Beach Body: Consider These Non-Surgical Body Contouring Options for the Summer

MAY 11, 2017
Michele S. Green, MD
As the weather warms and spring turns to summer, the layers of clothing come off. It’s the time of year when people ramp up their diet and exercise regimens to tighten up that beach body.

A year round approach is the best way to maintain long-term health. But the truth is,  as we age, no matter how much someone works out or restricts their  calories, some stubborn fat can remain – and may be nearly impossible to burn off.

 For those who want to shortcut time spent counting calories or sweating at the gym,consider three non-surgical body-contouring options available for men and women. They are effective on some of the most embarrassing spots where fat develops, common problem areas that can turn anyone into a self-conscious wreck.

CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a technique that uses a process called “cryolipolysis” to cool and destroy fat cells in the body without harming the surrounding tissue. CoolSculpting has been FDA approved to be used on abdominal fat, love handles, back and thighs. There is also a related version for neck and chin areas called “CoolMini.”

During the procedure, a gel pad and a specialized applicator is applied to the target area to cool the fat cells. Skin (and fat) is then drawn into the applicator using a vacuum and the area is then treated. Patients can generally expect to reduce fat in the area targeted by 20- to 25-percent for each treatment. Patients report only minimal discomfort while undergoing treatments, which can take between 25  to 90 minutes depending on the size of the area.

Since CoolSculpting is noninvasive, after treatment there is no downtime required and individuals can go about their daily routine. It takes four months to see the results from CoolSculpting, but the process can be repeated in one to four months depending on the area being treated. 

CoolSculpting is not an effective treatment for everyone. One key consideration: the Patient needs to be able to “pinch” the skin and fat between their fingers since CoolSculpting draws this pinch-able fat into the applicator.  

Vanquish

Vanquish appears similar to CoolSculpting since it also targets the same treatment areas, such as the abdomen, love handles and hip areas. Yet Vanquish works very differently, using Selective RF™ technology to heat up the fat cells, which in turn are then destroyed. One of the advantages of Vanquish is that the applicator doesn’t actually touch the patient’s skin, heating it up instead.

Patients can expect to see a reduction of fat in problem areas from between two and four inches in total. Treatments take up to an hour and generally most patients require up to six weekly treatments. Results are typically quite fast and patients should be able to see changes in their body fat as the treatment schedule progresses.

Exilis®

Exilis® is a skin-tightening treatment that uses the same Selective RF™ technology as Vanquish and is made by the same manufacturer, BTL Aesthetics. Exilis is designed to treat different aspects of excess fat and skin and it is also designed to promote collagen reproduction, which helps tighten skin.

Exilis is used to treat mild fat deposits in the same areas as CoolSculpting and Vanquish, but it can also be applied to the face to treat fine lines, turkey necks and jowling in the face. One of the key differences with Exilis is that it is normally recommended treat issues with loose skin, or skin laxity, anywhere on the body. For individuals who have lost a lot of weight, skin laxity can be a problem and Exilis can treat mild cases of this effectively. Generally a number of treatments – four to six, on average, carried out over a series of weeks – will be needed to get best results. Consult with a cosmetic dermatologist such as Dr. Michele Green (www.michelegreenmd.com) and choose the option that’s best for you. Then hit the beach!

-       Michele S. Green, MD, attending dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital


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