Liposuction Essentials: What is VASER Liposuction?
July 14, 2014
Now that we’ve covered tumescent liposuction, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about another popular name that’s associated with body contouring. When patients come in for consultations about liposuction, a lot of them want to know: what’s the deal with VASER Lipo?
Essentially, VASER Liposuction is a trademarked form of liposuction that uses ultrasonic technology. Ultrasonic liposuction uses a very particular type of crystal (known as piezoelectric crystal, to be exact) to convert electric energy into rapid vibrations (ultrasonic vibrations) and heat energy. With the help of a specialized cannula, the vibrations and the heat are used to emulsify or liquefy fat cells. After this process is complete, a suction cannula is used to remove the liquefied fat. The name VASER is simply an acronym that stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance, a fairly basic description of ultrasound-assisted liposuction technology in general.
For a while in the mid 80’s and 90’s when ultrasonic liposuction was first introduced to the market, a lot of plastic surgeons either stopped using it or refused to consider using it in the first place because of its unacceptable incidence of complications and higher associated risks. Typical complications were things like burns caused by high levels of ultrasonic energy – an absolutely unreasonable standard of patient care. It was a no-brainer. We weren’t going to use this technology until it met the highest safety standards possible. If we can’t rely on something to deliver predictable, natural results in a safe way every time, we’re happy to forget about it.
Thankfully today we have what’s known as 3rd generation ultrasound-assisted liposuction and VASER Liposuction is a member of this category. This generation of technology employs a lower level of ultrasound and was specifically engineered to eliminate the problems associated with early ultrasonic liposuction. With less energy, smaller cannulas, and better distribution of energy at the cannula tip, we are able to achieve excellent extraction where the fat cells are the ones that are disrupted instead of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues, making the process less traumatic. This is what makes ultrasound-assisted liposuction especially good for treating particular areas of the body that are more fibrous like the upper back area. That being said, it’s not always the most effective solution for every part of the body. It’s really important that we work together during the consultation process to come up with a plan that will work best for your particular needs and goals so that we can give you the best results possible.
The bottom line is, VASER Lipo is to ultrasound-assisted liposuction as Kleenex is to tissue. It’s a recognizable brand name, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing that can do the job or do the job well. Without a doubt, the only real guarantee for a job well done is a highly experienced and exceptionally skilled plastic surgeon.