SmartLipo and Vaser are commonly described as two different forms of liposuction. But more accurately, SmartLipo and Vaser should be described as two different tools used during a liposuction procedure. These liposuction tools have many similarities, and their primary function is the same: liquefying fat so that it can be more easily suctioned from the body.
The differences in these methods is explained below.
SmartLipo is a form of laser liposuction. SmartLipo works by liquefying fat with a laser and removing the fat with cannula. In addition to liquefying fat, the laser also smooths and tightens the skin and seals blood vessels, reducing swelling, bleeding, and bruising. Because of its skin tightening effects, many liposuction surgeons always use SmartLipo and sometimes even combine it with Vaser when indicated.
During liposuction with SmartLipo, your doctor numbs the area with tumescent anesthesia, which also helps to break up the fat. The surgeon then makes a small incision where he or she inserts the tiny laser probe. The laser destroys the fat cell walls, freeing the liquid fat. The surgeon then removes the liquefied fat with a 2-3 mm cannula.
Vaser is a form of ultrasound liposuction. It uses ultrasonic energy, rather than a laser, to liquefy the fat cells. The ultrasound energy disrupts the outer membranes of fat cells, which liquefies the fat. Because the Vaser only targets fat cells, liposuction with Vaser minimizes trauma to nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Most body areas are generally safe for Vaser liposuction because of this targeted action.
During liposuction with a Vaser, your doctor numbs the area with tumescent anesthesia, which also helps to break up the fat. The surgeon then makes an incision where he or she inserts the ultrasonic probe. Because the ultrasound probe gets very hot, a plastic skin port must be inserted in the skin to protect the skin from burns. This requires a much larger skin incision compared to Smartlipo. This is a major disadvantage of Vaser in the opinion of the author. The probe transmits the ultrasound waves that melt the fat. The surgeon then uses a 2-3 mm cannula to remove the liquefied fat from the body.
|Laser liposuction||Ultrasonic liposuction|
|Minimizes bleeding||Minimizes excess tissue damage|
|2 mm skin incisions||8-10 mm skin incisions (larger scars)|
|Smooths and tightens skin||No effect on excess skin|
|Less effective on dense tissue
Very effective on the chin
|Breaks through dense tissue
Cannot always be used on the chin
Although both SmartLipo and Vaser have the same purpose—liquefying fat, they use different means and also produce slightly different results—if they are used independently. In some cases, liposuction surgeons use a combination of SmartLipo and Vaser to achieve specific liposuction results that combine the benefits of both SmartLipo and Vaser.
The decision to have liposuction is highly personal. When you make your decision, remember that Smartlipo and Vaser are only a tools of the liposuction surgeon. Your liposuction results are dependent upon the experience of the liposuction surgeon, his proper use tumescent fluid/anesthesia, and his skill with the actual suction cannula. Find a liposuction doctor that understands your needs and has the right expertise to give you beautiful liposuction results whether using SmartLipo or Vaser.