How Does VASER Liposelection Affect Dark Skin and Ethnic Skin?

I am sonsidering Vaser surgery and was told there is a difference between SmartLipo and Vaser surgery, since I saw the comments of Smart/Cool Lipo on darker skink I was also curious about Vaser's effects on darker skin. All comments are welcomed and thanks in advance!

Doctor Answers 8

Vaser is an ultrasonic technique that is performed under...

Vaser is an ultrasonic technique that is performed under the skin. It should have no specific effect on your skin color any more than it would for a lighter skin patient.

A burn can happen from the heat that is generated, but it is not very common.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Skin can be harmed!

As in any injury, skin can develop post inflammatory hyper pigmentation. Vaser disrupts the fat cells breaking some apart but loosening others. It is a high energy form of liposuction. It has to be done carefully to avoid skin injury. Smart Lipo uses an unguarded laser cable to burn fat cells.if it comes in contact with skin, particularly dark skin, it will leave a mark. For me, Vaser seems the safer option in regards to skin discoloration.

Peter D. Geldner, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

VASER is safe for patients of all skin tones

VASER Lliposelection is a procedure that melts fat beneath the skin using ultrasound energy and is used for body contouring.  It also involves only very small incisions, which makes for little to no scarring once a patient has healed.

This procedure is safe for patients of all skin tones & because of the VASER technology.  Healing from this type of procedure involves less downtime & is more comfortable than more traditional methods of liposuction. However, as with any procedure the results achieved depend a great deal on the experience and skill of the surgeon you choose. Make sure you find a board certified plastic surgeon with experience using Vaser, and book a consultation to discuss the best options for your unique situation.

Scott W. Mosser, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Lipsuction, Vaser, and SmartLipo

All the above, achieve the same endpoint, body contouring by removal of fat. It is just that they remove fat in different ways.

Traditional liposuction is when the fat is essentionally extracted by forefull suction and avulsion of the fat. Vaser is an ultrasound that disrupts the fat and then removal performed by traditional liposuction. Smart lipo is a laser that melts the fat and then the fat is removed by traditional liposuction.

There is no magic with any of the instruments, there may be some more skin tightening with the smartlipo, but the verdict is still out on that.

Bottom line is not the instrument that is being performed on you, it is the operator (surgeon). So make sure that you see a board certified plastic surgeon for your procedure.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Vaser for darker skin type

I have used VASER on hundreds of patients with African American skin and Latin skin and have not seen any problems with darker skin type.  The VASER uses ultrasound energy to melt the fat under the skin. I have read about patients being burned from the heat of the sound waves if the doctor gets too close to the skin.  I have never personally burned the skin on patients using VASER.  The Smartlipo uses laser light to melt the fat, but in my experience it is not as effect as VASER.  I have personally found the laser light to only be effective on very small collections of fat, not medium to larger size collection.  I have also read a lot of reports of burns on the skin from the heat of the laser.

More importantly, I believe it is the skill and experience of the surgeon over the actual machine that is used to give you a good result.  Remember to do your homework and choose a board certified plastic surgeon experienced with VASER. 

Stanley Castor, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Is VASER safe on darker skinned patients?

Hi there-

VASER lipo uses ultrasound waves to disrupt the fat cell and make the process of removal more efficient and simple. This is not to say that the machine is so good that anyone could do it, however- you should always remember that the surgeon wielding the instrument is infinitely more important to your outcome and safety than the machine they use.

Having said that, I can tell you that in my Orlando Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Center, we do a large number of VASER procedures on patients of all skin colors (Orlando has a large latin community) with very high levels of success and patient satisfaction. There is no reason to believe you are at higher risk of any problems or potential complications because of your skin color.

For more help understanding liposuction technologies, please read this:

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.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

VASER Liposelection works VERY Well in Dark and other Ethnic skin

VASER Liposelection / Liposuction uses high frequency sound waves under the skin to disrupt fat cells. I have used it for well over 10 years in many cases and found it to work EXTREMELY well in ALL individuals REGARDLESS of their ethnic background.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Vaser on dark skin

Neither Vaser, which is 3rd generation ultrasound assisted liposuction, nor Smartlipo, which uses laser energy, should have any effect on skin color. I have years of experience using Vaser on dark skinned patients and have never had a problem. While Vaser can be used on all patients, Laser Lipo is still really only good for dealing with very small collections of fat.

Edmond A. Zingaro, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 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.