Liposuction has been the traditional fat removal procedure with wide popularity, having been the most performed cosmetic surgical procedure in America in 2011 according to one survey. But like any other surgical procedure, it does have limitations in the form of surgical risks, healing period and down time, medications.
A series of new non-invasive procedures for removal of pockets of fat have come up in recent times and these involve use of laser, sonic waves and fat freezing. Among these, two patented and FDA approved procedures – Cool Sculpting and Liposonix have taken the lead among the patients.
Both these have the advantages of being non-invasive and not expensive with short procedure time (around one hour), little or no down time or medication. But the results are not as substantial or dramatic in terms of fat removal or, do not appear as quickly as in liposuction. Their results are also not expected to be as long lasting as in liposuction.
Yet the people who have ’not so large pockets’ of fat and do not like to get under the knife or do not mind for coming back for repeat procedures, if required, find these procedures ideal for body sculpting. The two procedures are briefly described below:
Cool Sculpting – The people who are normal weight yet have pockets of localized fats in abdomen, hips and thighs are ideally suited for the procedure. It is reported that the body areas with smaller curves like knees, arms and inner thighs will also be treatable soon with new equipment attachments.
The procedure is said to only affect the fat cells without affecting or damaging other body cells, a possible occurrence in case of surgical or laser or sonic wave procedures.
The procedure involves sucking the fat into a hand piece attachment of the equipment and on removal of the hand piece after about an hour, the fat cells freeze into a rectangular shape which is to be “massaged back to its natural shape. The crystallized fat cells die and get metabolized in the body over two or three month period”.
During the procedure the patient remains seated in a chair while the cooling suction device is applied to the target fat layer causing a numbing sensation after a while. Some may have redness, mild pain and bruising feeling for a few days after the treatment. There is no real down time and a patient may get back to work directly or soon after the procedure.
Normally a patient has to undergo two treatments to get the fat reduced by about 20%, each lasting about 1 hour and costing about $ 700. But in some cases depending on the body part and amount of fat present, one may have to undergo more than two treatments.
Procedure with Liposonix – As in Cool Sculpting, the procedure is not suitable for fat, overweight people and is good for normal weight people having localized fat. Though the procedure is new in America it has reportedly given good results in other countries. The procedure is currently approved By FDA in treating fat in the abdomen and love handles.
Liposonix is a device which focuses ultrasound waves at 1 to 2 cm below the skin in the target area to remove the fat cells selectively. The technology used is known as “High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)” which disrupts the fat cells without affecting the skin.
The disrupted fat cells get transported by body’s immunity system to the liver which metabolizes it like the fat in the eaten food. This takes some time and hence the full result takes about 3 to 6 months to appear.
The procedure may cause mild pain and discomfort for which medications may be taken. For some patients there may be some redness, bruising for a day or two and swelling which may take a few days to resolve. The patients may be given compression garments to wear for the first two or three days to control the swelling.
One treatment with liposonix which takes about an hour and costs near $ 3000 on average is recommended. The treatment has been reported to result in a reduction of about 4.6 cm in the waist measurement after 3 months.
These new technologies are interesting, but have not had much exposure as of today. Time will tell whether these technologies are as good as tumescent liposuction or a good weight loss program.
[The write up has derived some information from the articles – http://www.surgery.org/consumers/plastic-surgery-news-briefs/body-sculpting-technologies-answer-liposuction-1039449; http://www.innovationsmedical.com/liposonix/]