Non-Invasive Fat Reduction in Louisville, Lexington, Kentucky

Losing inches without surgery and downtime has become incredibly popular in recent years, and why wouldn’t it? Today’s plastic surgery patients want legitimate methods for fat reduction that are quick and easy to fit into their busy schedules.

The gold standard for total body contouring has been some type of liposuction. Numerous methods of liposuction are being used today including laser-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, power-assisted and water pressure-assisted. Most of these require a general anesthetic or at least a local anesthetic with an oral or intravenous sedation. Non-invasive fat reduction usually does not require any type of anesthetic and very little, if any, downtime. Most patients can return to their normal activities the next, or even same, day.

Without liposuction, there are basically three different ways that one can reduce body fat: freezing, heating, or chemical dissolution. The freezing of fat is called CoolSculpting® and has been around for several years. During treatment, an applicator is placed over the area of undesired fat and with suction, the fat and skin are drawn into a chamber that becomes cold very quickly. Each application takes one hour. Typically, more than one application in an overlapping type fashion are used to obtain a smooth result. Up to 50% of the fat exposed to cold will undergo a programmed cell death in a 2 to 3 month time. The remnants of the fat cell, as well as their intracellular fat stores, are excreted by the normal metabolic pathways of the body. To fully benefit the procedure, our spa incorporates acoustic sound wave therapy as an addition to the freezing of the fat. The adding of the sound waves from a machine called Z-wave, breaks up more cells causing their ultimate death than freezing would alone. We call this CoolSculpting® Plus.

Another method used to reduce fat non-invasively uses heat, most commonly using some type of a radio frequency generator. Radiofrequency waves bombard the treatment area causing small molecules to vibrate very quickly, creating an internal friction that generates heat. By heating fat to around 46° for more than 10 to 20 minutes, it has been shown that up to 60% of the fat cells exposed to that degree of heat will undergo a programmed cell death at 10 to 15 days after exposure. Again, the remnants of the fat are excreted by the body. Many machines on the market today utilize this heating concept; our spa includes Exilis and Vanquish. Exilis has the ability to not only heat the fat, but also heat the skin causing it to contract and shrink. Vanquish uses an array of multiple radiofrequency antenna that apply the energy over the surface area of the entire abdomen. The fat is heated while the skin remains a tolerable temperature, usually no more than 43°C.

Heat can also be generated through focused ultrasound. The heat generated by focused ultrasound causes immediate fat destruction. However, the heat generated by these machines makes them more uncomfortable than other non-invasive modalities. Because of the pain associated with this treatment, we have chosen not to include them in our array of machines.

Chemicals such as deoxycholic acid and phosphatidylcholine have been used in the past in a mixture called Lipodissolve to chemically dissolve fat. After just a few years of its use, most practitioners have abandoned it due to the marginal results and painful recovery. That mixture was then banned for use by the FDA. Recently, Kybella® has been introduced using only deoxycholic acid in a lower concentration than what was available in Lipodissolve making it far more tolerable. Kybella is mainly used today for small, fatty accumulations below the chin, sometimes called a double chin. It is injected very comfortably through a very small needle in multiple areas based on the patient’s fat distribution and sometimes requires multiple treatments at 4 to 6 week intervals. Some patients may need one treatment other patients may need as many as four.

With so many choices in non-invasive fat reduction today, patients need to rely on sound guidance from a practice like ours that offers many options from the most invasive treatments such as a tummy tuck to the least the invasive like CoolSculpting® Plus. All options are always more beneficial with a healthy diet and regular exercise.