Laser-assisted lipolysis: a review

Dermatol Surg. 2012 Feb;38(2):155-69. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2011.02168.x. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


Background: In the United States, liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure. Laser lipolysis is the latest adjunct to liposuction. This technique employs laser energy to induce lipolysis and hemostasis and stimulate neocollagenesis. Multiple laser systems have been studied.

Methods: PubMed literature search with the key words laser lipolysis and laser assisted liposuction. Original articles that studied the internal application of laser energy to adipose tissue were reviewed and included.

Results: Nineteen manuscripts were reviewed. One double-blind randomized controlled trial compared laser liposuction with tumescent liposuction. Several authors claimed that laser lipolysis offers fewer side effects than "traditional" liposuction performed under general anesthesia. A true objective comparison with tumescent liposuction is missing in the literature.

Limitations: Comparison studies between laser-assisted lipolysis and conventional liposuction are limited, as are comparisons between the different laser systems and wavelengths. Standardization of laser energy settings is lacking.

Conclusion: Laser-assisted lipolysis is a safe and efficacious procedure that may possess advantages over conventional liposuction. Lipolysis occurs in a dose-response relationship. No advantage over tumescent liposuction has been demonstrated. A specific laser wavelength may prove superior for each clinical application, but more studies are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Laser Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Laser Therapy* / methods
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / adverse effects
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / therapeutic use
  • Lasers, Solid-State / adverse effects
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use
  • Lipectomy* / adverse effects
  • Lipectomy* / methods