Vaser Shape before and after

A patient (not the writer), before and after Vaser Shape treatment. Photos Courtesy of Dr. Michael Nagy

Cosmetic surgery, in my eyes, is a totally personal thing, like fashion or fragrance. Basically, my thinking is that what works for some isn't necessarily the best and only choice for all women. Anything you want to do to your own body is OK with me, but the thought of taking that step for myself is normally beyond my desires and pain threshold.

However after having two children, the idea of a quick fix for those areas I'm less than thrilled with is becoming more appealing. So when offered the chance to try Vaser Shape, which promises noticeable results with a nonsurgical and noninvasive procedure, at Personal Enhancement Center in Toms River, N.J., well, really, how could I refuse?

Unlike a traditional body-contouring procedure like liposuction -- which I've read can be painful and give lumpy, uneven results -- this option is an entirely different proposition. Dr. Michael Nagy, one of the center's founders and a worldwide expert on the device, explains that Vaser Shape uses ultrasound energy to create heat in specific, small areas (like the abdomen, thighs and hips, and even on arms and neck).

The theory is that by warming the tissue layer a few centimeters below the surface of the skin, blood circulation will increase and fat will be redistributed. During the treatment, a doctor or trained technician passes the device's "headpiece" over the desired areas, followed by a lymphatic massage in the same place on the body.

This combination of ultrasound heat waves plus lymphatic massage is thought to help your body metabolize and drain away excess toxins and fluids. Nagy also likes to use Vaser Shape about a week after performing other body-contouring surgeries, such as tummy tucks, thigh lifts, arm lifts and liposuction, to help smooth the skin and improve results.

My experience focused on my stomach and thighs and went something like this. I put on a pair of those oh-so-lovely paper undies you wear to get a bikini wax, and got comfy in a cozy, spa-like room. My technician, Annette, applied a cool gel onto my skin and started in with the ultrasound headpiece, passing over each area a few times.

And honestly, it felt like a hot-rock massage, nothing painful or uncomfortable in the slightest. After the lymphatic massage, she measured around my abdomen and each thigh to compare before and after numbers. The outcome was pretty impressive, since I lost an inch of each section after only one treatment.

I'll have to go back for more sessions to get further results, which is a completely acceptable idea. Who could argue with a relaxing massage that also helps to tone and trim your body?

The national average cost is about $500 per area treated, and Nagy recommends a series of four treatments scheduled a week apart, so getting the results you want can run up to $2,000 to 3,000 or more.

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