Physicians Perspective

The Latest Options for Nonsurgical Body Contouring

Some of my preferred methods of in-office, minimally invasive body-shaping solutions include CoolSculpting®, Cellfina® and Kybella®. All three treatments, which have been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are safe and effective and have been scientifically proven over time. They also involve little to no downtime for patients.

CoolSculpting works by freezing fat cells, Cellfina addresses the structural cause of cellulite, and Kybella involves a series of injections to eliminate fat in problem areas. These procedures offer targeted ways to reshape areas such as the abdomen, buttocks, “love handles,” thighs, upper arms and “double chin.”

CoolSculpting: Freeze the Fat Away

Years ago, scientists at Harvard University observed that some children who ate a lot of popsicles developed dimples in their cheeks. Eventually, the scientists deduced that the popsicles were freezing and eliminating small pockets of fat cells. This notion—that cold can target fat cells without damaging the skin or surrounding tissue—was the insight behind cryolipolysis, the proven science on which the CoolSculpting procedure is based.

Freezing Stubborn Pockets of Fat

The CoolSculpting procedure safely delivers precisely controlled cooling to gently and effectively target fat cells underneath the skin. Following the procedure, treated fat cells become crystallized (frozen) and then gradually die. In the weeks to follow, the body naturally processes the fat and eliminates these dead cells, leaving a more sculpted contour in treated areas. Results from the procedure are long-lasting because the targeted fat cells themselves have been eliminated.

Weight Loss vs. CoolSculpting

With traditional dieting and weight-loss methods, fat cells may get smaller in size, but the number of fat cells actually stays the same. The CoolSculpting fat-freezing procedure, on the other hand, actually reduces the number of fat cells in treated areas by about 20-25 percent. Since these fat cells are naturally processed and eliminated, they won’t migrate to other areas of the body. And, unlike what happens with other procedures, there is no change to fat cells in untreated areas.

What to Expect with CoolSculpting

During a CoolSculpting consultation, we will discuss a holistic approach to your goals for reshaping your body. Together, we will look at your body from different angles and focus on specific areas where you want to eliminate fat. With different applicators to choose from, I can design a treatment plan to help you achieve your desired results.

The CoolSculpting procedure involves no surgery, no needles and little to no downtime. During your treatment, a gel pad and an applicator will be applied to the targeted area(s), delivering controlled cooling to the undesired fat. During this in-office procedure, you can read, watch TV, check email or take a nap. The whole procedure is completed in less than an hour.

Target Your Bulges

For some people, a customized treatment plan may involve more than one CoolSculpting treatment. For example, you may want to freeze fat away from your inner and outer thighs, and also get rid of your “muffin top,” an area of fat around the abdomen. I will provide a clinical recommendation of which areas can and should be treated, and how many treatments you will need to meet your goals. Each treatment takes 35-45 minutes per area.

Cool Facts

The CoolSculpting procedure works for both men and women. FDA-cleared treatment areas include the abdomen, flanks (love handles/muffin top), inner and outer thighs, “double chin,” back (bra-fat), upper arms, and breasts (in men only).

Cellfina: Say ‘So Long’ to Cellulite

One of the most common conditions my patients ask me about, cellulite—often otherwise referred to as “cottage cheese,” “hail damage” or “orange peel”—is very hard to get rid of through dieting and exercise alone. No matter how much you work out, those dimples on your thighs and buttocks aren’t likely to budge. The Cellfina System is the only FDA-cleared, minimally invasive procedure that is clinically proven to improve the appearance of cellulite. Performed in an office setting, this nonsurgical procedure treats the primary structural cause of cellulite, resulting in a smooth, healthy look that gives patients the confidence to once again wear bathing suits and higher hemlines.

How Does Cellfina Work?

Cellfina treats the primary structural cause of cellulite, known as fibrous septae, which are the connective bands woven throughout the fat in the thighs and buttocks. These tight bands pull the skin downward, creating a puckering effect on the surface of the skin. Once released, skin treated with Cellfina bounces back to smooth itself out in as little as three days. This one-time cellulite treatment takes less than an hour, and does not involve an operating room or the use of general anesthesia. Using innovative, proprietary technology, Cellfina relies on a small, minimally invasive, needle-sized device to treat cellulite-causing bands just beneath the surface of the skin.

How Soon Will Results Show?

Results are visible in as little as three days and are still evident up to five years later (the treatment has only been on the market for five years, so currently there is no data beyond that point). In pivotal studies, patient satisfaction was 85 percent at three months, 94 percent at one year, 96 percent at two years, and 93 percent at three years.

Are There Any Side Effects?

There is limited downtime associated with Cellfina. Patients are able to go about their day after the treatment, although they may want to take it easy for up to 24 hours, due to soreness and tenderness that may occur once the numbing agent wears off.

The most common side effects reported by patients in the study were soreness, tenderness and bruising.

Kybella: Do Away with That Double Chin

Kybella is the only FDA-approved injectable treatment for men and women that permanently destroys fat cells under the chin for patients with submental fullness, a gathering of excess fat beneath the chin that is commonly known as a “double chin.” Submental fullness can be a lifelong condition resulting from genetic factors, or it can start to appear with aging or weight gain.

How Does Kybella Work?

The active ingredient in Kybella is synthetic deoxycholic acid, a naturally occurring molecule in the body that aids in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat. When injected into the fat beneath the chin, Kybella destroys fat cells, making them unable to store or accumulate fat. This results in a noticeable reduction in fullness under the chin, revealing an improved chin profile. After reaching your desired aesthetic goals, further treatment with Kybella is not necessary.

Kybella works best for people who have a moderate amount of fat cells in their upper neck. Since the procedure destroys fat cells, it does not work for people who have excess skin or loose folds of skin on the neck.

The number of treatments varies from patient to patient, depending on the amount and distribution of submental fat and the patient’s personal treatment goals. Kybella treatments are given at least one month apart, and patients should not receive a total of more than six treatments.

What are the Possible Side Effects?

The most common side effects are temporary bruising, swelling, pain, numbness, redness and areas of hardness around the treatment area.

Who is a Good Candidate for Kybella?

Kybella can be a very effective treatment option, but it’s not right for everyone. Kybella might be a good choice for you if:

•    You have fat under the chin.

•    You feel the condition makes you look older or heavier than you actually are.

•    You don’t want to have surgery.

•   You eat well and exercise, but submental fullness doesn’t go away.

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