A: That’s an excellent question.
We can safely do Smartlipo on patients with mild heart disease but not on patients with severe heart disease or congestive heart failure. It’s not really an issue of fat elimination through the bloodstream. The biggest problem from a surgical standpoint is that many cardiac patients are on blood thinners like Coumadin or Plavix and almost all cardiac patients are on daily aspirin. These medications interfere with clotting function and they dramatically increase the risks of bleeding or bruising with Smartlipo.
If your heart disease is mild and your cardiologist determines that it is safe for you to be completely off aspirin and other blood thinners for at least two weeks, then we can consider Smartlipo.
Thanks again for your question.
Francis E. Toscano, M.D., FACEP
A: There are so many procedures for removing fat that it’s easy to get confused. With SmartLipo, we make small incisions (about 1/4 inch) and infuse anesthetic solution. You are wide awake. Once the area is numb, we insert a fiber-optic thread smaller than a piece of spaghetti. The end of the thread gets quite hot and it is the heat that kills the fat cells. At the same time, the heat stimulates fibroblasts deep within the skin to produce new collagen which is springy and elastic. Once stimulated, the fibroblasts will continue to tighten the skin for 6 to 8 months. Once the fat is melted, we suction it out with cannulas.</>
There are two big problems with the other procedures you’ve mentioned. With ultrasonic cavitation, Cool Lipo, Zerona, and “non-invasive laser”, there’s simply not very much heat. (That’s why you don’t need anesthesia with them.) There’s not enough heat to actually kill fat cells and there’s not enough heat to “wake up” the fibroblasts to produce collagen. The fat cells may shrink up a little but they don’t actually die and because there’s not much heat, there’s no skin tightening. The second problem with them is that the fat isn’t actually removed. They claim that your body somehow removes the fat cells but it’s not true. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t see one or two patients who have had one of those procedures done and they are disappointed with the results. With SmartLipo, we actually remove the fat with suction. When we’re done, you can see it for yourself sitting in a canister.
I know that “The Doctors” and “Dr. Oz” have both featured several of the procedures that you’ve mentioned on their shows. Keep in mind that one of the main ways those shows make money is by charging doctors and medical device companies (like Zerona and Cool Lipo) for time on their show. Last year, I was offered a spot on The Doctors. All I had to do was write a check for $20,000 and I could have a 4 minute segment. I declined. Be very careful trusting what you see on those shows. Much of what they promote are paid infomercials.