Dr. Danielle Causey’s most frequently asked questions about body contouring
What is body contouring? Is it like liposuction?
Body contouring is a general term used for non-invasive, non-surgical fat manipulation. The goal of body contouring is to reduce fat and cellulite in target areas and to tighten the skin. Body Contouring typically works best with a series of treatments and some methods require frequent-to-occasional maintenance appointments. There is very little downtime and most patients can resume their normal daily activities immediately after treatment. Some methods are painless and some have mild discomfort associated with them. As always it is advised to have general good health and healthy habits to enhance and prolong the effects of body contouring.
Liposuction is a surgical approach to fat removal and some newer systems like FaceTight and BodyTight offer skin tightening with the same procedure. While there is post-operative discomfort and mild-to-moderate downtime, liposuction is the most predictable and aggressive form of permanent fat removal.
Dr. Danielle, there are so many options out there for body contouring. What is the difference between them and which one is best for me?
There are two main types of body contouring systems: permanent fat destruction and temporary fat reduction.
The permanent methods work to destroy unwanted fat cells, therefore releasing the fat molecule into your body to be used as fuel or to be flushed out of your body through the lymphatic drainage system. Permanent fat destruction can be achieved through controlled extreme cold as in Coolsculpting, Controlled extreme heat as is SculpSure, controlled radio frequency like Vanquish and Emsculpt, or chemically with mesotheropy and Kybella. These methods are always overseen by a trained and certified doctor.
Temporary reduction of fat cells works by shrinking the size of the fat molecules. They typically work by compression or dehydration. These methods are usually performed in non medical settings and without doctor supervision. They can be in the form of Red Light therapy, body wraps, and uncontrolled chilling and heating of the external area. These methods tend to have little to no downtime, no discomfort or pain, are very economical, and require constant and frequent maintenance to achieve and retain results.
Your aesthetic medicine provider can help you decide which body contouring method is right for your body, your expectations, and your budget.
How quickly can I expect to see results from permanent fat loss body contouring?
As with all medical procedures, results vary by patient, by method, and by provider. It usually takes your body two to six weeks to fully flush the loose fat molecules completely out of your system. The time frame varies depending on your activity level, general metabolism and health, and your hydration. You may also experience minor swelling and inflammation in the area depending on the method. You doctor can fully inform you of the post-operative expectations when you do your initial consultation.
I’ve been told before that I was not a candidate for Coolsculpting or SculptSure. Why is this, and is there another method that may be right for me?
CoolSculpting and SculptSure are both targeted permanent fat loss that work by sucking the targeted area into an applicator and applying controlled cold or heat. These methods work best for patients who have lower BMI, have a small area of targeted fat that they are trying to treat, and their targeted area must fit into the applicator. If any of these three requirements are not met, then you will not be a good candidate for Coolsculpting or SculptSure.
Alternatively there are other methods of permanent fat removal that may be right for you. Vanquish ME is permanent fat loss that does not require an applicator, and therefore can treat larger areas and patients with a larger BMI.
“Fat loss from Vanquish ME is circumferential, so you will see loss spread out evenly over the entire body part. “
Mesotheropy and Kybella work by chemically destroying the fat cells. The chemical is injected into the fat in a series of small needle punctures. There is no BMI requirements for this type of treatment, but the downsides are swelling and minor pain from the injections, and greater risks of adverse effects.
Surgical Liposuction may also be a method you may choose when you have a larger BMI or unwanted fat in an area difficult to get to with applicators or injections.
Your aesthetic medicine provider will be able to help you determine which method is best for you.