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Q & A: What do I need to consider before vaser liposuction?

Plastic surgery belly and legs isolated
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Reader question:

I’m considering getting vaser liposuction to remove some stubborn fat around my stomach. My friend recommended this procedure to me, but I don’t really understand what it is. I’ve never had plastic surgery and I’m not really sure how to go about it or what things I need to consider before I have the procedure. Can you please give me some advice?


Dr Daniel LanzerCosmetic surgeon response:

Dr Daniel Lanzer, MB BS (HONS) FACD, Specialist Dermatologist – Australasian College of Dermatology FACD, Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery (AAFPS), Cosmetic Laser & Liposuction Surgeon at Monash University, Member of American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) & Fellow of Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS)

What is vaser liposuction?

Vaser liposuction is a procedure which is used to change the contours and shape of the body by removing persistent fat deposits. Vaser stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance. It is a specialised ultrasound technology used to break down fat cells by sending out ultrasonic frequency waves. Once the fat cells have been broken down, the cosmetic surgeon is able to remove excess fat through a suction process (the liposuction part of the procedure). The ultrasound technology used during a vaser liposuction procedure comes with certain benefits, compared to traditional liposuction procedures.

Vaser liposuction is a purely cosmetic procedure, it does not remove the visceral fat which is wrapped around your body organs and increases your risk for various diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Who is a suitable candidate for vaser liposuction?

  • Vaser liposuction is a procedure that is suitable for both men and women.
  • They must already be their target weight and have a healthy lifestyle. If they don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle after their liposuction procedure, they will not get the desired results. Vaser liposuction will not help you lose weight or keep it off.
  • They must be prepared to continue a healthy lifestyle via diet and exercise post the procedure.
  • They have comparatively durable skin tone and be in good health.
  • Suitable for those that would like to:
    • lose a few inches around their thighs, waist, hips or waist
    • tighten loose skin following natural weight loss
    • add some definition without weight loss.

Who should not have vaser liposuction?

  • If the individual is not healthy, they may be at greater risks for vaser liposuction complications compared to a healthy person. For example, there is a higher risk of surgical complications if they have a previous medical history of cardiac arrhythmias, immunodeficiency disorders, excessive bleeding, seizure disorders or a substantial history of or pulmonary emboli (blood clots of the lungs) or deep vein thrombosis (blood clots of the legs).
  • Taking certain medications may increase the risk of bleeding such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, or anticoagulants such as Coumadin (warfarin). In these situations, vaser liposuction is not a safe option.
  • Taking medications that impede the metabolism of lidocaine, the local anaesthetic used in this procedure, also increases risks unless the individual can stop use of this medication at least two weeks prior to surgery.
  • Vaser liposuction is not a proven solution for obesity. The patient will be disappointed if they expect vaser liposuction to be an effective means of removing a large amount of weight permanently.
  • Those that do not have good skin elasticity are not suitable candidates for this surgery.  However, some patients with poor skin elasticity are happy with the results even with the slightly wrinkled look of the skin.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women cannot have the surgery.

What happens before the vaser liposuction procedure?

Think carefully about whether you want to have this procedure and talk about it with friends and family. If you decide you want to go ahead, then search for an experienced surgeon, check their credentials and schedule a consultation with them. It is not a commitment for surgery, and gives the patient an opportunity to get advice and ask questions.

Be prepared for the financial commitment. Generally, the cost of this surgery alone is around $7,000 and there are no rebates available from Medicare or private health insurance. There will be additional costs such as medications, massage plus the recovery time off of work. Be aware that surgery overseas may be dangerous and end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

On the day of your appointment, be prepared with any questions or concerns. Talk about where you want to have vaser liposuction, what you would like to achieve, how the procedure is performed, how to look after yourself afterwards and the risks involved. Take a list of medications you are taking and your medical history and ask if you are a suitable candidate.

What happens during the vaser liposuction procedure?

Vaser liposuction may be carried out under general anaesthetic or conscious sedation, which is safer than general anaesthetic in most cases. The use of a suction process to remove the fat means that patients can expect some side effects after the procedure.

The best candidates for this procedure will have great skin tone and solid muscle bulk that may be felt when toning.

Vaser Liposuction Dr Lanzer - before and after

Image courtesy of Dr Lanzer

What happens after the vaser liposuction procedure?

For most patients, the skin tends to tighten shortly after the procedure. Therefore, patients can expect to see some results over a short period of time, generally after 6 weeks. However, it’s important to remember that the best results can be seen several months after the procedure, because the body needs a significant amount of time to heal. In some cases it may take up to 6 months, and results can differ.

You can expect reasonable pain and discomfort, typically requiring 4-7 days off work. You will also need to wear a compression garment for 6 weeks.

The follow-up care will also require systematic lymphatic drainage massage within the first 2 weeks.

How does vaser liposuction compare to traditional liposuction procedures?

One of the major benefits of vaser liposuction compared to traditional liposuction methods, is the minimal amount of damage to surrounding tissues. Vaser liposuction uses a smaller incision and soundwaves to liquefy the fat before it is removed from the body. Liquefying the fat has the potential to increase the accuracy of the procedure and make the fat easier to remove. In addition to that, it could also minimise the damage inflicted upon surrounding tissues.

Fat cells removed during a vaser liposuction are specifically targeted which allows the surgeon to provide the patient with a smoother and a more sculpted end result. During the procedure, the surgeon is able to highlight and define certain muscles, which give the patient a more noticeable result. The procedure can also tighten the skin and target cellulite, since a combination of ultrasound and laser techniques can be implemented during the procedure.

What are the risks of vaser liposuction?

While vaser techniques have some benefits over older procedures, they are forms of surgery that come with risks. These risks include unsatisfactory results from the procedure and risks to your health. It’s important to consider these and weigh them up against the benefits you expect, when making a decision about whether or not vaser is right for you.

Unsatisfactory results are those you are not happy with. It’s important to remember that you’re unlikely to get good results if you do not maintain a healthy lifestyle. And there is a risk that the changes the surgeon makes to your body will not be the changes you wanted. Mistakes do happen and they’re more likely if the surgeon is inexperienced or minimally qualified.

There are also health risks to consider which can be very serious. For example, there is a risk of infection, serious bleeding or swelling after the surgery. Be sure to discuss the full range of possible risks before you make a decision to undergo vaser liposuction.

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Posted On: 12 October, 2016
Modified On: 13 November, 2018


Created by: myVMC