VASER High Def Lipo: Side Effects and Risks

I work out a good amount and I cannot shed the tiny layers of ab fat and love handles. I'm pretty thin (8% body fat) but the 'shredded' look is extremely hard to accomplish. should I be concerned? Is there any side effects? Is there a possibility I could end up looking 'odd' like a bad drawing? I would be very upset about that. I'm torn, any tips or help would greatly be appreciated! The picture below is what they advertised as the results I can expect.

Doctor Answers 8

VASER works for improving the definition of the muscles, but the surgeon is still most critical to your outcome.

Hi there-

Just as you would never assume that simply by climbing behind the wheel of Michael Schumacher's racing car you would immediately start winning Formula 1 races, it is not reasonable to believe that just because someone has the financial wherewithal to purchase a VASER (or Smartlipo, or any other device), that they will be able to deliver the outcome you want.

First be sure you are dealing with a reputable and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Please read the following, as I think it will help you understand the pitfalls people often fall into with liposuction and the amazing number of unqualified people marketing themselves as "liposuction experts":

Tumescent liposuction, VASER Lipo, Smart Lipo, Cool lipo, Pro Lipo, Slim Lipo, Water Jet lipo...

What does this all mean? If I don't get Smart lipo does that mean I'm dumb? If my surgeon recommends Slim Lipo does that mean he/she isn't a "Pro"? It truly is a ridiculous situation we have come to with regard to liposuction and the number of people trying to cash in on America's desire to be rid of its collective fat.

In well motivated patients, body contour improvement can be a very healthy endeavor, but how is an otherwise intelligent and well-adjusted person to know the difference between a responsible provider of aesthetic services offering them safe options for help with their body contour and a poorly trained and inexperienced provider more interested in their wallet than in your outcome and safety?

It is first important to realize that all of these devices will require you to undergo a liposuction procedure. The only difference is the approach to the treatment of the fat prior to its removal.

Because they all involve liposuction, and this is in fact a surgical procedure, it is very important that you "do your homework" and find a surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery who has the years of training in liposuction necessary to give you the safe experience and superior outcome you deserve and desire. Behind the amazing number of machines now available to remove your fat, there has followed an army of their sales representatives and an equally impressive number of providers marketing themselves as "liposuction experts".

What has made them "liposuction experts"? In almost all cases, a few days or weekends training with the salesman for the device or with someone more experienced in the procedure. It is their promise that if you have the device in their possession brought to bear on your behalf, your fat will be gone, your skin will miraculously shrink away, you won't need any anesthesia because the device allows painless removal of the fat, and it can be done on your lunch hour. The only thing I am surprised by at this point is that they don't promise you'll get rich and be more sexually alluring after the procedure too.

Selling the particular device to patients is not unlike someone saying to you that because they will give you access to Tony Stewart's racing car that you will be able to win this weekend's race and make a million dollars. Tony Stewart wins races because he is a great racing car driver AND he has a great car...This is no different.

Getting the best outcome from a body contouring procedure depends most on finding a well-qualified and experienced surgeon, and much less on the device used.

Most of these people are so aggressive in their marketing of these questionable devices because they are, in fact, not trained plastic surgeons but rather are either not physicians at all, or they are doctors with core training which would not have prepared them to do liposuction. Many have read recently about a death in my home state of Florida after a healthy 40ish year old mother had liposuction performed be a rehabilitation medicine doctor. Amazingly, I know of eye doctors (!!) doing liposuction as well- and yes, they market themselves as "liposuction experts".

The particular device used can affect the overall experience, however.

Despite the claims of the manufacturer and the practitioners who plunked down the large sum the device costs, Smartlipo has never been proven to shrink skin better than tumescent liposuction. SmartLipo, SlimLipo, Prolipo, and Coolipo all use a laser to destroy the fat cells, allowing them to be removed by liposuction. My problem with these is that, first of all, as a scientist and doctor I am offended when false claims of benefit are made, and that because the lasers will burn whatever you point them at, I worry that your nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and skin may be injured by the laser.

Bottom line (and in my opinion) -- there is no benefit to these devices, they are expensive (meaning that the cost to you, the patient, will be higher as well), and the risks are higher.

Tumescent liposuction is the gold standard to which all other techniques must be compared. It has been proven to be safe and effective over many years (provided that it is performed by a well-trained surgeon). It involves the injection of a fluid into the fatty tissue layer that causes blood vessels to shrink and the fat to expand, making it easier to remove and lowering the risk of a complication.

VASER lipo involves an additional step, in which the fat (after injection of fluid but before suction is applied) is treated with ultrasound energy. Unlike the laser filaments used in SmartLipo and the other devices mentioned above, the VASER probe is blunt and the ultrasound energy it uses is much more specific for fat, so that the risk of injury to the blood vessels and nerves, as well as the muscles and skin are much lower. This is seen in the patient experience of reduced swelling and bruising.

Each time a new (revolutionary!) liposuction machine comes out, I think the most important questions to ask are not "Does it work?", but rather, "Does it work better than what is already available, is it less expensive (not more), and is it safer than what is already available?"

The VASER (in my opinion) passes this test, while the laser based devices do not.

