Imagine visiting your plastic surgeon’s office one morning for a treatment. Instead of being heavily sedated for an operation, you are fully awake and sitting comfortably. You may work on your laptop or even read a novel during the procedure. When you leave, you simply return to your normal routine, as early as that same afternoon.
Over the next few weeks, almost magically, unwanted fat begins to disappear.
Advances in medical technology have produced a new generation of nonsurgical body contouring treatments, and they have never been more effective. Patients can now look forward to non-invasive treatments that are safe, effective, comfortable, all without significant downtime or recovery.
In this article, we'll explore alternatives to body contouring surgery, so you can get an idea of the non-surgical body contouring options available and see if they are right for you.
Non-Surgical Body Contouring Procedures
Patients seek out nonsurgical procedures for a variety of reasons. With the advancement of science and technology, more nonsurgical body contouring treatments are becoming available.
The most common body contouring treatments fall into two categories:
- Non-Surgical Fat Reduction
- Non-Surgical Skin Tightening
Let's look at each of these categories, and their expected results.
Nonsurgical Fat Reduction
There are a variety of nonsurgical fat reduction treatments, such as CoolSculpting, SculpSure, UltraShape, Vanquish, and Liposonix, to name a few.
The most popular and effective of these treatments is CoolSculpting.
CoolScupting works using a process called cryolipolysis, in which controlled cooling is performed to freeze off your fat cells while your skin and surronding tissues are left unharmed. The frozen fat cells are absorbed and cleared by your body over the course of several weeks. The end result is about a 20% reduction in fat in the treated area. CoolSculpting is FDA approved, and its safety and effectiveness have been demonstrated by dozens of peer-reviewed clinical studies. Since its inception, over 3 million CoolSculpting treatments have been performed.
Other nonsurgical fat reduction treatments are not as popular as CoolSculpting to date because they are not as consistently effective and/or comfortable.
Non-surgical fat reduction treatments can reduce unwanted fat without surgery or downtime. However, there are some limits - for example, CoolSculpting is not as effective as liposuction, and it will not tighten loose or sagging skin.
If you have reached your desired body weight, but are frustrated by bulging areas of fat that won’t budge with diet and exercise, you may be a good candidate for a nonsurgical fat reduction treatment such as CoolSculpting.
Nonsurgical Skin Tightening
If you seek firmer skin without surgery, downtime, or scars, nonsurgical skin tightening may be a good option. These procedures improve your skin tone by using different forms of energy such as laser, radiofrequency, or ultrasound.
One of the most popular procedures in this category is Ultherapy.
Ultherapy focuses ultrasound energy deep beneath the skin at the optimal temperature for collagen regeneration. It kickstarts the body's natural neocollagenesis process, producing fresh collagen.
The end result is a firm and tightened face, neck, upper chest, and/or body.
Not everyone is a good candidate for these treatments, and they don't all deliver the same results. The best candidates for non-surgical skin tightening are those who have mild to moderate sagging skin or aging. Having realistic expectations is important: the benefits of nonsurgical skin tightening treatments are generally mild, and these treatments are not a substitute for a surgical lift.
Are Nonsurgical Treatments Worth It?
Nonsurgical body contouring procedures deliver great results for the right candidates. These procedures should not be considered replacements for surgery when surgery is what you really need.
If you have a great deal of extra fat, you will be disappointed in the results of a nonsurgical procedure. The same goes for excessive or sagging skin.
Because of varying results, it's important to seek out the counsel of a trusted professional; one that has experience and expertise in a full range of treatments.
Medical spas and dermatologists are likely to recommend nonsurgical treatments as they have no experience or expertise in plastic surgery. On the other hand, plastic surgeons without nonsurgical treatment experience are just as unlikely to recommend them over surgery.
The best way to know you're getting the right treatment for the right purpose is to find a plastic surgeon who also offers nonsurgical treatments. If you're a good candidate for Ultherapy or CoolSculpting, they'll be able to provide counsel on those options as well.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Advances in non-surgical cosmetic procedures mean that you don’t always have to go under the knife when you’re ready to take the next step in your appearance. Whether you desire to remove stubborn fat or tighten mild excess skin, non-surgical body contouring may be right for you.
The next step is seeking counsel from a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in body contouring and non-surgical procedures. Dr. Larry Fan is a Harvard-trained plastic surgeon who specializes in natural beauty. He and his team can customize a specific plan to best help you meet your goals. To contact Dr. Fan, click here, or schedule a complimentary consultation here.