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Ultrasonic Fat Reduction: VASER Shape vs. Liposonix

Liposonix, the newest non-surgical spot reduction procedure joins VASER Shape in using ultrasound to make blast fat without going under the knife but differs in energy delivery and indications that may be treated.

As the push continues for surgical procedures to become less invasive, patients seeking body contouring no longer have to depend on surgery to get results. More procedures are receiving FDA approval for spot fat reduction and many of them are non-surgical. Liposonix joins VASER Shape, another procedure that uses ultrasound energy, in the non-surgical body contouring category.

vaser shape before after
Actual VASER Shape Results of Dr. Julene B. Samuels
5 Treatments of Trunk, 4 Treatments of Thighs
Lost 7.5" from waist, 2.6" from hips and 2" from thighs


From Sound Surgical Technologies, the manufacturers of VASER Lipo and VASER Hi-Def, VASER Shape received FDA clearance in May 2010 for spot fat reduction and reducing the appearance of cellulite. Liposonix, which is manufactured by Solta Medical, the makers of the popular aesthetic procedures Thermage and Fraxel, was FDA cleared in September 2011 for waist circumference reduction. While both depend on ultrasound energy to address unwanted fat, there are many differences that set the two apart.

How Does Liposonix Differ From VASER Shape?

According to Kentucky plastic surgeon Dr. Julene B. Samuels, "There are two different types of ultrasound technology: focused and non-focused. Focused ultrasound, such as Liposonix causes fat cells to explode by placing a direct beam over the spot fat. Non-focused ultrasound, such as VASER Shape can treat a broader area while providing skin tightening."

Dr. Samuels, who has had extensive experience with non-focused ultrasound technology such as the VASER Shape, says one of the main differences between Liposonix and VASER Shape is the amount of pain associated with the procedures. Due to the high intensity of focused ultrasound, there is discomfort during the procedure. "The greatest advantage of non-focused ultrasound such as VASER Shape, is that the procedure is completely painless. It feels like a gentle heat, similar to a hot stone message," explains Dr. Samuels, "If it ever heats up to the point that the patient gets a little uncomfortable, its not nearly the degree of the discomfort they would feel with a focused ultrasound device."
vaser shape results
Actual VASER Shape Results of Dr. Julene B. Samuels
5 Treatments of Trunk, 4 Treatments of Thighs: Lost 7.5" from waist, 2.6" from hips and 2" from thighs


One of the benefits of using ultrasound energy, either focused or non-focused, to treat fat is its ability to penetrate more deeply than other non-surgical body contouring procedures. According to Dr. Samuels, "We can penetrate to depth of six centimeters or more, even up to 10 centimeters into the body which is why ultrasound is ideal for fat reduction - it can work on muscles and deeper tissues."

Being a non focused ultrasound device, VASER Shape can address a broader area verses a focused ultrasound device such as Liposonix, in which a beam is focused to one spot on the body. "VASER Shape is a more flexible device in that you can achieve skin tightening, which is important for cellulite or for areas of loose skin and you have settings that you can use to address deeper and superficial fat," states Dr. Samuels.
vaser shape after photos
Actual VASER Shape Results of Dr. Julene B. Samuels
4 Treatments of Abdomen: Lost 4.5" from waist, 6" from hips


Another difference between VASER Shape and Liposonix is currently, Liposonix has been FDA cleared for waist circumference reduction. According to the manufacturer, the treatment typically yields a loss of 2.5 cm or 1 inch around the waist. VASER Shape, which has been approved for use for over a year before Liposonix, has been used to treat many parts of the body and is also used for cellulite reduction.

"Most people have a combination of fat, cellulite, and loose skin that they want to get rid of," states Dr. Samuels, "Some people have thin fat and some may have thick fat but VASER Shape can treat skin laxity, the appearance of cellulite, superficial fat or deep fat. In my opinion, it is more comfortable than a focused ultrasound device but not only that, it gets the same results and quickly."
vaser shape tummy
Actual VASER Shape Results of Dr. Julene B. Samuels
4 Treatments of Abdomen: Lost 4.5" from waist, 6" from hips


Dr. Samuels says the best candidate for VASER Shape is an individual who has a bit of loose skin, may have stretch marks and unwanted soft fat vs. hard fat. "VASER Shape delivers a change in circumferential measure due to tightening of the skin and softening of the fat and then slowly, the softened fat melts away," states Dr. Samuels. She recommends patients undergo a series of 4 VASER Shape sessions to get the best results.

"We just conducted a study in which we looked at data from 12 clinical sites and we looked at our data from our first 175 patients," describes Dr. Samuels, "After the first treatment, most patients lost between half an inch to 1 inch immediately. After the 4 recommended treatments, average loss was 2-3 inches in the waist, 1-2 inches in the thighs or arms. With additional treatments, weve had some patients lose an excess of 5 or 6 inches."

According to the manufacturer, after 1 Liposonix treatment, patients can expect a loss of one inch or 2.5 cm from the waist, similar to going down one dress or pant size.