One of the most commonly asked procedures is liposuction of different areas because often, it is the way to get targeted results on a specific part and achieve a great outcome. Eunogo recently visited Dr. Shens at Shen’s Clinic in Singapore because we heard about the benefits of VASER liposuction, which appears to give effective results. We had lots of questions for Dr. Shens.
Good afternoon Dr. Shens, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about VASER Liposuction today. First of all, can you tell us the difference between regular liposuction and VASER liposuction?
Dr. Shens: Well, many people are somewhat familiar with classic liposuction, where a plastic surgeon will go in with a cannula and remove excess fat in areas where the patient wants it gone. In regular liposuction the way the fat is removed is through suction and in some cases is vibration-assisted or uses a water-jet to disperse the fat and then remove it. VASER is an acronym that stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance, which literally means we are emulsifying the fat before we are removing it with ultrasonic energy. This technology is part of the cannula we use to remove the fat. It is an extra step, but tends to allow us to remove more fat from both superficial and deep compartments plus it stimulates collagen production under the skin due to the heat, and tightens the skin. The tightening of the skin is an added benefit that you don’t get with classic liposuction. But it must be used properly, which is why training is essential.
How would you advise patients when it comes to choosing her/his surgeon?
Dr. Shens: Again, training is essential. Different doctors will have a different level of experience even if they’ve both been doing VASER liposuction for 10 years. A patient should be able to see “Before and After” photos which will show the different techniques and eventual outcomes for their patients.
We are looking at a “Before” photo of a woman in her 50s who is slim, but wanted to have some enhancement in her physique, especially on her lower back and buttock area. In the “After” photo, the woman appears to have a toned back. (Due to medical regulations in Singapore for sharing Before and After images online, photos are omitted in this article)
Yes, so even though she is slim, she wanted to see some improvement in these areas, and we were able to go in and using Vaser we were able to give her grooves in the lower back and with the skin retraction from the heat, the skin has firmed up instead of sagging where we took fat out. She has a lean and athletic look all from VASER liposuction. She looks very fit, but she is not an athlete by any means.
If you want to see a more athletic result, that is what we call a “High-Definition” result which takes years of training and a lot of work, I can show you another patient.
Is it true VASER liposuction can result in a "six pack" look?
Dr. Shens: I had a male patient who doesn’t exercise, but wanted that fit look. As we know, everyone has abdominal muscles (abs) under the fat, it's just that you have to lose the fat to get the definition. In order to get that look you have to do what’s called superficial liposuction, which is dangerous. Most machines cannot do that and it can sometimes lead to issues with loose skin, which patients don’t want. This here is a High Definition result and is only possible with VASER. But this is a highly skilled technique that requires training and many years of use in order to be successful.
(At this point, Dr. Shens produces three photographs. The “Before” is a patient in his 30s who does not appear athletic and has no definition in his midsection. He is not overweight, but definitely carries some excess fat around his midsection. The “After” photo is taken three weeks post VASER High Definition Liposuction. The patient in question now has a defined midsection. The third, and most interesting “After” photo is the same patient 3 months post VASER liposuction with high definition results.)
In the last photo 3 months after, is that him combining VASER with diet and exercise?
Dr. Shens: No, that’s just his skin successfully tightening to give the full result post-procedure. This is a good example of “High Definition” technique done properly. It can yield great results. I have been using this machine for 15 years, and this is all technique.
Who is a good candidate for VASER Liposuction?
Dr. Shens: Most patients can do VASER Liposuction, both male and female, as long as their BMI is below 28, meaning, they are not obese. (Calculate your BMI here.) Because, keep in mind, liposuction is not the answer to obesity. Also, if a patient has severe skin laxity due to pregnancy then this procedure is not suitable because that patient would be better off with a tummy tuck. So basically, as long as the patient is healthy and doesn’t have loose and stretched skin, we can get good results.
