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VASER and how ultrasound reduces fat

Reviewed by Marta August 9, 2013 7 Comments

I recently went to the office of Dr. Sharon Giese in NYC for a demonstration of ultrasound for fat reduction called VASER. Since I am a big fan of ultrasound for firming the skin and recently launched Ultra Renew Sculpt for body shaping, I was interested to see how professional grade machines would work. Along the way, I also learned something surprising about marionette lines.

First, some background on VASER. There are two technologies, VASERshape and VASERlipo. VASERshape is a non-invasive, massage-like treatment that uses ultrasound delivered via a hand-held device. Sessions last about 45 minutes and the esthetician’s job is to keep the device moving across the skin as it does get quite warm (but not uncomfortably hot). Three to five weekly sessions are needed and, judging from the before and after pictures of Dr. Giese’s clients, it seems to work pretty well on flabby tummies and cellulite.

According to VASER, ultrasound breaks apart fat, while leaving other cells intact. The VASERshape uses 1Mhz ultrasound and reaches about 45 degrees Celsius. The superiority of ultrasound (per VASER) is that laser “bounces,” radio frequency is “absorbed” by surrounding cells, but ultrasound goes straight through by superficially heating the surface of the skin and then shaking the membrane of fat cells to release lipids.

VASERlipo updates liposuction treatments, which have been around forever, to something more advanced and, specifically, precise. Ultrasound is tuned to “preserve connective tissue and maintain fat-cell viability.” The probes are sensitive and the precision (compared to older approaches to liposuction) allows for a much lower revision rate (less than 11%).

Dr. Giese says that ultrasound has pushed the range of treatment, allowing her to treat larger areas and obtain higher definition. Then she showed me some impressive before and after pictures (obviously, Lipo’s results are more dramatic than the non-invasive Shape). I asked if Dr. Giese had ever used either treatment on the face, and this is where she dropped her bombshell.

Dr. Giese uses fat removal for marionette lines. What! I would have thought that marionette lines were due to loss of fat and resulting sagging and that the appropriate treatment is to use hyaluronic fillers. But no, in many cases, it can be that the accumulation of fat around the jowl, pulls the skin down. Dr. Giese believes that it doesn’t just droop, but the fat continues to grow as we get older. To fill the cheeks is, in her opinion, the result of misdiagnosis. And, of course, the ultrasound gives her a method of very precise removal of jowl fat.

I was at first surprised, but her approach seems to make sense. I love having my assumptions challenged and learning something new.

  • August 17, 2013

    by Cynthia

    Thank you very much for the link, Marta! :-)

  • August 16, 2013

    by Marta

    You can look up a local doctor on the Vaser site: http://www.vaser.com/consumer/find-a-doctor

  • August 16, 2013

    by Cynthia

    TY so much for the quick response, Marta and the info. Is Vaser only available in NYC? I live on the opposite coast so I'd have to figure in travel costs, but it really does seem pretty reasonable for both methods! I'm not in a position to have it done at present, but will actually be in NYC later this fall when my hubby runs the NY Marathon; so it might be worth setting up a consultation appointment! Who knows, maybe I will have hit the lottery by then! :-)

  • August 14, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Cynthia
    The cost is going depend on where you are. In NYC, the VASERLipo costs about $5-6K, VASERshape may cost in the region of $3K for a package of 3-5 sessions.

  • August 14, 2013

    by Cynthia

    TY for all of your hard work, Marta; great article and research! I had never heard of this new technique and while I've dreamed of liposuction for my lower tummy that has sagged due to age, having a child 27 years ago and the stupid weight gain, weight loss yo-yoing I've been plagued with for years (about 10lbs over and over) I've been left with a tummy I don't like! I've never had the money to afford Lipo, and to be completely honest it has scared the heck out of me because of shows exposing mistakes that have left women unable to walk due to muscle, ligament and tendon damage. Besides, all surgeries have risks and I've had to have many due to a chronic illness that has left me disabled; but that doesn't mean that I don't want to take care of myself and look as young as possible, even if I don't get out of the house much anymore except for doctor appointments! Both methods you describe above are really intriguing to me; can you give me an idea what the average costs would be for the VASER Shape and/or VASER Lipo? Thanks in advance, Marta! :-)

  • August 13, 2013

    by Naheed

    Thanks Marta for wonderful, informative article. I was wondering would it work for removal of under eye bags?

  • August 12, 2013

    by Naheed

    Thanks Marta for informative article. Very interesting to know about Marionette line and fat removal. I can be a candidate for that. You learn something new every day, that's why I love TIA.

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