No matter how many sit-ups or crunches you do, those love handles or that post baby pooch just won’t go away. Everyone has persistent problem areas that diet and exercise simply can’t improve. It’s a consistent complaint that doctors hear from their patients, yet did you know that there are many non-surgical options out there to help you fight that unwanted fat?
While there are surgical procedures, such as liposuction, that address problem areas, they can require a daunting two to three weeks of recovery time. Non-surgical methods like SculpSure, CoolSculpting, Liposonix, and UltraShape provide exciting options that do not require any downtime. These and other non-surgical methods merely use lasers, heat, cooling, radiofrequency waves or ultrasound technology to kill fat cells; there are no knives and no needles.
It’s crucial to note that these treatments are for body contouring and are not weight loss options. Candidates should be at a healthy weight. As you mature into an adult, the number of fat cells in your body stabilizes. These cells merely grow or shrink in size as you gain or lose weight, but never go away. Non-invasive treatments eradicate fat cells, allowing you to reshape your body without actual weight loss.
Each of these methods is slightly different and comes with their unique set of pros and cons. This overview will help orient you to the basic differences between each approach, but it’s important to discuss your goals and concerns with your doctor before you choose which is right for you.
CoolSculpting targets fat cells by freezing them. More than one CoolSculpting session may be needed based on your desired outcome, with appointments spaced at least 8 to 12 weeks apart. Side effects include mild to moderate pain, numbness, swelling, and bruising, making it a quite uncomfortable procedure. Also, some patients may, unfortunately, experience uneven, irregular contouring. Studies show that CoolSculpting generates anywhere from very mild fat loss to up to a 25% reduction in fat cells in a given treatment area.
Liposonix uses ultrasound technology to slay fat cells. Many patients feel cold, warmth, prickling, or tingling during the procedure which can be uncomfortable. Some may even consider it to be unbearable. Side effects after Liposonix include swelling and redness. Bruising can also be extensive in the affected areas. This procedure is considered to be the most painful body sculpting option, with fat loss varying from patient to patient.
UltraShape also utilizes ultrasound to destroy fat cells, but without heating or freezing them. This means that the procedure is virtually painless, but results are extremely gradual. Depending on the size of the treatment area, several sessions may be needed. Results vary from very mild to moderate fat depletion, but there are questions of long-term results in patients and whether or not firmness in the treatment areas can be maintained.
SculpSure is a light-based treatment using heat that permanently destroys fat cells. Unlike other treatments, SculpSure can be used on almost any part of the body, not just the mid-section and thighs. Each session lasts 25 minutes, and the FDA approval indicates a 16% to24% reduction in fat cells after one treatment. Few side effects have been reported with SculpSure; some patients report a mild tingling sensation during the procedure. Clinical studies have also reported mild cramping or pain during the treatment. Results are noticeable as early as six weeks after the procedure but are optimal at 12 weeks.
After researching and trying various non-surgical options, Dr. Phillip Chang, a board certified plastic surgeon in Leesburg, VA, believes that SculpSure has produced the best results for his patients. “The pain and side effects associated with SculpSure are minimal, and the results have been terrific,” he says, “and it’s extremely affordable.”
If you are ready to tackle that muffin top, make sure to do your homework and choose wisely. Non-invasive treatments vary greatly when it comes to cost, side effects, pain, and results. Consult Dr. Phillip Chang today and get one step closer to defeating that stubborn fat.