Why is it that liposuction is the fastest growing cosmetic procedure in the U.S.1?
Two facts come to mind…
1. We are infatuated with fitness. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, fitness trends are moving towards weight lifting and high intensity workouts2. So it would be safe to say that muscular, athletic looking bodies are in.
2. Advancements in liposuction technology (i.e. VASERlipo) has made the procedure safer and easier to reshape and add definition to the body.
Today, body areas treated through liposuction include:
- male breasts
- and more
One advanced liposuction technique that a growing number of cosmetic doctors use is VASERlipo, a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes ultrasonic waves to loosen fat cells prior to removal.
VASERlipo is also used as a body contouring procedure to help you achieve a more aesthetically pleasing body shape.
Comparing VASERlipo with Other Liposuction Techniques
There are many liposuction techniques available. Each techniques comes with its own risks.
This article compares VASERlipo with other techniques such as traditional liposuction, laser lipolysis, and radiofrequency liposuction techniques on the basis of their uniqueness, advantages and disadvantages, recovery time, etc. Let’s start with an overview of VASERlipo.
VASER ultrasound assisted liposuction uses specially designed probes that deliver ultrasound waves into the layer of fat to break apart fat cells while preserving other crucial body tissues intact such as blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves.
To begin the procedure, your cosmetic doctor will inject the targeted region with a special saline solution referred to as tumescent fluid. Not only does tumescent fluid numb the target area and shrink local blood vessels, but it also temporarily expands the volume of the targeted area to make fat cells easy to remove.
Then, small-diameter probes—cannulas—are inserted into your body via small incisions. By resonating at a high ultrasonic frequency, the probes literally shake loose fatty tissue — while not harming your nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. The loosened fatty tissue mixes with the tumescent fluid, which is then gently suctioned out of your body.
What makes VASER different from other techniques is its ability to selectively remove unwanted fatty cells without harming the surrounding blood vessel, nerves and connective tissue.
- It is less traumatic and less painful
- It is minimally invasive and can be delivered while you are wide awake
- It results in smooth, tighter skin
- It has minimum downtime and fast recovery periods
- It doesn’t require general anesthesia. Thus, eliminating the risks associated with it
- Results will show immediately after procedure
- The removed fat can be used for fat transfer procedures
- As a newer technology, this form of liposuction is still being adopted by cosmetic doctors
Traditional Liposuction e.g. Suction Assisted Liposuction
Traditional liposuction involves manual manipulation of the cannula — moving the cannula back and forth— to break-up the fat cells. a Some doctors however use a mechanical cannula which moves back and forth or side to side in a vibrating motion to break up the fat cells. Once mechanically loosened, the fat cells are removed via suction.
The fat loosening process is what causes most of the trauma to the blood vessels and connective tissue in traditional liposuction procedures. Many cosmetic doctors chose to use tumescent fluid to numb the targeted area while others chose general anesthesia depending on the extent of the procedure.
- It is a popular form of liposuction
- Results will show immediately after procedure
- It requires a surgical setting with general anesthesia
- Mechanical manipulation of the cannula can cause tissue and blood vessel damage
- The removed fat is not optimal for fat transfer
- More traumatic and painful
Laser Assisted Liposuction
Laser liposuction is different from other techniques in that it utilizes laser thermal energy to quickly dissolve the excess fat and cauterize the surrounding skin virtually anywhere in your body. Typically, this technique liquefies fat to make it easier to remove with the help of a suction cannula.
Laser liposuction is sold as SmartLipo, CoolLipo, SlimLipo, ProLipo, and Accusculpt.
- Destroys fat cells prior to suctioning
- Tightens skin during procedure
- Minimal downtime and fast recovery
- Laser does not reach deep into the fat layer
- Risk of damage to blood vessels and connective tissue
- Tunneling can leave irregular body contours
- Unlike VASER, fat CANNOT be used for transfer procedures
Radio Frequency Technology
Radio frequency is often associated with liposuction alternatives. Procedures that use radio frequency, such as ThermiTight, are often used in conjunction with one of the liposuction procedures mentioned above, with the objective to smooth the skin or tighten sagging skin that may be left behind by liposuction.
- It allows for tightening of skin
- Appears to have long lasting results
- As a newer technology, it is still being adopted by cosmetic doctors
You have the final word!
Every doctor has a preferred technique for liposuction depending on his or her years of experience. Be sure to ask your cosmetic doctor why he or she prefers his technique compared to others.
If your procedure is done by an experienced doctor, your risk of complications will be very low regardless of which liposuction technique is used. Be sure to take a look at before and after pictures so that you can evaluate the doctor’s artistry.
A growing number or doctors who experiment with VASER system agree that the technological advances afforded by VASERlipo ultrasound system has some advantages over laser and traditional liposuction.
Be sure to use an experienced cosmetic doctor with the required medical credentials and with the proper certifications for each of the liposuction devices used, whether they are laser, ultrasound or traditional liposuction.
Kevin Earl, MD
Kevin Earl, MD is a board certified physician and graduated from Arkansas Tech University Magna Cum Laude.
Dr. Earl specializes in non-invasive and minimally invasive anti-aging and body contouring procedures.
His practice, EARLMD in Bentonville, AR, is a patient-centered medical aesthetic practice that uses the latest technology and medical advances to rejuvenate your skin and restore your body to a more youthful appearance.