Ultrasonic Liposuction Downtime

How long do you have to be out after having ultrasonic liposuction?  Is the downtime really less than with regular liposuction?

Doctor Answers 6

I've noticed that VASER Liposelection does have less downtime than traditional liposuction.

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I have used the VASER form of ultrasonic technology in my practice since early 2001, and firmly believe that the results far surpass those of traditional suctioning methods. VASER differs from traditional liposuction in that it utilizes ultrasonic energy to break up fat for removal and leave important tissues largely intact.

Traditional body contouring methods are suction based and cannot differentiate fat from nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues.

Also, VASER is so sensitive and precise that it can be used in the even the most delicate areas-such as inner thighs, arms, neck and chin. Over the 7 years I have used VASERĀ®, I have seen that my patients get smoother contouring with less bruising and swelling. Not only does it produce excellent results, but recovery time is significantly shorter and generally much less painful.

People who undergo VASERĀ® surgery are generally able to return to work a few days after surgery, and can see some results almost immediately. In contrast, traditional liposuction can have a much longer recovery process. Generally, I tell patients to count on having at least 3-4 days off of work (if they work in an office-type setting).

Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Reduced recovery may not be an ultrasonic lipo benefit

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Hi there-

The character and severity of the discomfort you experience, as well as the length of your recovery, will depend on how many areas you have treated, the amount of fat removed, and your individual pain tolerance levels....

I have tried ALL of the available liposuction options, and can tell you that I am a big fan of the VASER and its benefits for my patients- but I'm not sure reduced recovery is one of them.

I DO think that the outcome is seen sooner, and that it is the SAFEST and MOST EFFECTIVE option currently available- for more info about liposuction options, 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.

Recovery time is very subjective expected to be the same as traditional liposuction

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There are may different techniques in liposuction including standard liposuction and ultrasonic liposuction. I have used both types of liposuction and I have been performing ultrasonic liposuction since 1995. I have found no differences in recovery time or bruising with either technique. The average patient can expected 2 - 3 days of soreness and up to 7 - 10 days of restricted activity. The average patient can get back to some form of exercise within 7 days. As a guide to my patients I tell them that the job is to remove and contour the fat. The instruments and tools used to perform the procedure are incidential. It is the plastic sugeon's skill and experience that makes the ultimate difference not the instrument used.

It all depends on how much you have suctioned

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This is a good question. Recovery from liposuction is proportional to how much fat you had suctioned. If you are just having minor areas (say less than 500 cc) you are probably fine by the next day. If you are having larger volume liposuction (say 5 liters or more) you are probably out of commission for several days. However, recovery is dependent of the patient as well. If you typically get out of bed right when your alarm goes off in the morning - you will have a faster recovery than someone that hits the snooze button over and over. Likewise, if you never miss work for being "sick," then you are likely going to recover faster than someone who is constantly calling in "sick" to work. On a personal note, I had 4.5 liters of traditional power-assisted liposuction on a Friday and I went out to dinner on Saturday without a problem and I went back to work on Monday without a problem.

I hope this is helpful.

Ultrasonic Liposuction and Downtime

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It all depends on how many areas you are having addressed and how much is being removed. In general, I tell my patients that you will likely need about a week or close to it for this procedure.

Laser lipo, ultrasonic lipo both have similar downtimes as compared to traditional liposuction, contrary to what you may see or hear from advertisments.

Good luck.

About the same

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Vaser is another form of technology that is used to perform liposuction. It uses ultrasonic energy to loosen fat cells up to more easily remove them. The downtime is about the same as more traditional liposuction. It really depends upon how much fat is removed. The more fat removed,the more work, the more downtime.

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.