Having said all of that, I would emphasize that it is the education, training, experience, and skill of the surgeon at the end of the liposuction device that will make the greatest difference in your outcome and safety. There is not substitute for the years of training Board Certified Plastic Surgeons receive in liposuction, directly supervised by other Board Certified Plastic Surgeons. A well trained and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon would be more than capable of achieving a better outcome through tumescent liposuction than any eye doctor with a Water Jet. As in the analogy of Tony Stewart above- a great professional with a great tool (like the VASER) would only make those results and their safety even greater.

Please know that I have no financial relationship with any of these companies and have personally tried each of the discussed technologies myself on patients.

Have a question? Ask a doctor

Vaser Liposuction

I use Vaser Liposuction and have seen some pretty amazing results. Based on your photograph I would not consider you a candidiate for plastic surgery. The risks would outweigh the benefits.  Best wishes!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Vaser hi def body contouring

Vaser hi def liposuction is a great technique for selectively removing unwanted fat and contouring areas to enhance muscle appearance. This is a highly specialized technique and requires extensive training and experience. There are many possible complications including contour irregularities and skin pigmentation changes. Make sure that your surgeon discusses these issues with you. You should confirm that they have extensive experience.

High Definition Vaser Lipo is an art. Your results depend on the skill of the artist.

The photo you have posted would make me think that you are likely a good candidate for High Def Vaser Lipo.  It is important to have a long discussion with you doctor about your expectations and what is safe and possible and the potential risks associated.  Amazing results can be achieved with right body and the artistic application of the Vaser Lipo device. 

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

VASER Hi Def lipo, side effects and risks

It sounds that you are the ideal candidate for this procedure. First of all, VASER Hi Def lipo is not the same as liposuction. A lot of surgeons and non surgeons do liposuction or just suck fat with variable results. For VASER Hi Def you need specialized training in the technique and also have an intimate knowledge of the static and dynamic muscular anatomy. VASER Hi Def lipo is for people whose BMI <30, do not have loose skin and are not massive weight loss patients. The only side effect and risk is that you have this procedure done by a surgeon who is not trained in VASER Hi Def or does not understand or respect the dynamic muscle anatomy.

Vaser hi def

This procedure, which requires extensive specialized training, uses the concept of negative and positive spaces in relation to the underlying bony and muscle anatomy. By removing the fat in certain areas, and leaving it in others, you can create an athletic looking physique. To accentuate the positive spaces, fat can be injected selectively- ie buttocks, chest.

It truly is a sculpting procedure and requires the VASER to get optimal results and skin tightening over the newly created contour.

The term liposculpture is overused, in my opinion. This technique is truly that , however. I have used all of the techniques and all of the machines out there and in MY opinion and MY hands, VASER works the best for me.

Sam M. Sukkar, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Consider VASER Super Def

Generally speaking, the best candidate for any form of liposuction is a person who is in good shape, but has a problem area that persists regardless of weight and level of physical activity. I don't think you need to worry. We perform liposuction on a regular basis and have yet to find a patient who regretted undergoing the procedure.

VASER is an excellent way to correct your problem. At Salas Plastic Surgery have taken VASER to the next level. We offer the exclusive VASER Super Def. If you liked the results you have seen with Vaser Hi Def, you would love the VASER Super Def.

The side effects of VASER are very similar to other forms of ultrasonic liposuction. They can include swelling, bruising, and some drainage, etc. However, the benefits of VASER Super Def are unmatched. This procedure not only selectively removes the fat and gives you the chiseled look, but it also greatly tightens the skin.

It is far better than regular lipo, ultrasonic lipo, Smart Lipo, Laser lipo, and VASER Hi Def.

If you need to find someone in your area who performs this procedure, please feel free to contact our office.

A. Peter Salas, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Vaser high def lipo

I perform Vaser Liposelection here in Mentor, Ohio on a regular basis and am considered one of the best at this procedure, but I have never pulled out a photo and told someone that they're going to look just like that photo. I am surprised that a board certified plastic surgeon would do this, frankly. If they are not board certified in plastic surgery and/or do not have extensive experience with high def Vaser lipo, you need to reconsider your physician of choice. It's very dangerous to promise patients that they will look like a specific photograph.

You need to have your physician, in consultation, evaluate your body, BMI, height and weight, and commitment to maintaining your physical stature, in order to achieve great, cut results. A person who takes exquisite care of himself can enjoy the high definition technique. But if you fall off the wagon, the consequences of that will become manifest, and won't be photographically represented as before. Your body will age just like anyone's, so maintaining an exercise regimen and dietary restrictions for muscle cutting will still have to be part of your program.

You ask if there's a chance you could end up looking "odd" like a bad drawing. Of course there is. You must find a skilled and experienced board certified plastic surgeon to do this procedure and make sure you examine as many sets of before/after photos as you can. While many who perform Vaser lipo are board certified in plastic surgery, there are equal numbers of medical doctors without board certification in plastic surgery who learn to do lipo over a weekend. Who do you think will do a better job?

Vaser High Def sculpting is intricate, detailed work that requires an excellent eye for balance and experience with Vaser lipo.

To your health & beauty,

Paul Vanek, MD, Cleveland area board certified plastic surgeon

Paul Vanek, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.