What is VASER Lipo?

Is VASER liposuction like regular liposuction or laser liposuction? How is it different or what makes it unique from other types of lipo?

Doctor Answers 20

VASER® LipoSelection is an effective device and useful tool in body contouring surgery.

VASER® LipoSelection was FDA approved in 2001. VASER® LipoSelection is a form of liposuction that uses ultrasonic energy in a deliberate controlled fashion to assist the surgeon in the selective removal of fat in body contouring surgery. Ultrasonic liposuction was first used in the early 90’s but fell out of favor with plastic surgeons because of increased risks and complications (such as burn wounds) due to the high level of ultrasonic energy. The VASER® is a 3rd generation ultrasound device that has been engineered to eliminate many, if not all, of these problems as it employs a low level of ultrasound. The ultrasonic energy pulses to gently break apart the fat cells with minimal collateral damage to important tissue. The VASER® is not a laser, in fact VASER stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance. The ultrasonic energy is transformed primarily to vibration energy which is transmitted to the fat cells by small probes (between two and three millimeters). The fat cells are “shaken” apart and then mixed with fluid, which is infiltrated by the surgeon at the onset of the operation. Then, small cannulas are used to suction and remove this fat/water mixture (emulsification).

Is VASER® LipoSelection a marketing gimmick or a useful tool? Simply stated, the most important part of your surgical experience is your choice of the surgeon…not the device. The experience, wisdom, skills, and talents of your surgeon are essential to all successful outcomes. Your aesthetic surgeon should be compassionate and cognizant of your individual needs.

Personally, I have been extremely satisfied with VASER®. I have safely performed LipoSelection in hundreds of patients in many different anatomical areas, including the abdomen, posterior trunk, inner and outer thighs, arms and even the face and neck. When comparing this technique to standard liposuction with or without ultrasound, it is my observation that I do see increased skin contraction and tightening. Additionally, my patients seem to have less downtime and post-operative pain. Because I can use smaller small probes and cannulas, I have noticed smoother skin surface and body contour.

Englewood Plastic Surgeon

What is VASER Lipo and how is it different?

Hi there-

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. With the amazing number of machines now available to remove your fat, there has also come a equally impressive number of providers marketing themselves as "liposuction experts" (who completed a few days of training by the salesman for the device), promising that because they use one device or another that you will achieve a superior result. This is not unlike someone saying to you that because they have 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. So please be careful. 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. You may 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. The 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, 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. 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.

Vaser Liposuction Results

VASER liposuction is an ultrasonic liposuction technology which means it uses ultrasonic energy (high-energy sound waves) to emulsify fat. Emulsification turns fat from a solid form into liquid; the liquefied fat is then aspirated using a suction cannula.

In my experience, this technique is not only more efficient at fat removal than conventional liposuction, but also more selective (i.e. it disrupts fat cells but not blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue), and as a result, it is less traumatic.

I see less swelling, less bruising and less patient discomfort postoperatively. I also see more skin and soft tissue retraction over the long term than is generally produced by conventional liposuction, which can make an enormous difference in the overall postoperative result.

Ultrasonic liposuction is also without question the ideal technology for treatment of densely fibrous areas like the back, the post-tummy tuck abdomen, the breasts (male and female) and previously suctioned areas.

Of the ultrasonic liposuction systems available today, I believe that VASER system is the most sophisticated.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews


I think the other surgeons explained what VASER is. Basically, tumescent liposuction involves injecting saline solution with epinephrine into the fat so that it doesn't bleed during fat removal. Next, a thin hollow tube called a cannula is attached to a suction source and placed into the fat to remove it, basically avulsing it, from the undersurface of the skin. VASER adds a third step - in between the infiltration of saline and the aspiration of fat, a solid ultrasonic probe is inserted into the fat. The ultrasonic energy causes the tiny air bubbles dissolved in the saline to enlarge, acting as little wedges, causing the fat to be separated from the body, basically emulsified. Then the third step, the aspiration step, removes the liquid fat rather than pull it from the body. Ultrasonic energy is tissue specific only for the fat, and does not affect the blood vessels, nerves or tissue matrix of the skin. The fat is removed very gently and with less tissue trauma. The risk of complications in experienced hands is very low.

But, as they say on TV "but don't act now..."

There is an added bonus, a big one, to VASER. About 85% of the fat is viable (alive) and can be used for grafting (transfer) to other parts of the body (buttocks, hips , face) so rather than removing "medical waste", the removed fat is now "liquid gold". I use VASER in nearly all of my abdominoplasties, and all of my liposuction cases. Fat transfer is performed in over half of those cases.

Elyse Rafal, MD
Stony Brook Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

VASER is the newest generation of ultrasonic...

