On important days and special occasions, we want to look our best. However, it can be challenging to target stubborn body mass with exercise in order to look ideal in time for our big events. Fortunately, body sculpting can be used to contour and reshape areas of the body. Traditional body sculpting methods are performed to reshape an area of the body under anesthesia, using operational plastic surgery. But, with non-surgical body sculpting, there are ways to get similar effects without going under the knife.

The Skin Report is a podcast created to educate listeners on methods to improve skin health for people of all ethnicities and ages. On this episode, host Dr. Sethi introduces listeners to the world of noninvasive body sculpting. Body sculpting is a treatment that involves surgery, downtime, and the risk of scarring. Noninvasive body sculpting is a different, safer, and less-expensive method for achieving similar results without surgery. Listen to this episode to hear Dr. Sethi explain these noninvasive sculpting methods, how they work, and who they are best suited for so you can decide whether to use them in preparation for your next event.

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This transcript was exported on July 25, 2022 -view latest version here.

Skincare can sometimes feel overwhelming. Whether it’s finding the right products, ingredients, or treatments, there’s a lot out there, but not always for women of color. That’s why I set out to educate myself and others so that we can all feel beautiful in our skin. Hello, and welcome to The Skin Report. I’m Dr. Simran Sethi, an internal medicine doctor, mom of three, and CEO and founder of Renew MD Medical Spas and Skin by Dr. Sethi. Today, I want to talk about body sculpting, particularly noninvasive body sculpting, what it is and when you should start so that you look the best on your big day.

Last week, I talked about how to prep your skin for your or someone else’s wedding. If you haven’t already, go back and check out episode nine of the skin report. Today, we’ll be chatting about body sculpting, the different procedures offered, and what they do. So, what is body sculpting? Body sculpting or contouring is the process of reshaping an area of the body using anesthesia and operational plastic surgery, for example, surgical liposuction. In 2020, over 200,000 lipo surgeries were performed, according to statistics published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Though COVID was a factor, the numbers of liposuction have been going down since 2000, where as many as 350,000 surgeries were performed.

You’re probably wondering why that is the number of lipo surgeries have not gone down purely due to demand, but because there are less invasive ways to achieve permanent reduction in areas that were previously only treated with surgery. In today’s episode, we’re going to focus on those procedures.

Surgical body sculpting is certainly a choice, but it is a better choice for excess fat or skin removal after losing a considerable amount of weight. Surgical body sculpting requires a lot of downtime and runs a risk of scarring, infection, and a longer period of discomfort. Even though it’s a good option for excess fat and skin, it is recommended for people with a BMI of 40 or higher when the elasticity of the skin is more likely not to regain its original form as prior to weight gain. However, if you are looking for a treatment that will target stubborn fat in a certain area, noninvasive body sculpting may be the way to go. By non-invasive, we’re discussing body sculpting treatments that don’t involve cutting into the skin like surgical liposuction does. This makes noninvasive body sculpting a safer and more economical choice which does not lead to scarring or any post-treatment downtime.

The most common and safest non-surgical treatments in the medical aesthetics market and used at Renew MD are Sculpsure, EmSculpt Neo, and FlexSure. So, what are these treatments and how do they work? How are they different and who are they best for?

Before we get into the treatments, I want to first say that no treatment removes every single fat cell under the skin. While all the treatments permanently destroy a significant percentage of fat cells, the body always needs a layer of fat below the skin to protect muscles and give the skina tighter plumper appearance. This also means that your lifestyle, diet, and exercise are equally important in maintaining results after a non-invasive and even surgical body sculpting procedure. Your medical aesthetics provider should and will give you aroadmap and guide for understanding your treatment plan and what are the key lifestyle choices to make during and after your treatments so you see the best results. Results do happen, but making sure their steady and sustainable is the biggest factor. However, if you’ve made lifestyle changes to improve your health and appearance, but still struggle with stubborn fat ,body sculpting may give you that extra push you need.

I want to first tackle Sculpsure, which is an FDA approved treatment that uses a laserto melt fat cells in 25-minute sessions at a medical spa like Renew MD. The Sculpsure laser is tailored to reach the layer of fat beneath the skin. The laser is a light source and light is energy. When that energy is focused on fat cells, they heat up, becoming unstable, and eventually break apart. In essence, the laser breaks down the fat cells, dissipating them permanently. Your body then removes these dead fat cells through the lymphatic system. The laser has been customized so that the Wave lengths only target fat, and other tissues are left untouched.

The great thing about Sculpsure, which gives it an edge over other sculpting procedures, is that it permanently removes fat cells. Once an area has been treated, up to 25% of fat cells will be treated andbroken down by the Sculpsure laser. These specific fat cells do not return, meaning there are fewer fat cells in that area for your body to store fat. Now, this does not mean that the fat cells that are left behind won’t grow bigger. This is also the casewith surgical liposuction. Even if you do not make new fat cells after your late teens, you can still make your existing fat cells grow larger. This means that the fat cells that are naturally being left behind will grow bigger if you do not maintain a healthy weight. This is why I say all procedures, surgical and nonsurgical, are semipermanent, which means that your lifestyle and you are an equally important part of the equation. Getting the best results and maintaining results is up to you. And no matterwhat treatment you do, it will only be optimized with your actions.

