Body contouring is gaining popularity. Most body contouring procedures are meant for reducing the fat in smaller, more difficult areas, and most devices are limited to the amount of area they can treat. Though there are several different body contouring treatments on the market, some unfortunately, have more cons than pros.
What is body contouring?
Body contouring is the use of a device, from surgical to non-surgical and invasive to non-invasive, to reduce unwanted fat in stubborn areas and contour and shape the body.
What are the pros and cons of such treatments?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure which breaks up the fat cells and removes the fat using a high-pressure vacuum with a hollow instrument, called a cannula.
Pros: Improved appearance. Can be used to treat chronic swelling, and lipomas, benign fatty tumors and removal of excess skin when one has lost a large amount of weight.
Cons: Invasive and requires anesthesia. Can be quite expensive. There’s a lot of downtime. It’s limited as to areas that can be treated and as to how much fat can be removed safely (about a liter). For most people there are no health benefits. Doesn’t treat obesity or cellulite, dimples, or stretch marks. Risks can include body dysmorphia, infection, scarring, bruising, inflammation, blood clots, poor skin healing causing lumpiness and other more severe conditions like kidney, heart or lung problems.
Micro-sculpting, an alternative to liposuction, uses ultrasound to dislodge fat, which is removed with a micro-cannula inserted under the skin.
Pros: Less downtime, less swelling, less invasive and faster recovery than liposuction. Immediate results. The fat can be utilized to enhance other areas.
Cons: One area can cost between $2,900-$4,900. Possible risks include swelling, bruising, soreness, numbness, bleeding, clotting and anesthesia allergies.
Laser sculpting combines laser and surgical procedures to eliminate pockets of fat in the body by liquefying them.
Pros: Minimally invasive. It focuses on small areas, i.e., chin, arms and neck. Obese patients can use it to eliminate fat deposits. Recovery is faster than surgery, usually 24-48 hours, but can be up to 4 days.
Cons: Costs estimated anywhere between $2,600-$6,000. Treatment areas are limited. In some cases, a surgeon may also use surgical intervention. It takes 6 to 8 weeks to see results. Possible risks include uneven results, burns, blisters, nodule formation, infections, scarring, pain, fluid accumulation, fever, numbness, and kidney/heart failure.
Coolsculpting is a non-surgical, fat-freezing procedure which uses controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn fat that resists all efforts through diet and exercise.
Pros: It’s FDA-cleared, non-surgical, no anesthesia needed, and non-invasive. It eliminates the fat permanently in 9 different areas. There is little to no downtime. It has proven results.
Cons: Costs average $750-$1,200 per area treated per session. 1-3 CoolSculpting sessions are usually needed. It can take up to 6 months to see results. Risks include body dysmorphia. Common side effects are pain, redness, swelling, bruising, enlargement of fat, stretch marks, prolapsed bladder, uterus and rectum, inflammatory colonitis and deep vein thrombosis.
Kybella is an FDA approved injectable treatment to reduce fat under the chin, in the stomach, back, and armpit, by dissolving fat cells. This acid is a manmade form of a substance your body makes in the intestines to dissolve fat.
Pros: Minimally invasive. Easy to tolerate the procedure. Little to no downtime. Slims the jawline. Results can be seen after first or second treatment.
Cons: Costs $1200 per treatment. Up to 4 treatments are usually necessary. Possible side effects are bruising, numbness, itching, trouble swallowing, pain, swelling, facial muscle weakness, nerve injury, headache, high blood pressure and nausea.
Ultraslim is an FDA approved, non-invasive procedure for immediate fat loss without drugs or surgery. Ultraslim uses a special patented type of LED light to stimulate and shrink the fat cells. The treated fat cells open a pore temporarily and release the fat naturally.
Pros: Non-invasive, guaranteed natural immediate fat loss. Per FDA studies, patients lose an average of 3.5” and 1.6 liters of body fat per treatment. FDA classes the device a Group One device, the safest category. It can treat almost any are of the body. Successfully used for non-surgical breast reduction. No pain, discomfort, downtime or side effects and you see immediate results. Can be used to treat obesity. Increases the collagen and elastin in the skin. Costs are fair compared to other body contouring, $500 a visit is usual, and it covers most areas.
Cons: Ultraslim is the only device which appears to have few to no contraindications, except if you have liver or kidney problems, or cancer, you may not qualify to get treated.