What is VASER contouring?
VASER is a form of body contouring (also known as body sculpting or liposuction) which is used to selectively remove excess fat and help create a desired body shape.
As with all forms of liposuction, VASER involves fat being surgically removed from areas where it is difficult to shift through diet and exercise alone. Typical ‘stubborn’ areas for fat include the stomach, thighs, hips (love handles), bottom, arms, knees and neck, as well as ‘man boobs’ in men. VASER is a targeted technique which gives surgeons a highly accurate way of removing fat, allowing them to sculpt around muscles and create a defined look.
The treatment is popular with both women and men as it can help sculpt curves into an hourglass figure or highlight muscle definition, giving the appearance of toned abs, a six-pack or pecs.
Developed in 1998 in the USA, VASER stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance. It is a form of ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL) which focuses ultrasonic waves on areas of fat using a probe. This liquefies the fat, making it easy to remove, while protecting other parts of the body from the ultrasonic waves.
Unlike traditional liposuction techniques, which can only extract fat from the middle of the fat layer, VASER can be used across the full fat layer. The technology uses ultrasonic frequencies which are specifically targeted at shaking loose fat cells. Once dislodged, these can be suctioned out of the body. Because VASER targets fat while protecting the skin and muscle layer, it can be used to shape closely around muscles. It can also be used to treat small, sensitive areas such as the face and neck.
What about VASER Mid-Def, Hi-Def and VASER 4D?
Since the basic VASER technique was created, the technology has developed bringing more accurate and intensive treatments.
VASER Mid-Def, Hi-Def and 4D are more intensive levels of VASER treatment which remove fat right next to the muscle layer. Mid-Def is often used to create shape while still maintaining a softer silhouette. It can be used, for example, to highlight the vertical lines around toned abs without going as far as giving you a clear six-pack. This is ideal for people wanting to look more toned but who wouldn’t suit a really sporty appearance.
VASER 4D and Hi-Def are the most intensive treatments which give much sharper results. They are generally only used by those wanting a gym-honed look, for example, a clearly-defined six-pack or pecs. A surgeon will normally only recommend Hi-Def for people who already have an athletic physique but who want stubborn areas of fat treated.
What is getting VASER contouring like?
Unlike traditional liposuction techniques, VASER treatment can be carried out under local anaesthetic and normally does not require a hospital stay. Additional sedation medication may available for people feeling very anxious about the procedure, but this is normally at extra cost.
The surgeon will start by administering local anaesthetic and injecting the target area with a fluid which numbs and expands the fat cell area and shrinks nearby blood vessels. They will then make tiny incisions into the skin to insert the ultrasound probes.
The probes resonate at a high ultrasound frequency to dislodge the fat cells into the fluid from the surrounding tissue. The fat cells are then extracted using cannulas – thin hollow tubes – which are attached to a machine which removes the mixture through vacuum suctioning.
After the treatment is finished, the surgeon will stitch the incisions if needed, but often they are too small to require a stitch. Incisions are usually hidden in the folds of skin so as to leave no visible scars.
The treatment lasts between one to four hours, depending on the size of the area and volume of fat to be removed. Mid-Def and Hi-Def treatments can take longer and require more anaesthetic, so your surgeon may recommend you split the treatment over two sessions, two to three weeks apart.
What is the recovery time from VASER treatment?
Although the treated area will be numbed by the local anaesthetic, you may feel discomfort both during and after the procedure, so will probably need to take painkillers.
You should be able to leave the clinic on the day of your treatment, although you will need to have someone with you for 48 hours if you have been sedated. It is likely you will need to wear a compression body-stocking to encourage the skin to tighten over the treated area.
You can normally resume day-to-day tasks after 24 hours but you are advised to avoid strenuous activities, including going to the gym, for up to three weeks after the procedure. It is normal for swelling, bruising and soreness to take about two to six weeks to settle down. It is likely you will experience some pain – your surgeon should advise you on what pain relief to take.
People undergoing VASER treatment typically experience a shorter recovery time than traditional liposuction techniques, partly because it is less invasive and because a general anaesthetic is rarely required.
It is important to remember that skin has to reshape once fat is removed, so tighter skin will show the best results. People with less elastic skin may experience some sagging which may need to be dealt with by a separate cosmetic procedure.
Results should begin to show once swelling has subsided and should remain as long as you do not gain weight. It is important to realise the treatment is not a substitute for weight loss through diet and exercise and results will be better if you are in good health. Muscle definition will be clearer if you already have good muscle tone underneath the fat layer.
What are the risks and side effects of VASER treatment?
Any surgical procedure brings associated risks. These can be anything from a mild irritation, like short-term pain, to potentially life-threatening incidents, like clots or organ damage.