“Vaser liposuction for facial contouring” by Dr. Jag Chana
by Plastic Surgeon Jag Chana
VASER liposuction is a relatively new form of liposuction which uses ultrasound energy to emulsify the fat. Following ultrasonic disruption the fat can be gently removed using a suction cannula without significant tissue trauma which means the process is very efficient, causes less discomfort with reduced bruising and provides quicker recovery times. Although VASER liposuction is used in various parts of the body the face is one area where the soft tissues are quite delicate. Since VASER liposuction is a less invasive technique it is particularly useful for facial contouring. The most common areas for facial contouring are the submental area (under the chin) and in the neck. These areas can be treated on their own or in combination with facelift and necklift surgery. Since the introduction of VASER technology the indications for its use are steadily growing as surgeons recognise the advantages of using this form of fat removal. Although VASER is widely used for fat removal in various regions of the body its advantage for facial contouring has not been generally realised.
This form of liposuction is carried out in the standard manner of injecting fluid into the fat which is called a tumescent technique. A very fine probe is then used to administer the ultrasonic energy into the fat. The fluid which is injected serves to provide the anaesthesia and also to reduce the bleeding and bruising. It also serves to absorb some of the energy from the VASER probe and evenly distribute this to the fat deposits. The fat deposits are then gently emulsified and easily removed with another fine suction cannula. This whole procedure can be carried out using a very small 4-5 mm incision in the skin crease under the chin which is very well hidden.
Who is suitable for VASER facial contouring ?
This technique is suitable for patients who have excess fat under the chin, under the jawline and neck area. In the younger age group in whom the skin laxity is good this technique can be carried out on its own without any skin removal or open surgery. In the older individuals in whom the skin laxity is poor it can be combined with face and neck lifting.
What are the advantages of VASER liposuction for facial contouring ?
The advantages of this form of fat removal is that the VASER probe targets only the fat cells and leaves the adjacent structures untouched and untraumatised. The reason for this is that the ultrasonic energy is tuned only into the fat cells and other anatomical structures cannot absorb this energy. This is in contrast to standard liposuction which relies on the traumatic aspiration of fat. As a result of this less invasive technique tissue trauma is minimised with less bruising and discomfort and enhanced recovery time.
VASER liposuction is also beneficial in terms of improving skin retraction, a feature which is particularly useful in facial rejuvenation to improve skin laxity . A study published in a leading Plastic Surgery Journal and also reported in the Huffington Post found that VASER liposuction demonstrated a 53% improvement in skin retraction per mL of aspirate removed relative to the standard method. There was also a 26% reduction in blood loss. This study involved patients who received treatment with traditional liposuction and VASER Lipo in various anatomic regions where skin retraction was measured using changes in the distance between UV tattoos placed prior to surgery and measured post surgery. This was one of the first studies published and as further VASER research articles are published it is likely that VASER liposuction will become established as one of the leading liposuction techniques.
When is VASER liposuction not suitable for facial contouring ?
In certain situations where excess fat is present under the chin and neck a direct approach to removing this fat is required. The reason for this is that the fat is present under the platysma muscle and this is too deep for a liposuction technique. In such cases the fat under the platysma is removed surgically during the procedure of a platysmaplasty which involves a longer 3 to 4cm incision being made in the crease under the chin. During this procedure not only is the fat removed but the loose platysma muscle is sewn together to eliminate neck bands and together this restores the youthful angle between the chin and the neck .