6 Awesome non-surgical options (available now and in the near future) to help you ditch the extra fat
Everyone loves to tell you how to get rid of those extra pounds, like it's so easy. "Put down the donut." "Go to the gym." "Be less stressed." "Drink 30 gallons of water each day." "Get 23 hours of sleep." "Cut out carbs." "Do cardio all day, everyday."
There, now you have everything you need to get thin and svelte. You’re welcome.
So, what are you waiting for? Have you lost any of that fat yet? No? How about now? Still no? Sheesh, you’re lazy!
Oh, you have a life and you’re busy? What, you work? You have kids and they have busy lives too? You've tried all that stuff and realized that after having babies and dealing with the Earth's gravitational pull for so many years; there are certain areas or pockets of fat that no amount of sit-ups, juice fasts, miracle creams, or vitamins can fix?
Why didn't you say so? Because we're not having an actual conversation, you say? Got it, I also get that these areas you speak of (well, I'm speaking of) contain the kind of bulge that doesn't like to budge. So, what's a gal to do? (I imagine you asking.)
Well, I researched like a maniac and spoke to one of the most amazing docs out there and holy crap, there are a ton of options and they seem to be getting better by the minute. They're already using fat dissolving injections and I'm pretty sure, at this rate, we'll be able to eat a fat dissolving candy bar within the next decade (maybe by the time you're done reading this piece).
Here are the best FDA-Approved options currently available and what's coming down the pipe… to be on the lookout for!
1) Think Cryo, Brrr - Freezing the fat to death, literally.
WHAT: Yes, this is the concept behind the CoolSculpting you've heard sooo much about over the past 5 years. This was discovered after scientists gained an understanding of what happens when you get frostbite: Fat cells die before the skin does.
HOW: It chills the fat cells to just above freezing. This causes the fat cells treated to die over a few month period. They are then broken down and eliminated from the body, without harming the tissues around it. Sections of fat are put between paddles and sucked in by the device … then frozen.
WHO: This is for relatively isolated areas of fat that are pinch-able enough to fit into the paddles. This means, it will not work for everyone or in every area. It's difficult to use in areas where the hand-piece doesn't fit the body contour like, arms thighs etc.
PROS: Relatively painless, there is no downtime, it takes about an hour per section, it has been shown to reduce about 20% -25% of the fat.
CONS: It may take up to 4 treatments, depending on how much fat you have and how your body reacts. Results are not as consistent as lipo. There can be bruising. You may need to do more than one section.
PS - A million years from now, no one will discover your discarded stomach fat in a block of ice, which is good to know.
2) Melt Your Fat Away: Ultrasound energy to destroy fat tissue in precise areas.
WHAT: LipoSonix, whose tag line is - "One treatment, one hour, one size smaller." It uses (HIFU) high intensity focused ultrasound.
HOW: The ultrasound waves heat the fat to melt it, which stimulates the immune system to eat the damaged fat cells and get rid of it like waste. Your skin and the tissue below the fat are not injured.
WHO: People with trouble spots and fat in isolated areas. You need at least one inch of fat under the skin, but it doesn't need to be pinch-able, like CoolSculpting. You should be close to your ideal body weight with BMI less than 30.
PROS: It provides about a 1 to 2 inch reduction in circumference. It works on many areas like the abdomen, inner and outer thigh, saddlebags, love handles and possibly arms. No anesthesia. No downtime. Takes about 45 to 90 minutes. Usually, only one treatment is necessary.
CONS: Takes 1-4 months to see results. Because it's strong enough to work in one treatment, it's been found to be more painful than most non-invasive treatments.
3) *AWESOME ULTRASOUND ON THE HORIZON (to get excited about): UltraShape -- which has been used in other countries, may be the newest and hottest trend when it's approved (hopefully, early 2014)! It uses unfocused (non-thermal) ultrasound. It's painless, can be used anywhere, and the results have been consistently positive in studies. You will need multiple treatments, but it may revolutionize the industry.
4) Go New Age:
I didn't mean New Age in a OK, I don't mean that in a let's all meditate together and wish fat away while chanting something that would make us seem totally crazy not to mention beyond narcissistic. I'm talking sci-fi type stuff like radio-frequency devices and magnetic pulse.
WHAT: VelaShape, which received an extremely high responder rate in studies, Exilis, Apollo, TruSculpt, VenusFreeze and others.
HOW: Like many of the other treatments, heat is used to destroy fat cells.
WHO: People with minimal fat to lose, who are looking for skin tightening for sag (postpartum), and some cellulite reduction.
PROS: They're good for smoothing, can be used head to toe (if this little piggy is too big). They work on cellulite reduction which the other methods do not, and they have a skin tightening effect. There's no downtime and patients report a warm sensation.
CONS: They can help remove fat, though don't have a specific FDA fat clearance. They usually take many treatments.
5) New Kid on The Block: (Maybe better than Joey McIntyre!)
WHAT: Vanquish, which is the first to use focused radio frequency, without making contact with your skin. You read that correctly, it doesn't touch the patient (I'm picturing a fat reducing body scan, and I'm not so far off).
WHO: People who want to get rid of those last few inches. Maybe you have a big event, like a wedding or the Oscars or you're done fighting stubborn areas.
HOW: Sensors access the fat and determine the energy necessary during treatment. The energy heats the fat to destroy fat cells.
PROS: No pain. No downtime. Doesn't touch your body. Treatment takes a half hour. Can lose up to 60% of targeted fat. There may be a tightening effect. May see results after one treatment.
CONS: May have some tender or pink areas (which coincidentally, is how I like my steak). It takes 4-6 treatments. Results may take up to a couple weeks after last session to show up.
INNOVATIONS WORTH WATCHING:
6) Stick it to me: Injections may be used to stimulate metabolism of fat tissue to reduce fat in specific areas. Lithera is still in trials, but has had positive reports as did ATX-101 from Kythera. This deserves an entry in the captain's log.
OK, there are some A-MAZ-ING options out there. The key is to find a board certified plastic surgeon to pick what's right for you (it's not about the wand, it's about the magician). These devices need to be used properly by experts to get the best results. Also, try to find an office that offers multiple options, so that you and your magician, ahem, doctor, can make the best choices.
For this article, I consulted with Dr. Jason Pozner an ASAPS member from Boca Raton, FL.