Post #22 Zap, Freeze, or Heat That Fat?
In Podcast Episode #17 Karen discusses some of the techniques for nonsurgical fat reduction.
There are a few different ways to get rid of your unwanted fat. As if anyone has any wanted fat; it’s all unwanted! After checking yourself out in the mirror, have you ever just wished you could get those love-handles and that flappy arm fat sucked right off, but the thought of undergoing a liposuction procedure makes you cringe? Apparently, there are quite a few nonsurgical alternatives to liposuction and you just have to decide if you want to freeze it, melt it, electrify it, inject it with acid, or ultrasound it off. Also, all of these procedures are non-invasive, don’t require anesthesia, have very little down time and complications, and are FDA approved. They also permanently destroy the fat cells! Too good to be true? Maybe not…
When it comes to killing fat cells there seems to be a lot of choices and many different methods out there. I’ll start by going over some of the more well-known and popular ones.
Freeze that fat with Cryolipolysis:
· One of the most popular nonsurgical fat removal methods, it works by freezing the fat cells.
· The practitioner literally vacuums the skin above the area of fat into a wand-like device which uses freezing temperatures to break down the fat cells.
· The cold doesn’t damage the other cells the way it does the fat cells and there’s no damage to the skin or underlying tissue. The body then flushes the dead fat cells out through the lymph system
· The procedure takes about an hour and has no recovery time. Some people according to MedicalNewsToday.com report soreness at the treatment site similar to post-workout soreness or a strained muscle.
· It can take 4-6 months for the body to flush the fat cells and for the area of fat to shrink.
· Each session can reduce the fat by 20-25%
“Melt” that fat with Laser Lipolysis :
WarmSculpting with SculptSure AKA laser lipolysis:
· Instead of freezing the fat cells, it uses diode-laser energy (aka a hot laser) to destroy them. It heats them to about 107 deg.
· It penetrates the skin and heats only the fat cells, no other body tissue, until they’re too damaged to survive and the body then flushes the dead fat cells out through the lymph system over the next few weeks.
· The procedure takes about 25 min., with no downtime afterwards and you can go right back to work
· According to RealSelf.com, you lie back in a reclined position and special frames are placed on the area you want treated, then the SculptSure device is wrapped around you like a body belt.
· You can get multiple areas treated at the same appointment
· You will feel immediate cooling and then heating sensations
· Some people find this particular procedure painful and require pain meds or valium
· The areas you’ve had treated will be sun sensitive for awhile
· Each session can reduce the fat by 20-25%
· Not only non-invasive, but supposedly painless
· Uses radiofrequency energy to heat and destroy fat cells, while leaving the other, nearby cells unharmed. As with the other treatments, your body will flush out the dead cells over time.
· No downtime whatsoever and no pain- just warmth in the treatment area
· You will recline and the practitioner will hold the Vanquish device about an inch above the area you want treated. You will feel a mild warmth like a heating pad… takes about 45 min for belly and love handles and 30 min for thighs
· Plan on about 4 treatments a week apart to get your desired results
· You wont start seeing results until after 2 weeks and full results in 4-8 weeks.
· Rarely, your skin can get temporarily red and inflamed
Some more “fat cell killers”:
· UltraShape – uses ultrasound energy to heat fat cells until they burst
· Kybella – uses in injections of a synthetic form of deoxycholic acid (naturally occurring enzyme) to dissolve fat. Great for small areas like under the chin.
- You can get a lot of swelling in the injection area though
- Only good for small pockets of fat
- You’ll need multiple treatments spaced about 6-8 weeks apart
- Works best on younger people
Kill fat cells AND tone those muscles with High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic Energy:
· Emsculpt – can create muscle definition and burns fat in your butt, abs and obliques.
· Uses electromagnetic pulses to the muscle and creates, according to realself.com, “supramaximal” muscle contractions. One 30 min session produces almost 20,000 muscle contractions and causes the neighboring fat cells to break down and supply energy to the muscle. These fat cells are damaged to the point where the body just naturally eliminates them.
· A paddle-like applicator attached to the Emsculpt machine will be strapped to the targeted area.
· Its intensity is gradually increased and supposedly doesn’t hurt. The higher the intensity, the better the results
· Can be used to treat diastasis recti (separation of the abs)!
· Best for people who do not have too much excess fat, but want more muscle definition
· Great for people who don’t have enough fat for the other body contouring procedures
· No recovery time, but you will be sore. And, so far, reported to be safe
· According to Dr. Michael Persky, MD it offers the equivalent of 20,000 crunches or squats in a 30 min period
· People on RealSelf are reporting visible results after 4 sessions and a huge increase in muscle tone. (Increased muscle tone to an already muscular physique?)
· Average muscle mass increase of 15% and fat reduction of 19% after 4 sessions
· Doesn’t work if you have a few extra pounds to lose- your fat literally blocks the effectiveness of the magnetic coil.
· DON’T use if you have a pacemaker, heart issues, a history of seizures, or any condition that makes being near an electromagnetic field dangerous!
How much does all of this cost?
It all costs a lot! It’s expensive to kill your fat! Since these are all cosmetic procedures, they will not be covered by health insurance. Also, with all of these procedures, you can expect to have multiple sessions to get to your desired fat removal goals. These are averages according to RealSelf.com and it will vary according to what type of practitioner you go to and your area.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
· CoolSculpting - averaging out to about $4000, depending on the size of the treatment area and the size of the applicator
· WarmSculpting with SculptSure – Average cost is $2,200
· Vanquish – Average cost is $2000
· UltraShape – Average cost is $2500
· Kybella – Average cost per treatment is $1400 and you might need several treatments.
· Emsculpt – Average cost is $3500-$4000
The Bottom Line:
Yes, all of these fat killing procedures will work, and they are all FDA approved. Some of them have more studies than others and some have been around longer than others, so do your research and try to get real, word of mouth recommendations if you can. All of the procedures have a few minor risks. These are mostly pain and soreness in the treatment areas and sometimes little lumps (which can be massaged away) have been reported. It’s recommended that you massage the treated areas after your procedure and drink a lot of water. This will help your body to flush the fat cells.
Also, I have to say that every single one of the articles I read on this subject said that these procedures really only work for people who already eat healthy and workout. They can help you to remove those stubborn areas of fat that don’t respond to exercise. It’s definitely not a quick fix or something you use instead of a healthy lifestyle. There are a lot of before and after photos online and on the relatively fit people you can see a definite reduction in fat, but in the old and out of shape, there’s not much of a difference. Hmmm…