In 2013, the ability to remove fat bulges safely and effectively without surgery is not science fiction. It is a reality! Technology such as focused ultrasound and a process called cryolipolysis have made it possible to remove small amounts of fat without cutting the skin and with very little recovery time. Both are FDA-cleared procedures that can, when used on appropriate candidates, spot reduce and smooth unwanted bulges.
Cryolipolysis works by cooling the unwanted fat bulge; this causes a percentage of the fat cells to self-destruct over several months, resulting in a smaller bulge and more pleasing body contour. Focused ultrasound destroys fat cells with targeted heat; over time, the body eliminates the damaged fat cells to shrink the unwanted bulge and improves the look of the area. To date, over 500,000 people around the world have been treated with these technologies with results to prove they work.
Since there is no cutting of the skin with either cryolipolysis or focused ultrasound, recovery time is minimal. In fact, the vast majority of people who have these procedures will return to normal activity immediately.
Although these treatments can deliver safe and effective results, they are not without limitations. Compared to liposuction, which is a surgical procedure that can remove up to 80% of fat in the treated area with dramatic results, cryolipolysis and focused ultrasound are targeting a much smaller percentage of fat cells (approximately 20-25%) per procedure and, therefore, yield more modest cosmetic improvement. For some, satisfactory cosmetic results may take several sessions to achieve. Additionally, while most patients can return to normal activities immediately after non-surgical body contouring treatments as discomfort is minimal, a small percentage of patients may experience post-treatment pain, bruising or numbness that requires a period of recovery.
The bottom line: Non-surgical body contouring is here to stay. Although the results are modest as compared to surgical fat removal, the non-invasive nature and “no downtime” process of the treatments make non-surgical body contouring a very attractive alternative to surgery. The technology continues to evolve and in the future, even greater results to improve the shape of the body and remove stubborn fat will be possible. ta