The History and Technology Behind Fat Reducers

Back in 2004, Thermage was FDA-cleared to treat facial wrinkles (in 2005 it was cleared for use on the body), and as more doctors used it, they noticed a reduction in fat as a side effect of treatment. “We knew there was a possibility of injuring the fat to get rid of it that didn’t involve surgery,” says Dallas plastic surgeon Jeffrey Kenkel, MD.

Once that theory became known, fat fighters like CoolSculpting started making their way onto the market. Fast-forward to 2015, and the concept is mainstream. “The challenge is finding devices that are predictable, consistent and reproducible. There are a lot of different ways to get to the fat,” says Dr. Kenkel. “It’s been a constant attempt to create the least-invasive device that’s the most effective with the best results. In my opinion, devices that use freezing or ultrasound technology are leading the way,” adds Dr. Kenkel.

Fat fighters utilize a variety of technologies and different applications. In order to be effective, Las Vegas plastic surgeon Terrence Higgins, MD says the fat cells need to be either heated up or frozen, and the energy source must reach a certain point below the skin. “In order to destroy the fat cells, the device has to reach anywhere from 1.5 to 3 centimeters below the skin.” The deeper the energy is driven into the tissue, the more promising the result. “The more fat-specific the machine, the better it is at fighting fat,” says Dr. Kenkel. After the fat cells have been targeted, the body turns the fat into biological waste and flushes it out throughout the next few months.

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