- Body Contouring
by Kole Plastic Surgery Center
One of the most desired aesthetic improvements amongst men and women is the removal of excess fat that causes embarrassing bulges on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms, back and other areas of the body. Liposuction is the most traditional method for removing fat, but with advances in techniques; you have a choice of how Dr. Kole removes your stubborn fat. The two best methods are advanced liposuction techniques and CoolSculpting™.
Liposuction may be referred to as:
- Suction-assisted fat removal
Since the 1920s, physicians have used various techniques for removing fat from the body, and the first procedures were first performed in France. Liposuction remained an obscure procedure until the 1980s, when millions of adult men and women were looking for new ways to tone and tighten their bodies. Liposuction offered the perfect option because the patient did not have to undergo a large excisional surgery or experience a prolonged recovery. Instead, the procedure only requires very small incisions through which a suction tube, known as a cannula, is inserted. The fat was loosened by using a back-and-forth motion, and the cannula suctioned out the dislodged fat. Today, liposuction is the most popular cosmetic procedure in the country according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
The incisions for liposuction are only 1/8” in length, and most patients are comfortable with only local anesthesia. General anesthesia or sedation is usually not required for smaller procedures. The incisions are so small that Dr. Kole typically does not have to use sutures to close them. The incisions give him access to the pocket of fat. He uses an IV fluid to assist in dislodging the fat, which allows him to create natural contours. Once he is satisfied with the amount of fluid in the tissues, Dr. Kole inserts the cannula and suctions out the fat. The pieces of fat are carried through a special tube and emptied into a plastic medical container. Using his skill and expertise, Dr. Kole works carefully to maintain smooth and even contours. During the procedure, he will pinch the treatment area to determine the amount of remaining fat.
CoolSculpting™ stands apart from liposuction because the system removes fat without incisions. The technology was developed by ZELTIC Aesthetics, Inc., and was approved by the FDA in 2010. The treatments remove fat from outside the body by using cryolipolysis to freeze fat cells. The cells are then absorbed and eliminated by the body naturally.
Researchers at Harvard University first discovered the method for freezing fat cells that led to the development of the CoolSculpting™ system. The catalyst for the research was a number of reports that described infants developing dimples in their cheeks after having frozen popsicles on a regular basis. The dimples resulted from a reduction in fat cells in parts of the children’s cheeks. Over time, the scientists found that techniques that relied on freezing fat cells could eliminate 20% to 25% of fat volume in the treatment area. Results are best after one to three treatments.
For your CoolSculpting™ procedure, Dr. Kole marks the skin to guide him during the treatment, and the treatment area is covered with a protective gel pad. Next, he positions the CoolSculpting™ device on the skin and turns on a vacuum that pulls the skin into the device. Inside the applicator are cooling panels that freeze the fat cells over a 1 hour time period. The skin is released from the device, and Dr. Kole breaks up the frozen fat with a gentle massaging motion. The muscles, nerves and skin are not affected, but you may have some numbness for a few hours after treatment.
Comparison of Liposuction and CoolSculpting™
Advantages of Liposuction
- Complete fat removal
- Recommended for patients with larger pockets of fat
- More precise control and contouring
- Quicker results
- Can be combined with other procedures, such as surgery to eliminate fat
Disadvantages of Liposuction
- Poses some degree of risk due to its surgical nature
- Several days of downtime
- Two to four weeks recovery
- May result in small irregularities on the skin surface
Advantages of CoolSculpting™
- Non-invasive — no incisions required
- Little to no downtime
- Risk is minimal
- Affordable alternative to liposuction (cost varies by extent of treatment)
- Perfect for men and women who do not want surgery
Disadvantages of CoolSculpting™
- Recommended for making smaller, less dramatic improvements
- May cause irregular, uneven results
- Although rare, fat increase and pain is possible
- Appropriate only for smaller treatment areas that do not exceed the size of the vacuum device
- Treatment areas must be flexible enough to be pinched into the device
In some cases, both liposuction and CoolSculpting™ can result in hanging skin once the fat is removed. Patients with less elasticity in their skin are at greater risk for developing sagging skin. In these cases, Dr. Kole recommends tummy tuck or arm lift surgery to remove the loose skin and fat simultaneously. For most men and women, though, liposuction and CoolSculpting™ work quite well in eliminating unwanted, stubborn fat.