When you choose Sculpsure, don’t let the word laser frighten you. During the treatment, you’ll feel a warm sensation on the skin that is balanced out by a cooling system every 20 seconds.Sculpsure is mostly painless, but some people still experience moderate discomfort. After the treatment, the area treated may have some moderate soreness and sometimes swelling, but this is significantly lower than what would happen with surgery. Another positive attribute to Sculpsure is that in the process of penetrating the layers of skin to reach the fat layer, the laser will pass through and stimulate the skin cells to create some skin tightening. While this tightening is not very significant, it doesreduce the appearance of mild dimpling in the skin once volume has been lost. So, while the main objective and goal of Sculpsure is to melt fat, you’ll also walk away with a more toned and firm look. When we return, we’ll cover EmSculpt Neo and FlexSure as other body sculpting treatment options.

EmSculpt Neo is another FDA cleared treatment that not only reduces and melts fat, but it also helps to build and define muscle. It is the first and only noninvasive sculpting treatment that helps to build muscle. While Sculpsure uses the heat of the laser to work its magic, EmSculpt Neo utilizes electromagnetic energy as well as radiofrequency technology to engage the underlying muscles. The electromagnetic energy causes contractions that will in turn release fattyacids. The release of fatty acids results in fat cells dying, a process called apoptosis. EmSculpt Neo doesn’t necessarily reduce weight. Instead, it eliminates fat cells while also stimulating muscles to help define the area being treated. Interestingly,EmSculpt Neo can also be used to help with bad back pain, and has been proven by numerous studies to date. An effective and noninvasive method for improving back pain is by strengthening core muscles by doing exercises such as sit-ups and crunches. However, for patients who experience crippling back pain, this is not always possible. This is where EmSculpt Neo steps in.

Results vary for every patient, but typically, you can start to see results after the second session. This goes both for Sculpsure and EmSculpt, as your body needs time to break down, transport away fat cells, and adjust to all the changes. However, EmSculpt and Sculpsure can be used in tandem to see the best results in four sessions that usually last 30 minutes each. In fact, in certain parts of the body, like the Abs, EmSculpt and Sculpsure can be used in tandem to stimulate waist reduction and tightening. If you are prepping for a wedding, I would begin six months to a year in advance. As we discussed in our previous episode, six to 12 months before the wedding gives you plenty of time to see if you like the treatment and want to pursue it as well, as gives you plenty of time for follow up sessions if needed.

Sometimes certain parts of the body like arms, inner thighs, and knees do not respond well to treatments like Sculpsure. For such areas, we can use a device that wraps around the body part to better and more comfortably target areas like arms, inner thighs, or other tough spots. The final noninvasive treatment we’ll discuss today is FlexSure, which uses a peel and stick applicator to wrap around the body. By wrapping around areas like the arms, which have more skin laxity, FlexSure provides deep, even tissue heating using radio frequency. Luckily, even though you’re experiencing permanent fat cell breakage during the treatment, you’ll just feel like you’re getting a gentle hot stone massage. Additionally, FlexSure doesn’t have a BMI restriction so you can try the treatment no matter what your current weight is. A FlexSure treatment lasts only 15 minutes and usually needs three sessions per area to really have an impact. However, I found that a series of five to six treatments can produce the most optimal results, and usually have my patients come in every two weeks for their treatment. Just like EmSculpt Neo, FlexSure can be combined with Sculpsure depending on the area we’re treating.

We discussed a variety of body sculpting modalities today. Many of these treatments can be combined, and I do so in most cases. None of these treatments haveany downtime. And because they’re non-invasive, they can be safely performed on all skin types without concern for scarring or hyperpigmentation. If body sculpting is something you’re interested in achieving before your special day, it’s important to start the process at least six months in advance, as it takes three months after your final session to get your full results. And in some cases, you may need a few extra follow up treatments to get even more reduction if needed.

Before we hop off today, I wantto mention that although all of these treatments are safe, there are some situations where I would not recommend them. If you are trying to target lots of excess fat, Sculpsure is not ideal as it’s best for spot reduction. Typically, individuals with a BMI greater than 30 may not find sculpture useful. However, I’d like to point out that BMI does not take into account muscle, and muscle is heavier than fat. A consult in person is always required before any fat melting treatment to determine which treatmentor combination of treatments will give the best results.

It’s also advised to not try sculpture or any other fat melting treatment during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Also, if you have a condition that you are unaware of or are experiencing symptoms that may need medical attention, please seek medical attention first and foremost before trying any treatments, including noninvasive treatments. Lastly, if you have a tattoo in the area that you want to do body sculpting treatments on, you may want to reconsider body sculpting. If the tattoo has metallic ink, something that can be composed within the ink itself, this will potentially conduct the laser’s energy and may cause burns. An alternative to laser fat melting in this scenario is i-Lipo or ultrasoniccavitation, which I did not discuss today, but will in a future episode.

Preparing for your big day can feel overwhelming and stressful. While these body sculpting treatments are a great way to tone and tighten, it’s almost more important to take care of yourself. Remember to stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, and get some movement throughout the day. And that could be anything, walking, yoga, CrossFit, or sports. These activities will also help improve the results of your treatments. So, as you reach your big day or someone else’s, you can try out these aesthetic treatments or simply do your best to reduce stress.

If you have a skincare question or want to make an episode topic recommendation, please message me at theskinreportbydrseti.com, which is linked in my show notes, and I’ll be sure to answer your question in an episode soon. Thank you all for listening today. I hope you have a great summer full of fun plans and glowing skin.

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