin tightening with laser liposuction. This just gives us a little edge."
Actual CoolLipo Results of Dr. Charles Mok
CoolLipo can be used anywhere you would do traditional liposuction, and Dr. Mok says he would use it exclusively on patients who've had previous liposuction procedures. "Those represent the most difficult liposuction cases. With prior liposuction, there is a scarring in the fat that occurs and it is very hard to get it out." Dr. Mok also said that he likes to use CoolLipo for male breast reduction because the fat in that area is fibrous and difficult to remove. He said that for the areas which would respond well to traditional liposuction, there is not a significant advantage to laser lipolysis, unless trying to achieve additional skin tightening. His most common area to perform laser liposuction is the neck, "we get fantastic results and a substantial amount of skin tightening, the patients are very pleased with their outcome."
Often times, physicians will use combination procedures to reach a better outcome. In Dr. Mok's office, they like to use the Erchonia laser, also known as Zerona, prior to treatment as he finds that it provides "the patient with less post-operative discomfort." He also performs CoolLipo in conjunction with abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, which removes excess skin from the stomach. He says that "laser liposuction gives you an edge but doesn't preclude the use of other devices."
Dr. Mok says it's critical to have the right patient for any liposuction procedure, when using lasers or otherwise. He says many patients are looking for an alternative to a lifestyle change and are trying to circumvent making a lifestyle change. It's best for people who have "already lost weight or are losing weight or at their ideal body weight. The obese person who's not doing anything for a lifestyle change will get very little results from liposuction because they're going to continue to put the fat on." He goes on to point out that it isn't so much an issue of a person's body mass index, or BMI, which is a weight to height ratio, but rather a question of body fat percentage.
How much does CoolLipo cost? Dr. Mok says it's between $3500 and $8000, depending on the area treated. Simple areas such as the neck are on the low end of the scale, where as more involved areas are more. Dr. Mok says though that around 80% of patients fall within the $4500-$5500 range.
There are complications involved with the laser. It is possible to cause burns, although Dr. Mok has not seen such a result in his office. Patients have less discomfort following the procedure with laser lipo and less swelling.
Dr. Charles Mok
Dr. Charles Mok earned his medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1989. He completed his medical residency at Mount Clemens General Hospital, Mt. Clemens, Michigan and has worked with laser manufacturing companies on improving laser medicine technology. He has performed clinical research studies, and has taught physicians from numerous other states. His professionalism and personal attention to detail has contributed to the success of one of the first medical spas in Michigan.
This segment is part of a Laser Lipo Round Table. American Health and Beauty is highlighting these technologies and the physicians who perform laser lipo surgeries. Check back each day to learn more about what each technology has to offer.
Laser lipo discussions will include: Dr. Dwight Reynolds on LipoTherme, Dr. Michael Will on SlimLipo, Dr. Thomas Barnes on LipoLite, Dr. Doohi Lee on ProLipo, Dr. Charles Mok on CoolLipo, and Dr. John Millard on SmartLipo Triplex.