Body contouring is a commonly requested improvement requested by patients. But which method should one choose? As there are many options for body contouring which are available, it is important to understand which is the best for you. Speaking to a specialist regarding your issue is important before making your decision.
1. Healthy lifestyle
One cannot overemphasize the need for a healthy lifestyle with adequate exercise and a sensible diet. An endocrinologist colleague likens the body to a bank account. If you keep depositing calories and do not withdraw calories through exercise, your bank account (fat) will grow. This applies both before your body contouring procedure and after- maintaining the result is desirable and avoids one having to repeat it.
2. Non invasive options
There are a plethora of non invasive options out there and these are offered by doctors and non-doctors. These are complementary to the surgical methods and in mild cases with small fat collections, are actually better than the surgical options. These include Cool-sculpt which applies a cold plate to cause the fat cells to dump fat and Liposonix which uses a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to treat fat deep beneath their skin. These are methods which work in certain conditions and do not, in general, give a dramatic result. Their advantages are low down time and lower risk.
3. Surgery for body contouring
We reserve surgery for body contouring for patients with significant collections of fat. These are patients where the non-invasive methods would not give a significant result. Our most common surgery for body contouring is VASER Liposelection. This is a method of ultrasound assisted liposuction. The ultrasound energy helps emulsify the fat and also causes skin contraction of the overlying skin. It is an effective method for body contouring where there is good skin tone or mild skin laxity. As this is an invasive surgery, it is recommended that this be done by a specialist plastic surgeon in an operating theatre. In lower volumes, this would be in a day surgery centre but if the amount of fat is going to be large, an overnight stay may be required.
In patients who have significant skin laxity, we will advise the patient to undergo a procedure to tighten the overlying skin envelope. In the abdominal area, a procedure called an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck would be recommended. If there is a ventral hernia, perhaps from a pregnancy, then this would be repaired at the same sitting. If there is laxity of the skin of the arm, a brachyplasty can be done and, in the thigh, a thighplasty can be done. These are more extensive surgeries done in an operating theatre by a specialist plastic surgeon with an inpatient stay of between 2 and 4 days.
There is no question that there are different solutions for different patients. Indeed, there are patients with small collections who can be treated successfully with non-invasive methods with less downtime and low risk. However, patients with larger collections or loose skin would best be treated with a surgical procedure. It is important to consult a specialist doctor who can offer a spectrum of treatments, both non-invasive and invasive, so that you are most likely to get the best solution for you.
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