Here’s the Skinny on How to Look Slimmer this Spring

As spring settles in, many of us start to assess how ready our bodies are (or aren’t) for swimsuit season. For years, liposuction has been the go-to option for people who want to get rid of fat from trouble zones such as their thighs, buttocks and belly. Today, there are highly effective non-surgical options available for the right candidates. 

There are a lot of benefits to going the nonsurgical route to reshaping your body. Of course, these treatments are not for everyone. Consider this your non-surgical spring slimdown guide, complete with everything you need to know about the top non-surgical body contouring procedures and whether one of them is right for you.

Choosing between Liposuction and Nonsurgical Options

As you consider your options for achieving a slimmer silhouette, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of nonsurgical procedures vs a surgical solution such as liposuction. In order to make the best decision, it’s important to understand what happens during each procedure, what kind of results to expect and who is a good candidate.  

Liposuction: A Tried-and-True Body Contouring Solution

Liposuction is still hugely popular, but recent advancements in nonsurgical techniques offer some very promising alternatives.

Liposuction is the most popular plastic surgery procedure among both men and women, and for good reason. It is a very effective way to eliminate exercise-resistant fat from targeted areas of the body. During liposuction, a plastic surgeon removes fat from unwanted areas using a small handheld tool called a cannula. 

Liposuction has evolved over the years, and the techniques and tools used today are far more sophisticated than before. A skilled and experienced plastic surgeon can take a multifaceted approach to liposuction in order to more effectively and precisely sculpt your figure.

Advantages of Liposuction vs Non-Surgical Methods

  • Liposuction tends to produce more dramatic results than non-surgical alternatives.
  • Since fat cells are physically removed during the treatment, liposuction results can be seen sooner than with non-surgical methods such as CoolSculpting®.
  • In general, more fat can be treated at once with liposuction than with non-surgical treatments.

Disadvantages of Liposuction vs Non-Surgical Methods

  • Non-surgical body contouring procedures could be included as part of a mommy makeover.

    Liposuction is major surgery, and carries with it all the risks inherent with any surgical procedure.
  • You will have to be put under anesthesia and will subsequently need someone to drive you home from surgery and stay with you for 24 hours.
  • There will be pain and discomfort during your recovery.
  • Your activities will be restricted while you recuperate and you’ll have to take time off work.
  • You will likely need to take prescription pain meds for relief in the initial recovery stage.

If you’re not sure whether liposuction or a non-invasive procedure is better for you, schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced with body contouring procedures.

Your Body Contouring Consultation

When you schedule a consultation to help you decide between liposuction and non-invasive slimming procedures, it’s your chance to get to know a plastic surgeon and his or her staff. In order to determine which treatments might work best for you, your plastic surgeon will examine you and discuss your goals and your lifestyle. You should understand your options and get clear, honest answers about the procedures you are considering.

What to Ask at Your Consultation

  • Are you board certified? If you are considering having liposuction, it is imperative that you only have it done by a plastic surgeon who is board certified. This ensures that he or she adheres to the strictest standards in health, safety and quality.
  • How experienced are you? It’s okay to ask a plastic surgeon how long he or she has been doing liposuction as well as how often. Liposuction is a delicate procedure and a plastic surgeon who is skilled and experienced can customize it to fit each person’s unique anatomy and aesthetic preferences.
  • Who does your non-surgical treatments? When you talk to your plastic surgeon about non-invasive body contouring procedures, find out about the credentials and qualifications of the technicians working under him or her.

Looking at Results Photos

A really important part of any consultation is looking at before-and-after pictures of other people who have had the procedures you’re considering. Here are some pointers to help you know what to look for when you’re checking out that before-and-after portfolio.

  • Make sure it’s clear which procedures the people in the photos have had and whether they had a combination of procedures, as well as how many treatment sessions they had.
  • Always check that the angle and type of lighting is consistent in both images.
  • The subject should be standing in the same position in both photos.
  • Photos should not be digitally manipulated.