We’ve talked a lot about torso (midsection), but what other parts of the body are you able to define with VASER liposuction?
Dr. Shens: Thighs, buttocks, chest, and chin are all areas we commonly address. Calves are unusual, but we can treat that area with VASER. Arms are also very popular, especially when people have lost some weight and have a bit of loose skin around their tricep area. This we can successfully address with VASER liposuction.
(Dr. Shens shows a “Before” photo of a woman’s arm with sagging skin, and an “After” where the arm looks smaller)
This looks like she would have maybe needed some excess skin removal. Is the result we are seeing here only due to VASER liposuction?
Dr. Shens: Yes, this is lifting and tightening is from VASER alone. You can see it doesn’t hang like it used to, which gave her a wonderful result.
We can also use this for gynecomastia, which some people refer to as “man boobs.” Oftentimes in the past, men who had this issue would essentially have a breast reduction and end up with scars on their chest. Now we are able to use VASER liposuction to reduce their chest size and allow for the skin tightening and retraction and there is no excision (cutting out) of the skin. The entry point is a small incision spot just on the outside of the areola (nipple), which allows the patients to not have noticeable scarring at all. When this VASER technique is done properly, we can really change people’s lives and give them confidence.
What percentage of your patients for VASER Liposuction are male and female?
Dr. Shens: About 20% male and 80% female.
How are the pain levels post surgery?
Dr. Shens: Essentially, the area will feel like it's bruised and tightened and definitely some soreness. When we do the areas around the chin, arms, calves, thighs, those are small areas, and you can be back to work the next day. But when we are working on the abdomen, the bruising will be more significant and I will insert a tube in the lower abdomen to drain fluid, and this will result in about 3-4 days off work prior to removing the drain.
And what is the aftercare like?
Dr. Shens: Any form of liposuction requires the patient to wear compression bandages for 3 weeks post surgery, except the chin area, which would be for about one week. This will prevent any swelling from overstretching the skin and undoing all that great work just done by the VASER to tighten. External compression will help tighten and drain any excess fluid.
You mentioned drains before when talking about the abdominal surgery. Do any other areas require drains?
Dr. Shens: No, only the abdominal area. I use drains but a lot of surgeons will leave the wound open to let it drain and leave a dressing on it to absorb the fluid. Different countries also have different standards, where they may leave the wound open (usually it is just below the pubic line) and have the patient wear adult diapers and just change them regularly. But I prefer using the drain as it is cleaner. It creates a closed system and less chances of infection.
What type of scars does this procedure leave, if any?
Dr. Shens: As I mentioned just before, for abdominal VASER liposuction the opening is just below the pubic line and heals quite quickly, and is often covered by hair and hard to see. If we are doing VASER on the back, I will go in through the upper part where the two butt cheeks meet, and essentially, you won’t be able to see this scar. The incision sites are also very very small so they heal quickly and are not very noticeable.
We’ve talked about removing the fat, but what if we want to put a little bit of it back in places where we need it? Is this an option with Vaser?
Dr. Shens: Fat transfer is quite common, and with that we will tweak the settings on the VASER so that it doesn't emulsify the fat, but merely agitates it to release the fat. Then we can suction it and re-use it for fat grafting so it is definitely possible to add it on as part of your VASER liposuction procedure.
How long will patients have to wait to see results?
Dr. Shens: Well, within one month they will see 80% results, but the optimal results will truly show within 3 months.
Is there anything else you think people should know about VASER liposuction?
Dr. Shens: We want patients to keep in mind that as long as their diet and weight is stable, these results will last them a long time. But if you have a habit of binge eating and yo-yo dieting, the fats will grow back in those areas where you are genetically predisposed to them growing back. So the key to maintaining your VASER liposuction results is discipline!
Thank you so much Dr. Shens from Shens Clinic for sharing about VASER Liposuction with us.
You can find out more about 4D Vaser Liposuction at Shens Clinic here.