Body image is an issue many struggle with, regardless of their particular size, shape or proportions. The good news for those with an aversion to undergoing surgical procedures is that there are plenty of viable non-surgical alternatives available.
Whether you’re looking to reduce fat, smooth cellulite, tighten skin, rejuvenate sagging tissues or more, non-surgical body contouring provides the option of undergoing in-office treatments without the inconvenience of being out of commission for any length of time.
A Shape for All Seasons
No matter the time of year, improving your body’s look and feel is a continuous work in progress. While surgical options abound, some may be looking for other, less-invasive alternatives to explore. Prime candidates are typically those at or near their ideal body weight who are seeking to reduce stubborn fat pockets resistant to standard diet and exercise regimens.
Realistic expectations are key, as with any procedure. Some of the benefits for patients include not being subjected to general anesthesia, incisions or scars, little to no recovery time, minimal side effects and a fairly long shelf life, as results gradually set in over time and are maintained with the proper post-treatment weight plan.
Several of the most popular FDA-approved treatment options available across the United States include:
Laser Treatment (SculpSure®)
Laser fat reduction works to dismantle subcutaneous fat (deposits that sit beneath the skin, but above the muscle), by using controlled heat via a targeted laser wavelength. Fatty tissues are heated to the point of breaking down, while a constant cooling mechanism ensures that skin is not damaged in the process. Areas of focus are generally the abdomen and flanks. Treatments take about 25 minutes per area, and multiple sections can be targeted in a single visit. Most patients are satisfied after one session, and should expect to see optimal results within six to 12 weeks.
If tightening loose or sagging skin is your goal, this unique therapy, which utilizes a form of radiofrequency energy, may be your best option. Benefits include the smoothing of wrinkled or uneven skin, better definition of facial features, and the toning of unsightly bulges, dimples and wrinkles on the face and body. Treatment times are dependent upon the size of the area and its condition; the face generally takes about 45 minutes, while other parts of the body can take up to 90 minutes. The majority of patients only require a single treatment, as the skin's inner structure continues to reshape over time.
Injectable Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella®)
This naturally occurring substance helps break down fat for digestion in the body. Its injectable form can isolate and reduce fat pockets on contact, and is also used to treat submental fullness, commonly known as a “double chin.” Injections typically take about 20 minutes to perform; local anesthetic may be used in some instances to minimize any discomfort. Multiple treatments are generally required for optimal results.
Another revolutionary new treatment, this procedure is targeted to reducing the unsightly cellulite most commonly found on the abdomen, thigh, buttock, hip and upper arm areas. By combining radio frequency waves, a laser and suctioning massage, this technique reduces the size of fat cells while re-contouring the skin's surface. Treatment sessions typically last up to 40 minutes, with a maximum of 10 minutes per area. It is recommended that most patients undergo six to 10 sessions, each conducted one week apart, to achieve maximum results. No downtime is required.
Generally speaking, non-invasive treatments such as SculpSure can be safely performed by a licensed, trained aesthetician working under a physician's supervision. Other procedures, such as Kybella, should only be performed by a qualified cosmetic surgeon, or a provider with equivalent training and experience.
If your preference is to undergo just one procedure, cosmetic surgery may be a more appealing option; likewise, if you have significant loose or sagging skin, or more dramatic body sculpting is desired.