Skin Deep

Skin Deep: The skinny on non-invasive body contouring

There’s no doubt that the biggest aesthetic advance we’ve seen so far this decade has been the rise of nonsurgical fat-melting treatments. From cryotherapy to ultrasound, these no-downtime, body-contouring procedures are poised to make liposuction a thing of the past, and the options are expanding with UltraShape.

UltraShape has been performed on more than 200,000 patients in more than 50 countries around the world, and this past spring it received FDA approval for use in the United States.

Approved for the reduction of fat deposits on the tummy, lower back, hips and thighs, UltraShape yields visible improvement without bruising, swelling or discomfort during the treatment itself; patients average a loss of four centimeters in circumference after a series of three treatments.

UltraShape works by sending ultrasound energy to a targeted layer of fat, where it instantly and selectively destroys fat cells. Because UltraShape does not use heat to eliminate unwanted fat, the treatment is comfortable for patients both during and after treatment. Doctors who have used UltraShape abroad also report a comfortable patient experience, and results that are often visible long before the six-week mark. And just like liposuction, results are long lasting when a stable weight is maintained after treatment.

Liposonix is another ultrasound-based, body-contouring treatment. While both Liposonix and Ultrashape harness ultrasound to destroy fat cells, there are a few differences. Liposonix can be painful, but results are achieved in only one session. On the other hand, there is little to no discomfort associated with Ultrashape, but three treatments spaced two weeks apart are recommended for ideal results. Something else to consider is timing: Many doctors say Ultrashape results are visible sooner, with some patients seeing improvement in two weeks, as compared to up to eight weeks with Liposonix.

As with other noninvasive fat-melting and body-contouring procedures, UltraShape and Liposonix are not meant to be a means of weight loss. The ideal patient has a BMI of 30 or less (see what yours is here), and is already leading a healthy lifestyle. So if cardio or Pilates isn’t doing anything for particular problem spots, UltraShape or Liposonix might be for you.

Dr. Leslie Baumann is a board-certified dermatologist, New York Times best-selling author and CEO of Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute in Miami.