VASER Lipo vs Traditional Lipo: What’s the Difference?

model torso photoYou know about liposuction, but you’ve probably been hearing about other ‘kinds’ of liposuction, too. Which type of liposuction is best for you? We often hear that question as plastic surgeons in San Jose. We’ll give you some answers—focusing on one type of liposuction: VASER liposuction.

What is VASER lipo?

First, VASER is a brand name for a specific liposuction machine. Starting with its technical meaning, “VASER” is actually an acronym for; “vibration amplification of sound energy at resonance.”  (You can see why the company shortened it.)

But, you can also get a sense from the description that it’s a technique using ultrasonic energy to assist in the performance of liposuction.

What is the difference between VASER lipo and liposuction?

Liposuction, in various forms, has been utilized for a long time to remove fat in small and large quantities. It’s especially helpful for fat removal in stubborn areas—the places that seem the hardest for people to reduce on their own through regular diet and exercise. Key places for lipo are the abdomen, flanks/love handles, and thighs, but also many other body areas, including the neck, arms, chest, knees, and ankles. (You can learn more about traditional liposuction in this related blog post.)

The various forms of liposuction all remove fat, which is suctioned out during surgery through a cannula. Like other lipo forms, during VASER liposuction, a saline solution will be injected into the area being treated (a process called tumescent liposuction). Both types of liposuction can be combined with other body contouring and rejuenating procedures in a Mommy Makeover.

photo by Dr. Lepore

photo by Dr. Lepore

photo by Dr. Lepore

photo by Dr. Lepore

  • Vaser adds the element of ultrasound. That is, it adds sound waves that help break apart fat deposits.
  • While the fat is broken up and liquefied, the surrounding tissues are preserved.
  • The emulsified fat (fat cells and fluid) is removed (aspirated) through a small cannula.
  • The process provides a gentler method of removing fat, resulting in less trauma to surrounding tissues, blood vessels, and skin. (RealSelf offers additional information about this.)
  • Vaser also uses the term “liposelection” because the technique allows surgeons to be more selective and specific in contouring various body areas.

You can see some of our patients’ liposuction and VASER lipo results in our before-and-after photo gallery.

Does VASER tighten skin?

There is an added benefit with VASER and other energy-assisted techniques in toning the skin. The overlying skin layers may be ‘tightened’ over the areas that have just been reduced through liposuction. This is a subtle result, and it is not something that would resolve a large area of loose skin, such as a post-bariatric skin tightening. That requires a skin excision and tightening.

Are you awake during VASER liposuction?

You will need some form of anesthesia during VASER liposuction. Local injections can be used if you’re only having a very small area treated. Larger areas will require general anesthesia. For our patients’ convenience, we perform both in our office location, which also houses our AAAASF-accredited surgical suite.

How painful is VASER liposuction recovery?

In addition to reducing fat, Vaser tends to produce a ‘less traumatic’ result. While all forms of surgery can and do cause bruising, Vaser technology is a gentler method of extracting fat. In most cases, the amount of bruising with VASER lipo is minimized, and recovery may be more comfortable and quicker.

photo by Dr. Lepore Vaser Liposuction-Bef

photo by Dr. Lepore
Vaser Liposuction-Bef

photo by Dr. Lepore Vaser Liposuction-After

photo by Dr. Lepore
Vaser Liposuction-After

Recovery times will vary, of course, since you may have a very small area treated, or large or multiple areas.  In general, we advise patients to refrain from exercise for several weeks, at least. Again, depending on the treatment areas, you may be wearing compression garments or bands for a number of weeks.  Patients with jobs that are not physically strenuous may usually return to work within several days.

What type of results can you expect with VASER lipo?

The visual results with VASER liposuction can be dramatic or subtle. Our San Jose area vaser lipo patients report a high level of satisfaction with their results, and you can get answers to more of your lipo questions on our liposuction FAQ page.

[Board-certified and Stanford-trained plastic surgeon Dr. Vincent Lepore offers VASER liposuction and a full range of body contouring procedures to patients throughout San Jose and the San Francisco Bay Area.  Please call us at (408) 356-4241 or use our online form to schedule a free cosmetic consultation.

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