The New Standard in Non-Invasive Body Contouring

Is laser lipolysis safe?

Are there any risks or side effects to having laser lipolysis?

There are two kinds of laser lipolysis (“laser lipo”, for short):

  • minimally invasive
  • non-invasive

They are explained in more detail here.

The main difference between the two is that the minimally invasive procedure is surgical, involving incisions and vacuum suction. Because of this, it carries the following risks and side effects.

Bruising and swelling

The treated part of your body might be swollen and bruised afterward, so you’ll probably be given a compression garment to wear. This reduces the swelling and bruising and speeds up the healing process.

The swelling should subside within five to 10 days, but you may be bruised and tender for up to four weeks.

Numb or sensitive skin

Laser lipo melts your fat cells and tightens your skin. This tightening can sometimes cause feelings of numbness or sensitivity as your skin becomes more firm and toned.

Irregular body shape

It takes your body three to six months to naturally absorb melted fat to a point where you can see the effects.

If you have the minimally invasive procedure, the results will be more immediate, and you may notice a difference only a week after surgery.

However, sometimes the contours of your skin can appear irregular or misshapen, and further surgery may be needed to correct them.

Dimpled skin and cellulite

Sometimes the act of removing fat can dimple the skin or increase the appearance of cellulite.


A skilled surgeon is unlikely to inflict burns, and the newer medical devices used to carry out the procedure measure the temperature of your skin to prevent it from overheating and burning. However, if you do suffer a burn, there are risks of infection and scarring.

Complications from anaesthetic

When undergoing laser lipo, you’re given a local anaesthetic to numb the skin. Some people can have allergic reactions to the anaesthetic or require a more powerful dose, and so it’s important to discuss the risks with your doctor.

Can laser lipo cause infection?

The risk is extremely low. There’s a very small chance it could happen if the wound doesn’t heal properly, but in any case you’ll be given antibiotics to prevent any infection from developing.

There’s an increased risk of infection if you have diabetes.

Will the laser harm my liver?

The laser itself cannot damage your liver or any of your internal organs.

I’m pregnant. Can I have laser lipo?

You should wait until at least eight weeks after the birth. Not only is your skin more stretched than normal, but the local anaesthetic you’re given for the procedure can get into your bloodstream and harm the baby’s growth. The results are also unpredictable due to hormonal changes in your body.

With non-invasive procedures such as SculpSure, the laser only targets upper layers of fat and doesn’t penetrate the reproductive system, meaning it won’t affect pregnancy later in life.

Is laser lipo safe for people with diabetes?

Doctors often avoid doing cosmetic surgery on people with diabetes, as the condition causes complications with healing wounds and the forming of new collagen (the protein in muscles, skin, tendons and so on that gives those tissues their strength).

Also, because people with diabetes have weaker immune systems than people without, they’re more likely to get an infection.

That said, laser lipolysis is safe for people with diabetes, providing that:

  • their blood sugar is kept under strict control
  • they undergo the surgery knowing that the results may not be as effective as seen on someone without diabetes

SculpSure is safe for some people with diabetes and it can help them lose fat, though only if they’re a suitable candidate for the procedure (i.e. they’re otherwise healthy, with a body mass index of 30 or under).

Does laser lipo hurt?

Minimally invasive laser lipo

Non-invasive laser lipo (SculpSure)

  • During the procedure—you’ll be given a local anaesthetic and feel nothing other than a bit of pressure or heat on your skin
  • After the procedure—you’ll likely have some pain for three to four days, and swelling and bruising for up to four weeks
  • During the procedure—you’ll feel only alternating warm and cool sensations as the laser begins to destroy your fat cells
  • After the procedure—there’s very little pain once you’ve had the treatment, and no downtime

I have high blood pressure. Is laser lipo safe for me?

Yes, as long as your blood pressure is under control and you aren’t suffering symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. The surgeon and medical team will monitor your blood pressure throughout the treatment.

With SculpSure, there’s no risk to patients with high blood pressure.

Can laser lipo cause cancer?

No. There are no studies to show that any type of liposuction or laser lipolysis could cause cancer.

Who is laser lipo most suitable for?

Recommended for

Not recommended for

People who:

  • are at, or near, their healthy body weight
  • want to remove areas of fat they’ve been unable to shed through diet or exercise
  • are over 18

People who:

  • have heart disease
  • have problems with blood flow
  • have a weak immune system
  • are under the age of 18

This is because the procedure is designed to contour and shape the body rather than treat weight loss.

Can I continue to lose weight after undergoing laser lipo?

Yes. It’s very important that you not only get back into a routine of exercise but maintain a healthy diet and drink lots of water. The water will help flush out any fat cells still in your body. Avoiding fatty foods means you won’t be putting fats back into the cells that have just been emptied.

Most people who have the procedure go back to their normal activities after a couple of days. You should be able to do mild exercise (e.g. walking, exercise bike, elliptical trainer, weight training for arms and legs) after a few days, but avoid doing anything more strenuous for at least two weeks after treatment.

Related content

Is SculpSure safe?

Laser lipolysis FAQs

The benefits and risks of SculpSure

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Disclaimer: *Results may vary from person to person and treatment to treatment.