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Vaser Liposuction Strong Alternative to Suction-Assisted Liposuction

July 25, 2012

You may be familiar with the term “ultrasound” used for physical therapy, but did you know that it can also be used to reduce stubborn areas of fat in the body? Known as Ultrasound-assisted Lipoplasty (UAL) , it was first introduced in 1995. VASER® (Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance) -assisted Lipoplasty (VAL) is a more advanced version of the original UAL technology, with a study showing “statistically significant and clinically relevant improvements” compared to suction-assisted lipoplasty, according to an article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

How it works

Ultrasound-assisted lipo works by energizing the cannula (a hollow tube that’s inserted into the body) with intermittent or continuous bursts of ultrasonic energy. The vibrations burst the walls of the fat cells, liquefying the fat so it’s easier to suction out. According to an article in Medical News Today, using UAL on more fibrous areas, such as the male breast, back, and in areas where liposuction has been done before, is reported to be particularly effective.

Colorado-based Sound Surgical Technologies LLC, the developer of VASER Lipo®, claims this type of liposuction provides precise body sculpting, using LipoSelection® to target specific areas of fat throughout the body, from large areas such as the back to more delicate areas such as the neck and arms. It’s also less aggressive than traditional liposuction, since the ultrasound only affects the fat, leaving nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues undamaged. This means less bruising, minimal pain, and a quicker return to normal activities.

How it’s done

VASER Lipo can be performed in an office, an outpatient surgical center or in a hospital. You can be awake with just local anesthesia or receive IV sedation or general anesthesia. You and your doctor can discuss your options to decide what is right for you.

Step 1: The physician first injects the targeted area with a special saline solution known as “tumescent fluid,” which numbs the area, shrinks local blood vessels and temporarily expands the volume of the targeted area, making fat cells easier to remove.

Step 2: Small incisions are made to allow small-diameter probes to be inserted into the body. Once in place, the probes resonate at a high ultrasonic frequency, generating sound energy.

Step 3: The vibrations literally shake loose the fat cells, which then mix with the tumescent fluid.

Step 4: The fluid-fat cell mix is gently suctioned from the body.

After the procedure, patients are fitted with special compression garments to help their skin conform to their body's new contours. After a short (usually 12-hour) rest, patients can usually resume most normal activities, though it’s recommended they avoid strenuous activities for two to three weeks.

A recovery regimen, sometimes accompanied by massage therapy, is usually prescribed to promote maximum skin retraction (tightening) and smooth results.

What to know:

When do results appear?

According to Sound Surgical Technologies, patients will notice results immediately after a VASER Lipo procedure, with improvements continuing as tissues in the treated area heal. In three to four months, the final results should be apparent. View lipo before and after photos to get an idea of the results you can expect.

Will my skin be baggy where the fat was removed?

The level of skin retraction or tightening can be affected by your age, the overall skin quality and elasticity, any underlying disease or smoking, or the presence of previous skin damage. But the American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that since VASER Lipo preserves connected tissues (unlike other forms of lipo), it promotes good skin retraction — with a multi-center, clinical study reporting an up to 53% improvement relative to standard liposuction.

What are the benefits of VASER Lipo® compared to other forms of lipo?

Because the ultrasound waves only affect fat, not nerves, blood vessels or connective tissues, VASER Lipo is less aggressive to the body. This means the healing process is faster and the results more predictable. If you’re considering a fat transfer procedure (using your own fat to volumize or contour another part of the body), VASER Lipo-treated fat provides a higher quality fat that is easier to transfer.

What areas can VASER lipo treat?

According to the manufacturer, VASER Lipo can be performed literally from head to toe — from the face, breasts, and chin to buttocks, thighs, and ankles. Your physician can also do multiple body areas at one time, although each case is different based on the patient and the amount of fat to be removed.

Is the Vaser lipsuction a way to lose weight?

While it does remove fat and create a slimmer body shape, VASER Lipo is not a weight-loss method; however, you will appear slimmer.

What if I gain weight afterward?

Since a certain amount of fat is necessary, some essential fat layers will be untreated during the VASER Lipo procedure. If you do gain a significant amount of weight, these layers will expand. However, following a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercise should prevent any additional fat from accumulating.

How do I know if my surgeon is qualified to do VASER liposuction?

In general, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends that your physician should:
  • have at least five years of surgical training with a minimum of two years in plastic surgery
  • be trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures and fulfill continuing medical education requirements, including standards and innovations in patient safety
  • be board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada®
  • adhere to a strict code of ethics as well as operate only in accredited medical facilities 
Additionally, a physician offering VASER Lipo® should be a member of Sound Surgical Technologies’ network of trained aesthetic surgery physicians.

How expensive is VASER Lipo?

The cost of treatment depends on many factors, from the number of body areas treated and extensiveness of the procedure to your geographic location. Also, since any form of liposuction is generally considered an elective surgery, most health insurance plans won’t cover the cost of your lipo or any complications that may develop. During your consultation, your physician will be able to give you an accurate estimate.

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