Lipolysis Using a 980-nm Diode Laser: A Retrospective Analysis of 534 Procedures

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The safety and efficacy of the 980-nm diode laser for laser lipolysis were evaluated in different body areas.


From June 2005 to June 2007, 334 subjects underwent laser lipolysis. The treatment was performed using a 980-nm diode laser (OSYRIS, Hellemmes, France). After tumescent anesthesia, a 1-mm-diameter microcannula housing a 600-μm optical fiber was inserted into the subcutaneous fat. The cannula was moved back and forth in a predetermined manner to get a homogeneous distribution of energy at the treated area. Laser settings (power and cumulative energy) were selected in relation to individual body areas: 6 W (chin, arm, knee), 10 W (abdomen, back), and 15 W (thigh, hips, buttock). Patient satisfaction was evaluated and side effects were recorded. The laser energy counter incrementally counted the energy used; then the cumulative energy used for each treatment was recorded. Ultrasound imaging was used to control tumescent anesthesia infiltration, cannula position prior to laser emission,and postoperative fat liquefaction.


Five hundred thirty-four (534) laser lipolysis procedures were performed on 334 patients. Different areas were treated: hips (197), inner thighs (86), abdomen (86), knees (61), flanks (57), buttocks (28), chin (22), arms (18), back (4). Mean cumulative energy was area-dependent, ranging from a minimum of 2200 J (knee) to a maximum of 51,000 J (abdomen). Contour correction and skin retraction were observed almost immediately in most patients. There was no scarring, infection, burns, hypopigmentation, bruising, swelling, or edema. Ecchymoses were observed in almost all patients but resolved in under 1 week for 322 patients. Patient satisfaction was very high. Because laser lipolysis is an outpatient procedure, patients were able to resume normal daily activities after 24 h. Ultrasound imaging confirmed that the thermal effect generated by the laser results in melting and rupture of the collagenous and subdermal bands.


This clinical study demonstrates that the removal of small volumes of fat with concurrent subdermal tissue contraction can be performed safely and effectively using a 980-nm diode laser. Additional benefits include excellent patient tolerance and quick recovery time. This study also confirms that enough accumulated energy must be delivered to achieve sufficient lipolysis throughout different fat layers.

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