SmartLipo vs. VASER Lipo | Donaldson Plastic Surgery

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By Dr. Michelle Sieffert |

Smart Lipo vs. VASER Lipo 

Smart Lipo vs VASER Lipo

Exploring Two Popular Liposuction Methods

Advancements in cosmetic procedures have introduced various techniques for surgical body contouring and fat removal. Two popular methods, SmartLipo and VASER Lipo, have gained significant attention when it comes to liposuction procedures. While both techniques aim to sculpt the body and remove unwanted fat, they differ in their approaches and methodologies, each offering unique patient benefits.

What Is SmartLipo? 

SmartLipo, also known as laser lipolysis, employs laser technology to liquefy fat cells before their removal. This method involves the insertion of a laser fiber under the skin, which emits energy to rupture and melt fat cells, making them easier to remove. The liquefied fat is then suctioned out through a thin cannula.

What Is VASER Lipo?

VASER Liposuction utilizes ultrasound technology to target and break down fat cells. The Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance (VASER) technique employs ultrasonic waves to emulsify fat cells while preserving other tissues such as nerves and blood vessels. The liquefied fat is subsequently removed through gentle suction.

The Core Differences Between SmartLipo & VASER Lipo

SmartLipo uses laser energy to liquefy fat cells from smaller, more delicate areas with moderate precision. VASER Lipo employs ultrasound waves to emulsify and break down fat cells from all areas of the body with a more targeted approach. Both methods can be performed under local anesthesia, but some surgeons opt for general anesthesia when using the VASER method, depending on the size and number of areas treated. 

Patient who has undergone surgical body contouring

Precision & Tissue Selectivity

  • SmartLipo: Provides moderate precision in fat removal and can have a tightening effect on the skin due to the heat produced by the laser.
  • VASER Lipo: Offers high precision, selectively targeting fat cells while preserving surrounding tissues, resulting in potentially less trauma and faster recovery.

Skin Tightening

  • SmartLipo: Due to the heat generated by the laser, it may offer some ancillary skin tightening benefits.
  • VASER Lipo: Like SmartLipo, the heat generated has a “shrink wrap” effect, resulting in tighter skin. This method can also stimulate collagen production, aiding in skin retraction and tightening, promoting a smoother appearance post-procedure.

Longevity Of Results

  • SmartLipo: The fat that is removed is permanently gone. However, because SmartLipo is reserved for smaller areas, the redistribution of fat may be more noticeably uneven if you experience post-procedure weight gain
  • VASER Lipo: While long-term weight loss is based on the patient’s lifestyle, this method permanently removes fat deposits from an area. Because this approach is more comprehensive, it makes redistribution more balanced in the event of post-procedure weight gain. 

Recovery & Downtime

  • SmartLipo: Generally involves a shorter recovery period due to the thermal energy assisting in skin tightening — 2 – 4 days.
  • VASER Lipo: Patients may experience less swelling and bruising, potentially leading to a quicker recovery — 4 – 7 days on average.

Target Areas

  • SmartLipo: Suited for smaller treatment areas and delicate regions such as the neck, arms and face.
  • VASER Lipo: Mostly used for larger body areas and can effectively treat dense or fibrous areas like the back, abdomen and thighs. However, VASER can also be used on smaller, more sensitive areas like the face, chin, arms, knees and ankles. 
Dr. Sieffert Performing VASER Lipo

Our Preferred Methods For Liposuction 

At Donaldson, our board-certified plastic surgeons utilize a combination of traditional liposuction and VASER lipo techniques to assist patients in reaching their desired outcomes. The integration of these two methods is highly advantageous as they cater to a diverse range of cases.

The power-assisted traditional liposuction excels in the removal of substantial fat deposits and effectively targets stubborn areas. On the other hand, VASERlipo stands out for its remarkable precision in contouring and its ability to address multiple areas in a single session.

We do not currently perform SmartLipo at our practice. 

We Can Help You Choose The Best Path Forward

The decision between SmartLipo and VASER Lipo can be influenced by various factors, including the targeted treatment area, desired outcome, and your unique anatomy and goals. While both offer effective methods for fat removal and body sculpting, their underlying technologies and outcomes vary. This makes a one-on-one conversation with a board-certified liposuction surgeon crucial when deciding which method is ideal for you. 


Dr. Michelle Sieffert Author Photo 2

About The Author  

Dr. Michelle Sieffert is a leading plastic surgeon, specializing in liposuction in Columbus, Ohio, along with a host of other procedures, including breast augmentation, tummy tuck surgery, rhinoplasty and more. She has helped hundreds of patients achieve incredible body contouring results through the use of both VASER and traditional liposuction methods. 

Dr. Sieffert’s commitment to staying at the forefront of advancements in the field has led her to embrace the latest techniques and technologies, ensuring that her patients receive the most cutting-edge and personalized care available. 

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