VASER® is the newest generation of ultrasonic liposuction machines. With traditional liposuction, essentially a straw is used to suck out fat. With ultrasonic liposuction, ultrasonic energy is sent through that straw to melt the fat, theoretically resulting in a greater extraction, less damage to nerves and blood vessels, and better tightening of skin.

Liposelection™ is the trademarked name of liposuction done by VASER®. The implication of the term is that the ultrasound is selective for fat, sparing blood vessels and nerves. There is some evidence to suggest this occurs, but whether it actually makes a difference in the patient's result remains a matter of disagreement. This term is basically a marketing term. This way, a doctor can say something like, "I don't just do liposuction, I do Liposelection™." The company hopes that the name will catch on, and that everyone will ask for it - so that surgeons buy more machines.

Bottom line: VASER® is great. But great surgeons get great results with Lysonix (an older ultrasonic machine that I still love), and with Power Assited Liposuction and with SmartLipo and with Syringe Lipo and with standard lipo, etc, etc. The public has a love affair with anything that rhymes with LASER, and no doubt this company banked on that (after all, LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation, and there is no amplicfication by simulated emission of radiation with VASER!)

VASER's advantage over earlier forms of ultrasonic liposuction is that it achieves the melting of fat with lower energies, smaller cannulas, and a better disbursement of energy at the tip of the probe. Whether these technological advances actually result in a better outcome has never been shown, but VASER® proponents are certainly convinced of it.

You need to understand that companies are intent on selling patients and surgeons on hot sounding new technologies (just note all the ®s and ™s that you see on products these days! But the better surgeons always get the better results. With rare exceptions - perhaps a patient that needs a lot of liposuction in a fibrous area or in a revision - there is very little advantage of any form of ultrasonic liposuction over other techniques.

Steven Teitelbaum, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

VASER LipoSelection: the Latest Best Form of Ultrasonic-Assisted Lipoplasty

VASER is the latest evolution of devices using ultrasound to liquefy fat before it is removed from the body with suction.

VASER  stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance, which basically means ultrasound.  The name is catchy and sounds like LASER, which, by contrast, uses amplified light to dissolve fat.

Many of us prefer VASER because the ultrasound appears to be more highly selective in targeting and liquefying the fat, minimizing risks of injury to the blood vessels and nerves. This selectivity for liquefying the fat cells means less tearing and injury to surrounding tissue, resulting in less bleeding, bruising and pain.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Vaser liposelection

Vaser is the name of a machine that uses sound waves to break up fat.  It is used along with liposuction to make the procedure less traumatic and to give a smoother result.  It works well to reduce fat deposits and can be done with local anesthesia.

Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
Los Gatos Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Vaser Liposuction

Vaser liposuction uses ultrasound energy to break up the fat prior to suctioning. The ultrasound energy can also help the skin to shrink up after the procedure.

Robert Heck, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

A great tool for liposuction

Vaser liposuction uses ultrasound energy to disrupt the fat cells which are then suctioned out in the traditional way using cannulas. Doing this intermediate step of using the vaser probes after tumescent injection results in less bruising, swelling, and thus quicker recovery. I also find it useful to break up areas where the fat is a little tougher or more fibrous.

Elizabeth A. Kinsley, MD
Covington Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

What is VASER Lipo?

Vaser Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction, or Liposelection, specific targets fat in various regions of the body. Ultrasonic waves break up and separate fat cells for removal, while leaving vital tissues unharmed. Vaser patients typically report significantly improved shape with less pain and bruising, and therefore less downtime, than conventional liposuction. First, the area to be reshaped is treated with a tumescent saline solution that helps decrease discomfort and constrict the blood vessels to minimize blood loss and reduce bruising. Then a small probe transmits ultrasonic sound energy to break up or liquefy fat on contact while preserving other important tissues. Finally, the liquefied fat is removed with suction cannulas specifically designed to minimize trauma to surrounding structures such as nerves and blood vessels.The following areas can be treated with Vaser liposuctioning: abdomen, flanks or love handles, hips, inner and outer thighs, inner knees, anterior axillary (armpit), back, arms, male and female breasts and neck. Many patients see results immediately after the procedure, but most experience some degree of swelling so initial improvement may not be noted until 6-12 weeks postoperatively. Due to the nature of the controlled damage to the collagen by the heat generated by the Vaser ultrasound probe there may be some additional skin tightening from the collagen regeneration with a final result stabilizing in 9-12 months.

Vaser liposuction is typically performed by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in an operating room under IV sedation or general anesthesia provided by an anesthesiologist.

There is a common misconception that fat will move to other areas of the body following liposuctioning. Following Vaser liposuction a thin layer of fat is intentionally left intact to yield a smooth, more natural appearance. Should one experience weight gain or loss, it will tend to be proportionately distributed over your entire body. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercise post operatively in order to maintain the optimnal result.

Douglas L. Forman, MD
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 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.