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What Is Body Contouring?

Body contouring or sculpting refers to methods of removing fat from specific problem areas, typically over the love handles, abdomen, and hip rolls. There’s lots of buzz in the press about non surgical ways to achieve this. You only have to google to find that it can be very confusing . Ultrashape, Velashape, Zeltique, and Zerona are just some of the technologies you may read about. What are they and what do they do and should you consider one of these treatments, or another option?

Essentially the aim of all these machines is to destroy fat cells without any incision, and without affecting surrounding tissues, like skin, or deeper organs.It’s important to know that none of these treatments is intended for weight loss. Even liposuction and tummy tuck are not intended for very overweight individuals. If someone is well beyond their ideal body weight, fat not only accumulates beneath the skin , but deep within the body, beneath the muscular abdominal wall around the organs. Niether liposuction, nor tummy tuck, nor any non invasive method of fat burning on the market can address this kind of fat. The only way to lose this is with diet and exercise or with the help of lap band or gastric bypass surgery.

What about people who are close to ideal weight, but have particular problem areas where stubborn fat has accumulated? If the amount of fat is not too large, and the skin tone is reasonable, either liposuction or a non surgical fat reduction method can be considered.

How do these non invasive methods destroy fat cells? These machines attempt to disrupt these cells by sending different forms of energy into the tissues, which, at the cellular level is transformed into heat energy. This in turn essentially burns the fat. The forms of energy emitted by these machines differ and can include laser, radio frequency, and ultrasound. Criticisms leveled at these machines is that in order not to burn surrounding tissues, amounts of energy emitted are very low, poorly controlled and not focused directly at the fat layer . As a result, benefits may be very slight, or none at all, or there can be potentially uneven effects. Looking at patient reviews of these different machines online, on Realself for example, one can see that patient satisfaction with most of these methods was low, only in the 26-32% range!  Many physicians who have treated patients with these machines have become disenchanted with the limited results as well.

Zeltique is somewhat different in that it capitalizes on the fact that fat freezes at a different temperature than surrounding water based tissues, and therefore one can damage the fat through freezing, without harming other structures. It seems to have a higher patient satisfaction rating, but does require sufficient fat to be able to suction the area to be treated into the treatment head.

Because of these limitations Dr. Weinberg of Mississauag Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Clinic and the Toronto Plastic Surgery Clinic has waited for a non invasive treatment that in his opinion holds more promise of success . He believes, based on the results from European physicians who have been using the technology for some time, that the Liposonix machine from Medicis shows much more promise as a successful non invasive method to sculpt fat. Liposonix differs substantially from the other ultrasound methods of fat reduction out there in that it uses high frequency ultrasound energy that can be focused quite precisely at the fat layer. Because the amounts of energy are quite high, there is some discomfort associated with the treatment, but the degree of discomfort has been decreased since it was shown that multiple passes at a slightly lower energy level are as effective as fewer passes with the higher energy settings initially used in Europe. A recent study performed here in Canada, in which some of Dr. Weinberg’s patient’s took part, showed patient satisfaction to be 90%. Liposonix is presently approved for use for tummy fat and is also used for “love handles” as an “off label” use. More areas are likely to emerge in the near future. After the successful experiences of his patients with his Liposonix machine downtown at the Toronto Plastic Surgery Clinic, Dr. Weinberg has just introduced a second machine at his Mississauga location. If you are considering non invasive fat contouring , visit Dr. Weinberg in December for a free consultation to find out if Liposonix is right for you. Call 905-273-3045.

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