Allow a fat-erasing wand to perform its magic for an hour, and walk away with a smoother, slimmer body – no incisions, agony, or downtime. According to a 2018 study published in the journal Cutis, noninvasive body contouring is one of the fastest-growing fields of cosmetic dermatology.
“Contouring,” as performed by dermatologists or plastic surgeons, refers to a number of nonsurgical procedures that promise to reduce fat in a variety of methods. They’re also becoming increasingly popular: According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, fat-reduction procedures like CoolSculpting in Dubai grew by 7% between 2016 and 2017. During the same time period, procedures for temporary cellulite removal, such as VelaSmooth, increased by 19%. Contouring climbed 521 percent across the board between 1997 and 2013, according to a 2016 research.
“These firms are responding to the customer desire to avoid surgery, which is driven by an illogical fear of general anaesthesia,” says Dr. Manish H. Shah, a Denver-based plastic surgeon. “There’s also the time savings of not needing to take time off work to heal.”
Noninvasive contouring provides a few advantages over surgical options like liposuction, including fewer side effects and, in principle, a lower cost. However, this does not imply that they are the best solution for everyone. “Most of the ‘risks’ of these noninvasive procedures include not comprehending the necessary for numerous treatments to achieve a significant result, and the consequent expenditure,” says Dr. Katerina Gallus, a cosmetic surgeon in San Diego.
Before you succumb to the allure of the fat-melting wand, it’s important to know what noninvasive therapies can and can’t achieve.
The fundamentals of body contouring
Simply put, noninvasive body contouring procedures use devices that heat or freeze fat cells beneath the skin to diminish the appearance of “stubborn fat,” such as bra bulge, love handles, and banana rolls, which are banana-shaped fat pockets just below the buttocks. Radiofrequency, like in TruSculpt, or high-intensity focused ultrasound are utilised to heat the area. Cryolipolysis is the fat freezing in Dubai technique employed by CoolSculpting. Fat removal using laser therapy is also included in the contouring category, but it works in a slightly different way: the light source decreases fat cells via a photochemical process rather than a thermal one.
When fat cells die as a result of contouring operations, the body excretes them over a two-to-three-month period, giving the treated areas a smoother appearance. Noninvasive techniques can cost as much as or more than surgery because most people require multiple treatments to attain desired results.
According to Dr. Sheila Nazarian, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California, these noninvasive methods are aimed for contouring surfaces and spot fat removal in specific regions rather than weight loss. Patients may not perceive any weight loss even after liposuction, she explains, because fat doesn’t weigh that much.
“They’re great for localised fat reductions,” Shah adds, “but outside that little zone, there’s not a lot of fat cell destruction.”
Freezing is the most popular fat-reduction procedure, which was found to be less unpleasant and more effective than laser therapy or high-intensity focused ultrasound in a recent study. Furthermore, HIFU is not recommended for elderly individuals with extreme skin laxity (i.e., very loose skin) or sun damage.
The effects of laser body contouring treatments can be seen within six weeks of the procedure, but they aren’t permanent, unlike those of radiofrequency and cryolipolysis.
CoolSculpting is something that everyone wants.
CoolSculpting is the most well-known body reshaping brand. “It’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” Shah says, referring to the company with the largest marketing budget. “It’s certainly one possibility, but there are others.”
According to Nazarian, CoolSculpting is helpful for patients who are close to their desired weight and wish to remove loose skin produced by major weight loss or ageing. CoolSculpting is frequently requested by patients in her practise. If they aren’t suitable candidates, Nazarian may lead them toward procedures that are more likely to provide better results, such as a combination of liposuction and a radiofrequency therapy like BodyTite to tighten up problem regions.
“Patients who have lost a lot of weight will almost certainly need surgery,” she says, because “CoolSculpting can’t fix drooping skin.”
Despite these drawbacks, Dr. Jacob D. Steiger, a plastic surgeon in Boca Raton, Florida, says CoolSculpting is more popular than ever. CoolSculpting has been around longer and has undergone more research than comparable procedures, having been approved in 2010. According to Steiger, the gadgets used to perform the treatments have also improved over time. CoolSculpting was designed for those who already had the physique they wanted, with the exception of obstinate bulges. However, as the business grew, so did the need for fat removal from those who didn’t have fitspo-model bodies. As a result, the corporation began marketing to them as well.
“You could theoretically treat your entire body with CoolSculpting,” he says, “but it would easily cost approximately $10,000, or considerably more than liposuction,” which costs about $3,300 on average. Furthermore, patients will not experience CoolSculpting benefits until the body has disposed of its dead fat cells, which can take up to six months.
CoolSculpting isn’t the only option.
CoolSculpting is a machine-assisted technique that involves applicators attached to the skin and monitored by a computer. However, radiofrequency procedures like TruSculpt necessitate the use of handheld instruments by clinicians. As a result, they’re more time-consuming but also more exact, according to Shah.
“Radiofrequency is not for those with obesity,” Shah says, similar to CoolSculpting. It’s not the way it should be done, despite the fact that it’s utilised on almost everyone. It’s designed to help patients who are reasonably fit lose a small amount of weight.”
SculpSure, a laser treatment that uses laser applicator packs to heat up and pop fat cells, is also popular. The procedure, which takes around 25 minutes, is unpleasant, and patients usually don’t notice effects for three months.
What the advertisements may or may not state
Body indentations might emerge from contouring treatments performed incorrectly or on the wrong individuals, according to Steiger.
CoolSculpting only lowers fat where the applicator is placed, which is why small body areas, like as beneath the belly button, are better targets than wider areas, such as the outer thighs. Excessive fat removal in one place can make the surrounding untreated areas appear plumper.
When it comes to heating operations, problems can develop if patients do not drink enough water beforehand. According to Shah, if you don’t drink enough water, the heat won’t reach its goal and kill the fat cells like it should.
Patients must also realise that if they gain weight, the fat must be stored somewhere. It will build up in the areas around people who have been contoured, but not in the treated areas themselves. Because significant weight gain following treatment can result in a lumpy appearance, these treatments are better suited to persons who are expected to maintain their current weight.
And, while it’s uncommon, some people may grow rather than shrink as a result of CoolSculpting: Cryolipolysis causes paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, which causes fat cells in treated areas to grow rather than perish. According to Shah, there is no way to tell who is at risk for the ailment, and researchers aren’t sure why it occurs.
Even so, it’s an improbable complication: Steiger adds, “I’ve only seen it twice, and lipo or excision resolves it.”
Although noninvasive body contouring techniques don’t involve surgery, a qualified plastic surgeon can help you decide whether you need noninvasive or surgical (or both) operations to reach your goals.
“You really have to do your homework,” Nazarian says, whether you choose a reputable cosmetic dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. Patients should check if potential surgeons are board-certified and have hospital privileges (meaning they’re allowed to conduct treatments in a hospital), according to her. “A hospital will not let you execute an operation that is beyond your scope of training,” Nazarian explains. She points out that a large Instagram following says nothing about a surgeon’s training or qualifications.