Shape Shifter

Can ultrasound waves and a balloon make all the difference to give you the ultimate body?  We talk to international plastic surgeons, Dr Roberto Viel, and his twin brother, Dr Maurizio Viel about how they’ve helped changed the curves of the liposuction landscape over the last 5 years.

The ‘Muffin Tops’

There are few of us, both women and men, who don’t wish our ‘muffins tops’ away– the overhang of fat that spills over our favourite jeans.  We stand in front of the mirror, suck in our tummies, and say over and over again, if only. The frustrating truth for many as we get older is that our ‘muffin tops’ and ‘saddle bags’ – stubborn fat under the buttocks, inner and outer thighs, seem to concrete themselves on top of our hips and tummy area even though we attempt diets and exercise.  Dr Maurizio Viel and Dr Roberto Viel explain their unique technique of counteracting these wanted curves using the VASER Liposuction machine.

UN-VIEL the new you

Dr Roberto Viel and Dr Maurizio Viel, of the London Centre of Aesthetic Surgery Gulf, based in Dubai Healthcare City, were the first to introduce the VASER Liposelection to London and Europe five years ago with astonishing success.

Their Harley Street clinic in London, established in 1990, is a magnet for the rich and famous, dropping in for their favourite cosmetic procedures; and their influential Middle Eastern cliental encouraged the twins to consider another cosmetic hub in Dubai.  Luckily for us, they came to Dubai and were smitten with the city; they now bring with them their expertise and technology to the Gulf to carve more aesthetically pleasing curves.

The brothers, the artists behind their tools have such a strong sense of aesthetics that this is carried through the décor of their Dubai clinic, and dress sense.  Maybe it is in their Italian blood to be beautifully suited up at all times or in their twin genes, nevertheless, the whole effect and experience is aesthetically pleasing.

Old School

Until the arrival of ultrasound, traditional liposuction methods involved a clumsy metal tube inserted aggressively to remove the fat creating ‘tunnels’. As some of the older techniques lacked accuracy, everything surrounding the area of fat, like blood vessels and skin tissue, is damaged causing more, bleeding, bruising and pain, leading to a greater downtime; and if the surgeon, using the more traditional methods, operates too superficially (near the skin), the patient finds results with the rippling effect rather than a smooth result.

Fast forward

So what is available in the market these days?  Research shows that the best results in the market come from ultrasound machines, and the top of the range is the VASER Liposelection machine from the US.

What makes this machine so different and unique?  In those concrete fat areas, the fat cells have few receptors, and they are the last place the body will seek energy from so a combination of diet and exercise cannot remove them.   The VASER Liposelection uses ultrasound waves pitched at a frequency to only target fat cells, so when the probe is inserted it literally ‘melts’ the fat on contact, but leaves all blood vessels and skin tissue in tact. The end result is that the patient experiences less pain, less bruising and face less downtime suitable for those on a tight schedule.

Even better is the incisions are only 1cm long; for example, to tackle the tummy area, the incisions are made just under your bikini line so there are no visible scars unlike the tummy tuck.  The tummy tuck, which is a different procedure altogether, requires the surgeon to make a caesarian type incision, cut the excess skin, and possibly tighten the muscles to tuck it all away.  Therefore, if the Viel brothers decide you are their candidate for liposuction, you can feel relieved that the tummy tuck is not always required as the machine’s unique heating technique can help the skin shrink leaving little or no excess skin after the liposelection procedure.

Mummy Tummy vs the Six Pack

Dr Maurizio says ‘the two biggest demographics we see are mums who have finished having children or men who have piled on the pounds with age and not physically able to shift these fat pockets despite exercise’.

Many women and men are under the impression there is a long recovery period and the operations are carried out under general anaesthesia.  However, patients, especially the ‘mummy brigade’ are pleasantly surprised to find that liposuction with the Viels, is a day procedure carried out under sedation (midpoint between local and general anaesthesia), and they are able to walk out of Dr Roberto and Dr Maurizio’s day hospital that same day just a few hours later. However, if you mums are desperate for some time out, you can use the procedure as a ‘sick note’ off the children’s homework for a night or two.  More importantly, mums with especially young children, find that they are physically able to be with their kids, despite being a little tender and sore.  Dr Roberto says ‘it is important for these mums to maintain their independence so the VASER Liposelection offers them a practical solution.’

The other demographic group that is growing at an exponential rate is men who are turning to liposuction to regain their youthful bodies.  Dr Roberto explains that ‘many men find it tough to lose these pockets especially in the flanks (the lower back), the ‘man boobs’, and their abdomen area but after the procedure the men are encouraged to maintain their physiques and change their lifestyles.’ One of their patients describing his experience said ‘it was great to go the gym, do a few sit ups, and see the results so quickly.  I can’t help sometimes looking over at the other men who are struggling with their beer bellies at the gym and feeling a bit satisfied with my ‘cheat’ technique’.

More than a saddlebag? 

Liposuction, is not without limitations in some cases, as it is designed to remove pockets of fat. There are patients who are considered too large to be operated on, as there are strict guidelines for the amount of fat that can be removed without endangering the patient.  Dr Viels’ clinic, in Dubai Healthcare City, offers help by putting together an experienced team to tackle the issue.

The Viel brothers have, therefore, partnered up with a team of personal trainers and nutritionists to provide their patients with a holistic solution.  The team of female and male personal trainers, offer such personal service that they will come to your house just to get you exercising.   The nutritionists will offer a 5 to 10 week program of your choice, and work to tailor an eating program according to the doctors, personal trainers, and nutritional requirements.  After the patient has worked to lose the required weight, Dr Viel, does the final reshaping removing the stubborn fat areas to create a new silhouette.

Aesthetically ‘healthily shaped only’?

Dubai has certainly been lacking in the holistic care of plastic surgeon patients, and we see that the twins are here to raise the standards.  Dr Maurizio and Dr Roberto stress to their liposuction patients that they will help transform them aesthetically but the patients have to try to work with them from inside out.  So no more fast foods and soft drinks?  Dr Maurizio says, ‘plastic surgeons can only do so much, and it is important that the patient tries to change their eating and exercise habits.  Everything in moderation is key.  It is what is on the inside that will help preserve our youth.’

Dubai Healthcare City

Dr Roberto Viel and Dr Maurizio Viel tell us that they chose Dubai because of their love of Middle Eastern culture, the vibe and energy of the city.  But more importantly, they also chose Dubai for its Healthcare City. The medical hub has international standards matching to those in the US and Europe for patient care; all doctors and surgeons must have Western European, North American, Australian licenses to apply to practice in Healthcare City.  It was important for the brothers to work in an environment that their patients could feel safe and comfortable.  Dr Roberto says, ‘trust from a patient is hard to earn and must never be taken for granted.’ 

Whether it is an option for everyone that remains to be seen.  However, for those of us desperate to remove those heavily concreted saddlebags and muffin tops, the brothers are offering something realistic and practical for the new time starved generation.