Things to Tell Your Plastic Surgeon

To give you more accurate and valuable advice, it’s very important for your surgeon to get the whole truth about you, your lifestyle and your goals. Tell him or her:

  • Your medical history and whether you have any current conditions. If you do, you may want to consult with the doctor who treats you for it and get the go-ahead for any procedures you’re considering.
  • Your weight loss story: If you have lost previously lost weight, make sure to tell your plastic surgeon. Include information about how you lost the weight, whether it was through bariatric surgery, diet and exercise, or hormonal weight loss methods. It’s important for him or her to know how long ago you lost the weight and whether it has been comfortable for you to maintain your current weight. If your weight has been fluctuating, it’s best to get it under control otherwise you risk losing your body contouring results when you gain weight back again.

    Being honest about your health and lifestyle habits at your consultation is necessary if you want to get the best results possible.

  • Your lifestyle and habits: Tell your plastic surgeon a little bit about the type of diet you eat, and whether you get enough sleep. Most importantly, tell your doctor if you smoke, drink or take any other substances or supplements.
  • Your goals and expectations: Tell your plastic surgeon what you hope to achieve from having a slimming procedure. It’s not a bad idea to bring pictures to better illustrate your idea of ideal results. Depending on your starting point and what you hope to achieve, your plastic surgeon may recommend one or more body contouring procedures.  

Now, let’s look at two of the most popular and effective noninvasive slimming procedures, CoolSculpting® and Cellfina™ to help you decide whether one of them is the right choice for you.

A Brief History of CoolSculpting®

Borne of a very simple concept, CoolSculpting® has revolutionized the beauty world and the way we deal with fat loss. It started with two researchers and their observation that children who frequently sucked on popsicles seemed to develop dimples on their cheeks. Further investigation showed that fat cells will die off if exposed to particular temperatures for a period of time.

In addition, it was discovered that fat cells are much more sensitive to the cold than other cells are. This means that if cold can be applied in a very precise manner, the tissues surrounding the fat will not be damaged. These fascinating breakthroughs were used to develop the science of cryolipolysis, or what we know as CoolSculpting®. There is no similar procedure currently available.

What Happens during CoolSculpting®

During CoolSculpting®, a special applicator is used to apply the cold. The temperature is monitored and controlled very precisely to optimize results and prevent freezing or damage to surrounding tissues. Most people do not experience discomfort beyond the initial cold sensation, which tends to subside after the first few minutes. The cold will stimulate the fat cells to crystallize and ultimately die.

If you’re thinking about a nonsurgical spring slim down with CoolSculpting®, don’t have it done just anywhere. It’s important to work only with a certified provider who has been specially trained using cryolipolysis. It’s always best to work with a medical spa that is run under the guidance and supervision of a board certified plastic surgeon. 

Choosing a qualified CoolSculpting® provider means better results for you.

Consider finding a facility that offers DualSculpting, where two areas are treated simultaneously. This cuts down on overall treatment time. Something else to look for is a practitioner who does “stacking” of treatments. This refers to having an area treated, warming it up, then treating it again. Stacking this way can reduce or eliminate the need for follow-up treatments and give you more comprehensive results, faster. Gradually, the crystallized fat cells are eliminated from your body via the natural functions of your immune system

What to Expect After CoolSculpting®

You’ll be able to go right back to your regular activities after having CoolSculpting®, though you may experience some mild swelling and slight discomfort. Since it takes time for the fat cells to leave your body, it takes time to see the results from CoolSculpting®. Most people are able to see some change after a few weeks, with the final results developing around 3 months or more after treatment.

Being a Good Candidate for CoolSculpting ®

If you’re considering CoolSculpting®, you have to ask yourself the right questions. Here are some signs you might be a good candidate.

  • You have stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise.
  • You are in good general health, but struggle with “problem areas.”
  • You can maintain a steady weight.
  • You want to look slimmer without having surgery or downtime.
  • You’re at or close to your target weight.

Cellfina™ 101

Like CoolSculpting®, Cellfina™ is a revolutionary procedure. While CoolSculpting® eliminates fat, Cellfina™ is designed to treat cellulite. Because of the nature of cellulite, figuring out how to get rid of it has been a seemingly impossible task. Until now. Thanks to a team of dermatologists who sought to solve the cellulite problem, Cellfina™ was developed. Before you can understand how Cellfina ™ works, it’s helpful to know a little more about cellulite.

