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Sharleen St. Surin-Lord, MD
Stubborn Belly Fat What's New?
Visage Dermatology and Aesthetic Center
. http://www.visagederm.com/

Stubborn Belly Fat What's New?

Even people who exercise daily are plagued by stubborn belly fat unresponsive to diet and exercise. Don't feel helpless, there are many safe procedures designed to help you get rid of stubborn fat despite your current efforts.

Invasive vs. Non-InvasiveFat Loss Procedures

Invasive fat removal procedures include liposuction and laser lipolysis, which melts fat with a laser probe and then uses liposuction to suction the fat cells (a two-step process). Non-invasive procedures are non-surgical and either freeze or heat the fat cells away. None of these treatment modalities are meant to replace a healthy diet and regular exercise and they are not methods by which to lose weight.

The prices tend to be higher for surgical procedures, especially when you add time off, medications, and post-surgical garments. Body contouring procedures are meant to get rid of excess fat and take inches off of your abdomen, waist, love handles, back, and/or saddle bags. They do not improve your heart, health, or your cholesterol. Nonetheless, they do make you look and feel better in your clothing and let's face it when you look good, you feel good.

Invasive = Surgery

Liposuction. Tumescent liposuction is performed by injecting dilute local anesthetic into the treatment area and then using a liposuction cannula to literally suck out the fat. This is an effective form of fat removal with long-lasting results. But if you put on an extra 10 pounds, be ready to kiss your results good-bye. Surgical procedures are not for everyone and sometimes patients are required to lose weight before undergoing these procedures. Invasive procedures also require recovery downtime, pain medications, and compression garments that can be costly and must be worn for six weeks post treatment.

Non-Invasive = Non-Surgical

Body Wraps. Body wrapping is not scientifically proven to help with fat or weight loss. After a wrap, one may lose inches, but this may simply be due to dehydration and water loss. The results are variable, unpredictable, and short-lived.

Radiofrequency Devices. These devices deliver radiofrequency energy to the deeper layers of skin, speeding up metabolic activity and breaking apart the fat cells. At the same time, collagen production is stimulated, to help tighten skin. There is some discomfort and continuous hydration is important to flush away the fat. Exercise is recommended to optimize results. Four to six sessions are generally recommended to achieve optimal results. Touch-up treatments every six months can help maintain results.

Ultrasound Devices. Ultrasound energy is used to penetrate through the skin layers and into the targeted fat tissue without harming skin or surrounding tissues. Newer ultrasound devices use high-intensity focused ultrasound energy to non-invasively destroy targeted fat. If you're close to your ideal shape, with a little fat, ultrasound technology is appropriate. Results are typically seen in 8-12 weeks (which is the time needed for the body to naturally process the treated fat).

Low-Level Laser/Cold Laser. Low-level/cold laser exposure disrupts fat cell membranes, causing them to leak and the fat cells to then collapse. Anesthetic is not required and there is no downtime. Six 40-minute sessions, 48 hours apart, over the course of two weeks are required. More treatments may be required with these modalities.

Cryolipolysis = Freezing Fat. CoolSculpting has been on the market since 2009 and it is the only device on the market that freezes fat for good. CoolSculpting kills 25% of fat cells in 35 minutes. A large suction cup sucks the pinchable (or pooch of) fat and holds it for 35 minutes without affecting the overlying skin. The fat cells undergo a slow death by being frozen and the dead fat cells are naturally cleared by your body's immune system over a couple of weeks. Results are seen within four weeks, with maximum results at 3-4 months. Only one treatment is normally required, depending on how much fat you would like removed. There is no downtime as you may return to you activities on the same day of treatment.

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