With summer just a flip away on the calendar, men and women alike tend to start thinking of days spent at the pool or beach—and the shape their soon-to-be-exposed body is in. If an assessment reveals more flab than ab, a person’s next thoughts typically head toward fat reduction. There are several strategies someone looking to shed some inches might employ, from dieting to CoolSculpting®. Los Angeles-area dermatologists Dr. Derek Jones, Dr. Naissan Wesley, and Dr. Jeanette Black frequently meet with patients who want to know their options for slimming down in an image-conscious town known for its near-eternal sunshine.
Three commonly considered strategies in Southern California are lifestyle changes, liposuction, and CoolSculpting®. The Skin Care & Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills team compares and contrasts those so patients can understand what each can—and can’t—do.
When talking about fat reduction, “lifestyle changes” generally refer to eating less fat and exercising more. Right off the bat, know that this is an excellent strategy for getting healthier. Lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and regular physical activity do wonders for building muscle, reducing fat, and maintaining a well-functioning heart. Unfortunately, fat reduction from menu planning and consistent exercise is not something that can be controlled. Two people following the exact same plan can nevertheless end up with wildly different results, with one enjoying a flatter abdomen and the other seeing a shrinking chest. Stubborn pockets of fat can remain in one area, even as another changes drastically, which makes lifestyle changes a gamble for anyone looking to make a cosmetic improvement.
Consider also that dieting shrinks large fat cells, but otherwise leaves them unharmed. A newly smaller fat cell can grow large again under the right conditions, so many people find that they must maintain a strict regimen in order to preserve their results.
One way to address the problem of fat cells shrinking in seemingly random areas is to target them directly for removal. Liposuction is a surgical option offered by plastic surgeons who cut into the skin so they can insert special tubes called cannulas. Once the unwanted fat cells are loosened—whether with manual back-and-forth motion to free them or with carefully directed energy—the surgeon suctions them out.
Since the fat cells are removed from the body, the issue of shrinking and growing is not a concern.
Results are visible right away, but the incisions necessary for liposuction must be sutured closed, and patients must undergo a recuperation and recovery period typical to surgery: Wounds must be kept clean, visible scarring is possible due to the incisions made in the skin, and healing is necessary, especially depending on the specific technique employed.
Another way to get rid of unwanted fat cells is to disrupt them internally, without the need for surgery. CoolSculpting® is a treatment that lowers the temperature of the targeted area to a specific degree—one that “freezes” fat cells while leaving surrounding tissues healthy and unharmed. Once damaged by cold, these fat cells ultimately die off and are processed by the body, gradually reducing the amount of fat—and thereby the size—of the treated area.
CoolSculpting® allows for greater control than diet and exercise, but avoids the incisions and surgical recovery required by liposuction. There are a range of applicators available, so stubborn pockets of fat all over the body can be specifically targeted and treated. Sessions typically last less than an hour.
Note that another fat-reduction option—Kybella®—is a treatment approved by the FDA for use in the submental area. More precisely, it’s a specially formulated injectable designed to reduce a double chin. Like CoolSculpting®, it ruptures unwanted fat cells without the need for surgery, though instead of using cold, it employs a type of acid the body uses in digestion.
The Skin Care & Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills team offers CoolSculpting® for men and women, and is happy to help guide each patient toward the treatment best suited for providing the desired results. Call 310-246-0495 or send a message online.