When you absolutely, positively have to get rid of that bulge without surgery, VASER® Shape offers a comfortable new option. BITB asked Century City Plastic Surgeon Peter B. Fodor for his views on the growing category of non-invasive body shaping. “To think of it simplistically, there are two kinds of body sculpting procedures now,” said Dr. Fodor. “The non invasive ones are where no skin incision is made. These are divided into those that are energy based (as in radiofrequency or ultrasound and variations of these), and those that are injection based (like fat dissolving injections). The second category consists of more invasive techniques, including traditional liposculpture, VASER®, SmartLipo™, and the selection of other laser lipolysis systems on the market.”
At the present time, Dr. Fodor explained, there are two fat dissolving injection therapies under investigation that are based on sodium deoxycholate from Kythera® and Lithera. The Kythera® ATX-101 is being studied for the submental (under the neck) region and is in Phase III in the U.S.A. Unfortunately, these drugs are still undergoing the FDA approval process and it is hard to predict how long before American doctors will be able to use them.
In the invasive category, according to Dr. Fodor, a recent survey of board certified plastic surgeons revealed that only 3.9% of those who participated are currently using Laser Lipolysis. Power-Assisted-Lipoplasty (PAL) and VASER® (VAL) remain quite popular among plastic surgeons and other aesthetic physicians. He was an early adopter, clinical developer, and a huge proponent of VASER®, which uses ultrasound delivered internally via a solid probe with grooves that makes it safer than other ultrasound based liposuction techniques. Currently “Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance” or VASER® is widely considered to be a very effective liposuction method for reducing fatty deposits. VASER®, also known as Vaser Assisted Lipoplasty (VAL), uses reduced levels of ultrasonic power to fragment fat cells. The second part of the process is to evacuate those loosened fat cells through liposuction. On the other hand, as Dr. Fodor explained, “VASER® Shape is completely non-surgical and non-invasive.”
A new approach combines ultrasound and massage therapy to non-surgically remove fatty tissue underneath the skin. With this technology, you can literally go to sleep while your fat is being liquefied. Using high frequency energy waves to generate localized heat beneath the surface of the skin. VASER® Shape has a unique handpiece that delivers two overlapping beams of ultrasound energy. With some other non-invasive energy based fat reducing options, such as with Coolscupting by Zeltiq, excessive cold is applied directly to the skin itself and also eventually penetrates to the targeted fat. The process can be uncomfortable, not only during the treatment, but afterwards. “With VASER Shape there are two heads in the same treatment piece that are positioned at an angle so that energy emitted converges at a distance from the contact of the heads to the skin and on the subcutaneous fat targeting it for a thickness of 4 cm. There is no injury to the skin’s surface, no discomfort and no chance for burns,” said Dr. Fodor.
“With stronger ultrasound energy devices such as the recently launched Liposonix® system, and the UltraShape® device, which is not FDA cleared yet, the treatments are also more uncomfortable.” The VASER® Shape treatment takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the areas. By moving the handpiece over your body in a circular fashion, one treats a tissue layer that is 1 to 5 centimeters below the surface of the skin. VASER® Shape targets ultrasonic energy below the surface of your skin so there is no pain – just a warming sensation that some people equate to a hot stone massage. After the treatment, you may have some minor redness on the skin, but no other side effects have been reported.
All of the energy devices do the same thing – they generate heat. But what if too much heat is delivered? Patients ask and are wary of laser-based techniques because they have read about the potential for skin burns, sloughs, irregularities and so on. Dr. Fodor advised, “Stay away from laser for invasive body contouring procedures because the margin for error is very small and complications often occur.”
VASER® Shape is intended for contour improvements and is touted to smooth, firm and shape the body and also at least temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. What it won’t do is make you skinny. “It is essential to understand that for the foreseeable future, non-invasive approaches do not replace surgical liposuction for all comers. In my way of thinking, there is a place for both invasive and non-invasive techniques. Even if non-invasive procedures do not produce as impressive results, some patients prefer them because they do not want to undergo surgery and will instead accept having multiple non-invasive treatments, as long as they are getting visible results. It is most important to separate science from all the marketing hype; the wheat from the chaff,” said Dr. Fodor.