You’ve taken the proper measures to determine what’s been preventing you from losing weight and have shed the extra pounds, but you still may need help in the form of a surgical or nonsurgical procedure to spot-treat stubborn areas and get the body that you want.
If you have loose skin all over, choose a lower bodylift:
Who’s it for: Those who are not obese, yet have mild to moderate amounts of excess fat, plus loose skin. Patients who are obese may respond better to a weight-loss operation initially, followed by a bodylift.
Why it works: Anytime a large amount of weight is lost, the skin doesn’t recoil back to its original shape. “Once the skin has been stretched over a period of time and lost its elasticity, the only way to get rid of the fat and loose skin is by surgically excising it,” says San Antonio plastic surgeon Jorge L. Menendez, MD. The arms and thighs take well to this procedure.
If you have a little bit of slack skin, choose ThermiRF:
Who’s it for: Anyone who has a little bit of lax skin on their neck, arms, stomach or thighs, or under their chin. “It’s great for tightening up skin after fat has been removed by liposuction,” says Louisville, KY, plastic surgeon Nana N. Mizuguchi, MD.
Why it works: Different from other skin tighteners, ThermiRF is a single-session procedure that uses radio-frequency energy delivered under the skin, instead of topically, through tiny probes inserted under the skin. The probes heat up the tissue to stimulate collagen production for tighter skin, counteracting the effects of sagging.
Results: Tighter skin can be noticed in the first few weeks after treatment and continues to improve throughout the next year, but these results are not totally predictable.
Price: Starts at $3,000 per area
If you have loose askin and hard-to-get-rid-of-fat, choose a tummy tuck:
Who’s it for: Those with fat and loose skin on the stomach. New York plastic surgeon Elie Levine, MD, says it’s important to be as close to your ideal weight before undergoing elective surgery.
Why it works: “Excess skin does not go away with weight loss, no matter how much you exercise,” says Mount Pleasant, SC, plastic surgeon Jack Hensel Jr., MD. Losing weight can leave the stomach stretched out and the skin hanging. That’s where a tummy tuck comes in. The amount of skin that needs to be removed will determine how large the incision will be and where it will be placed, (as well as the scar that will result).
Results: Permanent, but it’s important to maintain your weight.
Who’s it for: Those who are happy with their weight, but want to contour areas like the waistline, stomach or thighs that don’t budge with diet and exercise. “For patients who are 20 pounds or more overweight, noninvasive procedures are less cost-effective,” says Dr. Mizuguchi. However, it’s important to know the difference between surgery and a noninvasive fat-melter. “Surgery allows for the area of fat to be precisely contoured and shaped; a fat-melter gets rid of the fat without the contouring portion,” Dr. Mizuguchi adds.
Why it works: CoolSculpting involves the use of “extreme cold to cause fat cells to crystallize and release the fat contents, which are eventually absorbed and dispelled by the body over the course of about three months,” says Dr. Menendez. “On the other hand, standard liposuction suctions out the fat cells at the time of the procedure so there’s no waiting period to see results.”
Results: Permanent, but it can take anywhere from a few weeks to up to three months to see a difference in the body with both treatments.
Price: Liposuction: $2,815 per area*; CoolSculpting: Starts at $750 per area
*Based on average costs, according to ASAPS