Non-Invasive Body Contouring Procedures & Treatments
By Chelsea Campbell
Even when eating right and exercising, it is common to be discouraged by areas of the body that don’t seem to be responding to your weight loss efforts. Often, there are lingering areas of stubborn fat or unsightly loose skin that lacks tone. A recent surge of cosmetic procedures have hit the market that promise to diminish fat cells, resulting in a more toned, contoured appearance. Best of all? Unlike liposuction, these treatments are non-invasive, which means they are less risky and require little to no down-time. As this cosmetic procedure niche grows, there are more non-invasive body contouring options available than ever before. Which one is right for you?
Some of the most popular treatments are Coolsculpting, Vanquish, SculpSure, Thermage, UltraShape Power, VelaShape III, TruSculpt, among others. With all of these options, it can be tough for patients to navigate and determine which treatment is most effective for the results that they are aiming to achieve. Below is a breakdown of what each non-invasive procedure entails.
Hot and Cold
Coolsculpting and SculpSure are two procedures that use the power of temperature to destroy fat cells and provide permanent results. As obvious from its name, Coolsculpting uses a device that freezes fat cells by application to areas like the abdomen, thighs, arms and chin with a specialized applicator, suctioning up the skin while cooling the deep layers of tissue, freezing the cells below. The treatment is mildly uncomfortable for patients due to the cold temperature, and there are a few reports of some nerve pain afterward. The typical results are a 20-25% fat reduction of the treatment area and require approximately three to four sessions and several months to achieve desired results.
If the technology of lasers is more up your alley, there are a variety to choose from. SculpSure provides a laser option designed specifically to address pockets of fat, in the abdomen, flanks (love handles) and under the chin. This laser alternates between heat and cooling effects to raise the temperature in the fat cells, permanently destroying fat and to maximize patient comfort. Best results are reported to be achieved in three treatments.
Alternative technology uses radio-frequency waves and ultrasound to produce slim and contoured results. You should consult with your provider to set expectations and to determine how many treatments will be necessary to achieve your desired result.
Thermage uses radio-frequency technology to tighten sagging areas of skin, such as the jowls, neck, or brow area. The ideal candidate for Thermage wants to lift or tighten sagging skin but desires more subtle results than they would get from a traditional surgical facelift. The Thermage radio-frequency (RF) waves heat the underlying layers of the skin, which tighten and reduce the appearance of sagging.
VelaShape III is a non-invasive body shaping treatment used to reduce cellulite, as well as slim the area around the stomach, hips, and thighs. The machine combines four different technologies — infrared light, bi-polar radio frequency (RF), pulsed vacuum, and massage rollers — to improve skin texture and reduce overall volume.
Vanquish is a device that harnesses the power of heat to destroy fat cells through the use of Radiofrequency (RF) energy. Unlike other non-invasive body contouring products, the Vanquish device does not make contact with the skin. Vanquish can cover a larger surface area, so it is more cost-effective for patients who need a larger area covered. Results are also seen in about four treatments and reported results suggest a 25-30% reduction of fat.
And the UltraShape Power system works by emitting acoustic waves of focused ultrasonic energy that converge into a confined focal volume underneath the skin, thereby, targeting only subcutaneous fat at a controlled depth. Unlike traditional ultrasound technology, UltraShape Power’s energy transmits pulsed ultrasound, allowing control over temperature elevation. And unlike other fat-reduction procedures that use heat or freeze fat, UltraShape Power is virtually painless and leaves no unwanted signs of treatment.
Meanwhile, the TruSculpt 3D body sculpting procedure takes a multi-dimensional approach to circumferential reduction and body sculpting by delivering RF energy to reach a precise therapeutic temperature to the subcutaneous adipose tissue in a unique way. The manufacturer claims to provide the highest clinical efficacy in the shortest possible treatment time.
After the Treatment
Following a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise is not only the ideal to lose weight, reduce fat, and tone muscle, but it will also help keep it off after your treatments. It is important to remember that the results of non-invasive body contouring are not as dramatic as liposuction, so you should keep this in mind when considering the hefty price tag of these procedures. In conjunction with living an active lifestyle, your doctor can help you to determine which of these procedures may be right for you to achieve the results you are looking for.