Vaser Lipo is a form of liposculpture that uses controlled ultrasonic energy to assist the surgeon in the selective removal of fat in body contouring surgery, offering smoother results and faster recovery than traditional liposuction.
Sydney plastic surgeon Dr Naveen Somia has been using Vaser Lipo by Device Technologies for the past four years. He uses it both as a stand-alone liposuction procedure and in combination with other surgical procedures, for example tummy tucks and breast reductions. Common treatment areas include the arms, thighs, buttocks, love handles and male breasts (medically called gynaecomastia).
How Vaser Lipo works
Vaser Lipo uses ultrasound energy to liquefy the fat before extraction, which helps to reduce trauma and achieve a smoother contour.
‘The ultrasound energy emulsifies the fat, so that it is extracted in a liquid form,’ Dr Somia explains. ‘This reduces the amount of mechanical action needed to dislodge and extract fat, meaning less tissue trauma is inflicted. Importantly, the energy is selective and targeted, so the nerves, lymphatics and blood vessels are not affected.’
Dr Somia performs all Vaser Lipo procedures using general anaesthetic. He believes this allows for a greater volume of fat to be extracted, and affords easier access to the deeper fatty layers. Before treatment, Dr Somia fills the area with tumescent saline solution that contains local anaesthesia. This helps constrict blood vessels, reduce bleeding and assist in the emulsification of fatty tissue.
Fat reduction with skin tightening
The ultrasound method of Vaser offers a skin tightening benefit, alongside fat reduction. This is due to the ultrasound heat causing the tightening and regeneration of collagen fibres in the skin.
Dr Somia has achieved noticeable results in skin tightening, although he explains the tightening effect varies between patients and is difficult to predict.
‘I have seen impressive results in skin tightening. For example, one patient in her late 20s had Vaser Lipo on her arms, and the degree of skin tightening was remarkable,’ Dr Somia explains. ‘But, although this skin tightening effect is applicable across the board, it is difficult to accurately predict the degree of skin tightening for each individual patient.’
Following Vaser Lipo, Dr Somia says it is important to wear compression garments for at least six weeks to minimise swelling, and help the body better conform to the new, slimmer contours.
‘I see my patients for follow-up appointments at the first, second and sixth week after Vaser Lipo surgery,’ Dr Somia explains. ‘Final results are usually seen at six to 12 weeks post-procedure, once all swelling has gone.’
The benefits of Vaser Lipo
Dr Patrick Briggs, a plastic surgeon from Perth, also uses Vaser Lipo and believes it achieves more consistent and effective results than other systems on the market.
‘There have been many changes in liposuction over the years, including different techniques and the introduction of various cannulas,’ Dr Briggs explains. ‘But the perennial problems remained: loose skin, wavy results, lumps and bumps, and irregularities in fat deposition. Thankfully, Vaser Lipo seems to have done away with the vast majority of these problems.’
Dr Briggs explains that the Vaser Lipo system has revolutionised the way ultrasound is used alongside liposuction.
‘While other machines have used ultrasound in conjunction with liposuction in the past, Vaser has changed this process,’ he says. ‘With Vaser, ultrasound is performed first to emulsify the fat, and this is followed by suctioning. I have found this enhances the predictability and quality of fat reduction results. Other systems perform emulsification and suction at the same time and this, in my view, holds a level of unpredictability.’
As with all body contouring procedures, Vaser Lipo should not be considered an alternative to weight loss, and is best suited to patients hoping to optimise the results of a healthy exercise and dietary regime.
‘Patient selection in liposuction is critical, and appropriate patient selection will lead to good if not excellent results,’ Dr Briggs explains. ‘All in all, I’m a big fan of Vaser Lipo. I have been performing liposuction for so long, with so many different techniques (with mixed results), so the predictability and consistency of the Vaser has really changed the ball game for me. I look forward to liposuction cases, knowing the kind of results that can be achieved with Vaser Lipo.’