Liposuction is the second most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States, with more than 258,000 surgeries performed in 2018, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (1). Liposuction is ideal for patients who have tried unsuccessfully to eliminate localized fat deposits through diet, exercise and weight loss. The primary goal of liposuction (also known as lipoplasty) is to reduce fat deposits in specific localized areas and achieve the well-proportioned body contours without much downtime. Nowadays, liposuction procedures are far advanced from their initial beginnings, when Italian and French surgeons first used suction with a blunt, hollow surgical instrument called “cannula” to remove fat in 1974 (2). Most of the consistently popularity of liposuction is due to the technological innovations and improvements in procedural techniques, which resulted in the many options available nowadays for patients looking to remove fat cells. If you are thinking about having this procedure done, you might also be wondering whether to choose VASER Liposuction or Laser Lipo, which is also known as Smart Lipo. Both procedures offer advantages along with positive results, ultimately leading to a personalized decision which is made easier by comparing the differences between VASER Liposuction and Laser Lipo.
VASER Liposuction is an advanced body contouring procedure that “selectively” remove unwanted body fat. This method uses minimally-invasive ultrasound technology to emulsify fat while leaving all other important tissues intact, resulting in significant desirable effects with minimal damage to surrounding tissues. Consequently, patients recover considerably quicker as they suffer reduced bleeding, bruising and welling in the treated areas. Since the VASER also creates thermal energy, this generated heat causes further fat to dissolve and causes significant skin contracture. Results from clinical studies presented at the 78th Annual American Society of Plastic Surgeons Meeting demonstrated a 53% improvement in skin contraction relative to the standard liposuction procedures (3). Moreover, combining the unique properties of helium plasma and radiofrequency energy, Renuvion (J-Plasma) produces dramatic and immediate effects on the soft tissues and skin when paired with the VASER Liposuction machine. Using Renuvion in conjunction with the 4D guarantees smoother contours and significantly more skin retraction. Renuvion game-changing technology will not only firm up your skin but also it will improve some of the abdominal striae or “stretch marks” that may be present. It’s worth noting that thermal skin contracture is not attainable with traditional liposuction. Recent clinical studies have also shown significantly less blood loss with the use of the VASER. Specifically, an average reduction in blood loss of 26% compared with traditional liposuction methods (4). Altogether, these beneficial factors positively impact the procedure final outcome and recovery process. The shorter recovery time needed for VASER Liposuction makes it more convenient and appealing to my patients, who may return to their work and regular activities one week after the surgery and sometimes sooner. Meanwhile the recovery time expected for Smart Lipo and other liposuctions methods exceeds the two weeks.
Modern laser liposuction is also a minimally-invasive procedure. Laser Lipo uses heat energy from fibre-optic lasers to burn and melt the fat cells. The fat is then suctioned out from the body once it is melted. However, laser liposuction is not as efficient at separating the fat cells because the heat delivered is only at the top of the probe, whereas with VASER Liposuction the heat is delivered from the tip and the side of the probe as well. A laser liposuction probe only emits thermal energy at the end of the probe which causes an intense level of heat. As the laser is focused on one point only, it has a higher risk of burns, the surrounding vital tissues may be burnt and subsequently injured by the intense heat. On the other hand, VASER Liposuction emits energy uniformly. This means that instead of having one end of the probe with high energy, this energy is distributed evenly around the probe (5). This allows the VASER to liquefy the fat cells more efficiently than laser allowing the surgeon to remove more fat cells compared than with laser liposuction.
Another difference between these two liposuction methods is the remarkable advantage that VASER Liposuction offers of using the extracted excess of fat to transfer it to other specifics areas of the body such as hips and/or buttocks (like in a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL). This process is called Fat Transfer procedure or Fat Grafting. It’s worthy noticing that fat cells treated and removed during VASER Liposuction procedures are typically of high quality (in contrast with the ones extracted via Smart Lipo) and are viable to re-introduce into the body. Fat that is removed in laser liposuction cannot be re-used as the fat cells are destroyed by the heat from the laser. Unlike short lasting synthetic fillers, re-injecting your own fat (autologous fat) may give you natural looking results that last longer, with no risk of rejection (6). This favorable possibility to accentuate and contour your body by using your own fat in a single procedure is definitely one big plus for VASER Liposuction in comparison to laser liposuction and other traditional liposuction methods.
(1) “2018 National Plastic Surgery Statistics”. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2018/plastic-surgery-statistics-report-2018.pdf
(2) “History of Liposuction”. Lipo.com https://lipo.com/liposuction-information/history-of-liposuction/
(3) Lewis, Linda W. “Taking Shape”. MedEsthetics. https://www.aestheticdoctors.co.za
(4) Garcia, O., Jr., Nathan N. 2008. “Comparative Analysis of Blood Loss in Suction-Assisted Lipoplasty and Third-Generation Internal Ultrasound-Assisted Lipoplasty”. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 28(4): 430-435.
(5) “Differences between VASER and Laser Liposuction Results”. Cosmos Clinic. https://www.cosmosclinic.com.au/blog/differences-vaser-laser-liposuction-results/
(6) Schafer, M.E. et al. “Acute Adipocyte Viability After Thrid-Generation Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction”. Aesthetic Surgery Journal.