Expert Doctor

Vaser Liposuction: Procedure, Cost & What to Expect

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Daniel Mills, MD

Laguna Beach, CA

Vaser Lipo

What is Vaser Liposuction?

Vaser liposuction is an ultrasonic assisted liposuction that is used to remove pockets of fat on the abdomen, flanks, back, ankles, knees, neck and other hard to reach areas. This ultrasonic assisted liposuction uses sound waves to loosen fat cells prior to removing them with liposuction. Vaser lipo is recognized as a gentler procedure than traditional liposuction since the heat from the device essentially melts the fat for easier removal. The heat also provides some tightening of the skin since it heats the dermis from underneath. Better constriction of the skin provides a smoother, more rejuvenated appearance. While Vaser lipo is designed to loosen and remove damaged fat cells, it also protects and preserves the surrounding tissue which makes healing quicker and easier.

Am I a Good Candidate for Vaser Lipo?

GOOD CANDIDATES for Vaser lipo are:

  • Patients with stubborn areas of fat resistant to diet and exercise
  • Men and women within 30% of their ideal body weight who want a better contour of the body
  • Patients at a stable weight or those who intend to lose more weight after the procedure
  • Any patient wanting liposuction in a more fibrous area such as the back, love handles or a region with a scar
  • Patients who have good skin elasticity and muscle tone
  • Patients that want to etch their abdominal tissue or increase the definition of their abs 

The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for Vaser lipo:

  • Patients who are overweight or obese
  • Any patient with excessively loose or sagging skin
  • Patients still trying to lose weight since losing weight prior to liposuction can cause waviness with the results

How is Vaser Liposuction Performed?

Vaser lipo is an outpatient procedure where the surgeon makes small incisions before a tumescent solution is infiltrated into the treatment area. The solution is a mixture of saline, epinephrine and lidocaine. The saline enlarges the region to help separate the fat from the skin while the lidocaine numbs the region and the epinephrine constricts the blood vessels for less bruising and bleeding.

The surgeon inserts the ultrasonic probe into the fatty tissue through the incisions. The high frequency ultrasound vibrates to gently disengage and loosen the fat cells in order to break them apart. The surrounding blood vessels, tissue and nerves are left unharmed. Once the fat cells are emulsified with the tumescent fluid, a cannula is inserted into the incision. The emulsified fat cells and tumescent fluid is then suctioned out through the holes in the cannula. Sutures are often not needed to close the wound since the incisions are so small. However, bandages or surgical dressing will be applied to the treatment area.

Alternative Treatments

An alternative liposuction procedure is tumescent liposuction. This is the most common type of liposuction and is performed in much the same manner as Vaser lipo but without the heat from the ultrasonic device. The fat cells are broken apart with the solution and the movement of the blunt cannula.

High-definition abdominal lipo etching with laser uses liposuction to remove and sculpt fatty tissue that is located under the skin of the patient. The surgeon marks the flexed abs of the patient. Then, small incisions are made in the natural contours of the abdomen area. The fat can either be removed, rearranged or thinned in order to accentuate the appearance of the abdomen (rectus) muscles and also the line running down the center of the abdomen (the linea alba). The final results give the permanent appearance of more defined and contoured abdomen muscles with the “ripple” of the muscles appearing to be right below the surface of the skin.

What is the Cost of Vaser Liposuction?

The cost of Vaser lipo depends on the amount of areas that need treatment and the amount of fat to be removed.  For example, the love handles and the inner thighs are considered to be one area each. The cost of Vaser lipo is usually between $2500 and $3500 per area but it can be higher for abdominal etching. This cost may increase depending on the type of anesthesia used, any surgeon’s fees and the geographic location of the procedure.

Recovery and Downtime

RECOVERY after Vaser liposuction is quicker and easier than other liposuction techniques and takes about 3 to 4 days. Vaser lipo does not affect the surrounding tissue. Therefore, this type of liposuction results in less bleeding, bruising, swelling and pain and has a faster healing time.

Patients can expect some degree of post-surgical discomfort which can be managed with pain medications. However, some of the lidocaine absorbed by the tissue will help reduce post-surgical pain. Minor bleeding, bruising and swelling is common but should subside over the first 7 to 14 days. Swelling can persist for up to 3 weeks. The patient will be fitted with a compression garment to minimize swelling and pain and to support the tissue as it contracts. This garment will be worn 24 hours a day for the first 2 to 4 weeks. Small drainage tubes may temporarily protrude from the incision site. These tubes allow blood and fluid to expel from the surgical site while preventing fluid accumulation from occurring under the skin.

Patients should try to remain calm while healing since an increase in blood pressure can cause further bleeding. Numbness may occur within the treatment area but will subside on its own. Patients can generally return to light duty work in just a few days. Exercise can begin after one week of DOWNTIME but should start gradually and work into a more rigorous routine. Patients should avoid intense or strenuous activity for approximately 3 weeks.


Vaser liposuction is considered a less invasive procedure than traditional liposuction since it allows the surgeon to have better control. Therefore, the patient can usually expect smoother and better contoured results. The results will continue to improve over the next few months as the heat from the ultrasound stimulates collagen production and tightens the skin. At one month post-op, patients should be able to see about 70% of the expected outcome. Final results can be seen at about 3 months. To preserve the results, patients must maintain a proper diet and exercise routine as well as remain at a stable weight. While Vaser lipo removes the damaged fat cells (which can never return), existing fat cells can grow in capacity and void the results. Furthermore, gaining weight after Vaser lipo can result in lumpiness.

Limitations of Vaser Lipo

The limitations of Vaser lipo include:

  • The amount of fat that can be removed during one procedure
  • The amount of skin tightening which can occur
  • Vaser lipo only removes fat so a patient with saggy skin, prior to liposuction, will have even more loose skin after the fat is removed

Risks of Vaser Lipo

The risks involved with Vaser lipo include:

  • Asymmetry
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness
  • Internal scarring which can cause some waviness
  • Burn or injury to the skin or deeper tissues
  • Nerve damage
  • Lidocaine toxicity
  • Skin discoloration from the heat

Choosing the Correct Liposuction Technique

Since there are numerous techniques for liposuction, it is important to consider each option before making a final decision. Each type of liposuction technique has certain advantages and disadvantages. Smoother results, and a shorter recovery time, make Vaser lipo an ideal choice for those looking for quick results due to a busy lifestyle.

Consult With A Doctor

Patients should speak to a board-certified doctor, who specializes in various liposuction procedures, to decide if Vaser lipo is the best option for them. Find a doctor near you and schedule a consultation.

Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- MA

Based on an exclusive interview provided by Dr. Daniel Mills in Laguna Beach, CA.