With summer approaching, the desire to get our bodies in swimsuit-shape is hard to ignore. While we always suggest starting off with a healthy diet and the right amount of exercise, when the combo isn’t enough, your doctor can help you find a noninvasive cosmetic treatment that may be able to do a little more.
Surgical procedures like liposuction can rid specific areas of the body of stubborn pockets of fat, but if you’re looking to target a small bulge and don’t want the downtime, scars, cost or other risks that come along with surgery than a nonsurgical fat melter might be an option if your doctor feels that you will benefit from it.
Whether they use heat (via radio-frequency energy), cold or ultrasound energy, fat melting devices destroy stubborn fat cells, which are then naturally excreted by your body. The major upside to these types of treatments is that there is no recovery time involved, but any changes to your body are not visible instantly since multiple sessions may be needed and the entire death process of the cells can take upward of four months. Sounds promising, but with different methods available, which fat melter should you choose?
With cold. Cryolipolysis (known more commonly by its brand name: CoolSculpting) destroys fat cells with a controlled method of cooling. A suction cup-like device is adhered to areas like love handles to target unwanted fat by blasting cold to the cells, freezing them to death. The FDA-cleared CoolSculpting procedure is said to cause minimal to no discomfort but can take up to one hour to perform on one love handle.
With heat. Used off label, nonablative radio-frequency procedures delivers energy that works as heat to target unwanted fat. Short, strong pules are sent through the skin to create new collagen, tighten existing collagen and break up fat. As the energy reaches the fat cells, fatty acids are released, killing the cells. Though it’s uncommon, there is the potential risk of skin burns with this type of treatment. Look for radio-frequency treatments under names like Exilis, Accent Your Body and Thermage.
With ultrasound energy. Ultrasound waves are said to permanently destroy fat right below the surface of the skin without damaging skin or internal tissues. Different from other options, there may be some pain with ultrasound fat fighters, which can vary from minimal to moderate depending on the device used. Using ultrasound to fight unwanted fat is the newest type of technology-the Liposonix treatment received FDA approval only a few months ago.
In the end, whichever treatment you opt for, expect to lose inches not pounds. Even though these fat melting treatments are destroying fat cells, they won’t cause you to drop a substantial amount of weight nor do they prevent you from gaining weight. To ensure the best possible results, it’s essential to maintain a healthy weight after your procedure.
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