Getting rid of those stubborn fat areas – saddlebags, the pooch, love handles – is a lifelong plight for many. So it’s easy to understand the latest weight loss craze, ‘Body Shaping’ or ‘Body Sculpting’ as these therapies promise results for areas you can’t seem to lose with diet or exercise. By flattening or killing fat cells that your body then metabolizes and naturally eliminates, these devices are said to deliver immediate and progressive results over 2-6 months.
But this advanced technology is not a substitute for weight loss – and not for everyone. “These are not treatments for people who need to lose 50 pounds,” says Dan Olesnicky, MD of Executive Wellness. “We recommend these finishing technologies for those who maintain a healthy lifestyle and are active.” Brittany Zakrzewski, Nurse LVN at Dr. Suzanne Quardt’s office agrees. “These treatments are best for people who are at a healthy weight, but have stubborn areas they just can’t seem to lose.”
Unlike Laser Lipo (or Smart Lipo) which pierces the skin and can leave bruising, these non-invasive therapies are applied externally and appear to have few side effects and zero recovery time. However, the results and risks are dependent on the practitioner performing the procedure, so if you are seeking treatment, make sure it is from a qualified source.
Fire up those fat cells. Exilis is radiofrequency technology that heats up the skin and the deep layers of fat underneath. It is applied with a handheld wand allowing the tech to act “as a sculptor” strategically covering all areas of concern. It is effective on most problem areas and has the added benefit of skin tightening, unraveling collagen allowing skin to snap back tighter. Multiple treatments are required and you will continue to see improvement for up to 6 months. It is an electrical probe, so it can burn the skin if not properly applied.
Freeze the pooch. Devices like CoolSculpting® chill the fat cells to 4 degree Celsius triggering their natural death with no effect on nerves or other tissues. Typically only one 60-minute treatment is necessary for each area and is reported to kill 20-30% of the targeted fat cells. CoolSculpting® is only FDA approved for use on the abdomen and love handles. Zakrzewski notes that reported ‘blocky’ results are avoided by ending each treatment with a 2 minute massage to smooth out the area.
Laser the legs (and other areas). Cold laser therapies like Zerona® can be used on most problem areas. After about 20 minutes of treatment, the fat cells beneath the targeted area develop a transitory pore that allows the cells’ contents to be released and flattening the cell. Patients start seeing results after two weeks of treatment. “Zerona is a good complement to a weight loss program,” says Olesnicky. “Both synergistically release the fat cells and you continue to burn fat in those problem areas as you lose weight.”
The professionals remind us that none of these technologies get rid of fat around your organs, which are the most dangerous fats. “Investing in these therapies for cosmetic purposes are well and good,” concludes Olesnicky, “but first invest your time and efforts into establishing healthier lifestyle choices.”
Be sure to check out the next issue as Desert Health® will be putting some of these therapies to the test this summer and reporting our results in the September October issue!