Are you someone who feels self-conscious about extra bits of weight you can’t seem to lose? Do you have excess skin from pregnancy weight-loss or fat-reduction surgery? These problems, while they don’t need to be a big deal, can be debilitating to your self-esteem.
If you struggle with unwanted fat, you may have heard of body contouring. Body contouring procedures offer ways for you to rid your body of excess weight. Some of these procedures are expensive, while others are pretty affordable. Some are invasive, while others require little to no downtime.
Below, discover more about body contouring and your options for different body contouring procedures. You’ll also learn more about the pros and cons of body contouring as a form of weight loss.
Body Contouring Basics
Body contouring refers to any procedure that helps to sculpt your body, leading to a slimmer appearance. Body contouring procedures vary, and some are surgical, while others are non-surgical.
The surgical procedures usually offer the most dramatic results. However, non-surgical body contouring procedures can be perfect for certain individuals. For example, non-surgical usually works for that stubborn fat you can’t seem to lose with just diet and exercise.
The most commonly known body contouring procedure is traditional liposuction, a surgical procedure that can be pretty invasive. Liposuction recovery can also take quite some time. However, not everyone knows of the less invasive options.
It’s important to learn about all possible options before finding the right body contouring procedure for you. Your provider will also be able to help you decide. But knowing some basic information will empower you to make the best choice for your body.
Surgical Body Contouring Procedures
There are a number of surgical procedures designed to help with body contouring. These procedures are invasive and require more downtime than more modern procedures. However, they might be better options for some.
Before choosing one of these options, make sure you speak at length with your doctor. You’ll want to understand the potential risks and side effects. You’ll also want to know what kind of results to expect based on your body’s needs.
Traditional liposuction is generally best for targeting extra fat in the hips, bottom, and thighs. However, keep in mind that traditional liposuction does not rid the body of excess skin after removing the fat.
In addition, patients should understand the liposuction is not a replacement for weight loss. Any body contouring procedure is meant to help shape the body, not remove an excessive amount of weight.
Abdominoplasty is a fancy word for tummy tuck. This procedure is ideal if you want to remove excess weight from the abdominal area. Essentially, this procedure will help you get the body shape you want.
A certain type of tummy tuck will also help to get rid of excess skin after significant weight loss, either from diet and exercise, or from surgery.
You can also choose to get a whole body lift. Alternatively, you can choose to “lift” specific parts of the body, like your arms or bottom area. These types of procedures help to remove excess fat and/or from certain areas. Some areas will require liposuction as well, while others will not.
Again, this is a surgical option and should be considered with care. Make sure to consult a professional and plan your procedures strategically. You will need to be a good candidate for surgery as well.
Non-Invasive Body Contouring Procedures
Maybe you have a little excess fat you want to get rid of but are not interested in surgery. You have non-invasive body contouring options, in that case.
These procedures utilize instruments to keep any trauma to your body and tissue low. This also helps with recovery time.
Cryolipolysis, commonly referred to as CoolSculpting after a specific product, freezes unwanted fat. With this procedure, a tool will cool body fat to break down the fat cells. This allows you to get rid of body fat without damaging any other tissues in the process.
One side effect that, while rare, has been known to occur after CoolSculpting is paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, or PAH. Sometimes, body fat reacts to cold temperatures by expanding and freezing, causing a swelling effect. This creates the opposite reaction than originally intended.
Laser lipolysis is laser-assisted liposuction, which utilizes heat instead of cold to melt fat from the body.
An example of a non-invasive version of this procedure is SculpSure. SculpSure uses a hypothermal device to disrupt fat cells, leading to up to a 24 percent reduction.
A minimally invasive option is Smartlipo, which requires tiny incisions but uses laser heat to melt and remove fat.
One major benefit of laser lipolysis is that the heat also helps skin to appear firmer. These procedures also have very few possible side effects, especially when administered by a talented professional.
Radiofrequency lipolysis is a type of body contouring procedure that makes no direct contact with the patient. In fact, the applicator remains a centimeter away from the skin and administers radio frequency to heat the fat.
A common brand of radiofrequency lipolysis is known as Vanquish.
This procedure is best for patients who already have a firm skin and good tone but want to get rid of a bit of extra fat.
Injection lipolysis utilizes–you guessed it–an injection to help with fat loss. In fact, the procedure requires administering a chemical called deoxycholic acid that disrupts and kills fat cells around the injection.
A common brand of this lipolysis is Kybella, which has been FDA-approved to treat extra fat under the chin.
Patients should expect a fair amount of swelling and multiple treatments for maximum results. However, this treatment is non-invasive with relatively little downtime.
Pros Of Body Contouring For Weight Loss
If you’re looking into body contouring for weight loss, consider all the pros and cons. On the positive side, it’s a great option for people who are hoping to get rid of that last bit of fat in certain areas.
In general, body contouring offers quick results–at least a lot quicker than diet and exercise can provide. Body contouring procedures usually require either one treatment or a series of treatments. But for most procedures, the results show up relatively quickly.
Perhaps one of the most persuasive pros of body contouring is that you can find non-invasive options. If you don’t want to undergo any surgery, the non-invasive options could be great for you.
These options require very little damage to your body and almost no downtime. Many of these options also have very few, and usually rare, side effects.
Another great positive benefit of body contouring is the added confidence you will have when you see your results. When you have parts of your body that you don’t like, even small changes can really boost your confidence. Feeling great about yourself is pretty priceless.
Cons Of Body Contouring For Weight Loss
Even with great benefits, body contouring is not perfect. There are some cons to consider as well.
Not For Everyone
First, body contouring is not for everyone. To be a candidate for many of these procedures, you must be under a certain BMI and only have a bit of fat to lose. Body contouring is not for significant weight loss. So, people who are hoping to lose a great deal of weight should not consider body contouring as a solution.
Potential Side Effects
In addition, some body contouring treatments do come with side effects. It’s important to speak with a professional to make sure you’re a good candidate for body contouring. You never know how your body is going to react to a specific procedure, so proceed with caution.
Body contouring procedures can also get expensive, depending on which one you choose. Some body contouring procedures also require multiple treatments, adding to the cost. Of course, if you really want the procedure, the cost will be worth it for great results. It’s just a personal choice that each person has to make on their own terms.
Katie Caldwell is the content writing and marketing specialist for WIFH, a Laser Aesthetics Clinic and Med Spa recognized as Atlanta’s only Certified Laser of Excellence. WIFH provides top-notch services ranging from skin resurfacing and rejuvenation to body contouring and laser hair removal.