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Non-Invasive Body Contouring

When should lasers/energy-based devices be used for non-invasive body contouring?

To gently and effectively reduce stubborn, smaller pockets of fat on the body—such as on the chin or the neck—for natural body contouring. Lasers can get into tighter spaces with ease in as few as one or two office visits. 

What devices are used to treat this condition? 

  • Cryolipolysis
  • High-intensity focused ultrasound
  • Radiofrequency

Description of treatment

A physician attaches a specially designed applicator cup to the desired treatment area. When the procedure begins, you may feel a cooling sensation in the treated area, but little to no discomfort. During the procedure, you can read, listen to music, work on a laptop, or simply relax. After the procedure, most patients can return to work or normal activities.

In cryolipolysis, the exposure to cooling causes the fat cells to begin a process of natural removal, which gradually reduces the thickness of the fat layer. The fat cells in the treated area are gently eliminated through your body’s natural metabolic process.

More recently, focused ultrasound is being used to break up fat by causing non-selective thermal injury underneath the skin, bypassing the surface. While the technology has been around for several years, it has become quite popular more recently. The FDA has cleared this for marketing for fat cell destruction in the United States.

Radiofrequency emits heat energy and is being used for skin tightening, as well as heating up and destroying fat cells. A larger area, such as the abdomen or flank, can be treated in a shorter period of time. 

These skin-bypassing technologies can be effective with a wide range of patients, including those with darker color skin that may experience discoloration with a laser.

What outcome should patients expect? 

You may notice results as soon as three weeks after your treatment, and will see optimal results by two months. At that time, you and your doctor can meet to assess your cosmetic improvement and consider additional procedures, as each one results in an incremental fat layer reduction. You may also want to consider procedures on other areas of your body.

 Updated March 3, 2016

The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. is the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to promoting research, education and high standards of clinical care in the field of medical laser applications. It provides a forum for the exchange of scientific information and participation in communicating the latest developments in laser medicine and surgery to clinicians, research investigators, government and regulatory agencies, and the public.

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