Patients may seek out body contouring for a variety of reasons. They’ve lost weight, but it hasn’t helped their lower tummy. They want smoother thighs before the summer season. Whatever it is, people who want a less invasive option than surgery will likely contact a practice like yours for more information.
Broadly speaking, all of these non-surgical options are called lipolysis, which is the process of breaking down fats and lipids into glycerol and free fatty acids through hydrolysis. In our bodies, the purpose is to free up these fatty acids so we can use them for energy.
The natural version of lipolysis happens when we exercise and use more calories than we eat. The clinical version of lipolysis happens through the following four methods. Use the pre-treatment consultation to understand what exactly the patient would like to change and determine the best solution to help them achieve their goals.
Cryolipolysis: This is when extreme cold is applied to a specific part of the body and destroys fat cells. The first FDA-approved cryolipolysis machine arrived in 2010 and targeted the flanks.
Injection lipolysis: This method injects deoxycholic acids, which then target fat cells to kill them. It was first used in Italy in the 1980s and has since spread all over the world.
Laser lipolysis: Similar to injection lipolysis, this method uses lasers to destroy fat cells. It is also called laser liposuction.
Radiofrequency lipolysis: This last method uses heat and ultrasound waves to destroy fat cells.
Body contouring is used for many parts of the body including arms, thighs, back, belly, sides, buttocks, neck, and chin. Remember that not all methods are approved for all parts of the body. Before trying a new method or tool or working on a new part of the body, verify that it’s approved by the FDA.
The risks and most common side effects of non-surgical body contouring include hives, rash, pain, soreness, redness, swelling, and undesired results that could necessitate additional treatment sessions. Educate the patient on potential side effects prior to treatment so they’ll have more realistic expectations.
Ideally, the patient will see the results they wanted shortly after the procedure. On the off-chance that this doesn’t happen and you don’t hear from them, check in after the treatment to learn about the lasting effects they’re experiencing. This helps you be proactive and shows the patient that you care.