A Few Words about Cellulite

There are a lot of misconceptions about cellulite, like the myth that you can exercise it away.

Cellulite is a source of frustration for many and while most of us can agree that we don’t like it, many of us don’t know the facts about cellulite. Here are a few things you should know.

  • Cellulite is not reflective of a person’s weight. Weight loss will not necessarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, just as someone who has always been thin can have cellulite on their body.
  • Dietary changes won’t work on cellulite. Eating healthy is important for your overall health and fitness. Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of cellulite by eating oatmeal for breakfast every day or giving up a potato chip habit.
  • Exercise isn’t the solution for cellulite, either. Exercise is a good thing and you should be working out regularly to keep your whole body fit and healthy. However, no amount of time spent on the elliptical machine is going to erase cellulite.
  • Cellulite is caused by fibrous bands of tissue. These bands, called septa, restrict the movement of fat cells and pull at the skin, causing the dimpled look of cellulite.

How Cellfina™ Works

Cellfina™ starts with the administration of a local anesthetic in order to make the treatment more comfortable.  A suction cup will be placed over the area to help hold the skin steady and allow for more precise treatment. A fine needle is then used to carefully cut those dimple-causing bands, eliminating cellulite one dimple at a time.

What to Expect after Cellfina™

After having a Cellfina™ treatment, you should be able to resume your regular activities immediately. You may experience some discomfort, which can be alleviated using over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Your plastic surgeon may suggest wearing compression garments during the first week after your treatment. This can help to minimize swelling.

You may see some mild bruising around the treated areas. This is normal, and should subside within a few days. Red dots may appear at the treatment sites, but this is also temporary. Since no incisions are made during Cellfina™ treatment, there should be no scarring. You may be able to see some results from treatment in as little as 3 days. After 3 months, the results should be noticeable and may even continue to develop after that.

Being a Good Candidate for Cellfina®

It’s best to be in good general health and ensure that you have a healthy outlook when it comes to body confidence and beauty. Here are some other ways to tell that Cellfina™ might be right for you.

  • You are unhappy with the appearance of dimpled skin on your thighs or buttocks.
  • You feel that cellulite makes you look less healthy or older than you actually are.
  • You are at or within about 10 pounds of your ideal body weight.

Combining CoolSculpting® and Cellfina™

Depending on your body and your aesthetic goals, you may find that your best results can be achieved by combining CoolSculpting ® and Cellfina™. These procedures can complement one another very well, since stubborn fat pockets and cellulite are not mutually exclusive. CoolSculpting® can carve out those bulgy areas that won’t go away and Cellfina™ can release the cellulite dimples that persist even after getting rid of the excess fat. You may be advised to have the treatments at separate times. In many cases, it’s best to have a CoolSculpting® treatment first, then return for Cellfina™ after any swelling has subsided.

The Limitations of Body Contouring Procedures

Talk to your plastic surgeon or practitioner about whether a combination of CoolSculpting® and Cellfina™ might be the best way to help you reach your goals.

While the procedures discussed in this guide can produce beautiful results and facilitate dramatic transformations, they are not the solution for everyone. Here are some things you should know about what body contouring treatments, both surgical and nonsurgical, can’t do.

  • Body contouring procedures will not make you lose weight. While it’s possible to lose a marginal amount of weight due to the removal of fat with liposuction or CoolSculpting®, these should never be considered weight loss procedures. However, people often appear as though they’ve lost weight after having excess fat sculpted away.
  • The results last as long as you maintain them. Though these procedures are highly effective, the results won’t last forever unless you do the work to make sure they do. This means eating a healthy diet and working out regularly to prevent fat from returning to the treated areas.
  • They won’t help with excess skin. Often, people who are struggling with cellulite or fatty trouble zones also have some sagging abdominal skin. The only way to effectively eliminate this is by having a tummy tuck. This is another reason it’s good to see a plastic surgeon. He or she will be the best person to help you decide if you might be a good candidate for a tummy tuck in addition to, or instead of, nonsurgical slimming procedures.