We know how frustrating it is to spend hours at the gym each week and eat well but still not see your desired results. The hard truth is that genetics, hormones, and a busy lifestyle can all make it virtually impossible to lose lingering fat pockets or carve out a six-pack without some extra help. If this sounds like you, body contouring may be just what you need to enhance your existing diet and exercise regimen. But with so many new body contouring technologies available, how are you to choose the one that fits your aesthetic goals, anatomy, and timeframe? Read on to find out.
- What is body contouring technology?
- Does body contouring permanently destroy fat cells?
- What are my body contouring options?
- Which body contouring technology is the best?
- Body contouring technologies for men vs. women
- Body contouring devices vs. body contouring surgery: which is better?
- Where can I find body contouring in Houston?
What is body contouring technology?
Body contouring technologies include a range of devices that reduce the size of subcutaneous fat pockets (fat deposits that sit beneath the skin but above the muscle) and/or tighten tissues. These devices employ various technologies, including radiofrequency, electromagnetic energy, cryolipolysis, ultrasound, and/or lasers, to accomplish their goals. While some body contouring technologies are non-surgical (such as Emsculpt® and CoolSculpting®), others, like BodyTite®, are considered minimally-invasive because they combine radiofrequency energy with liposuction.
In general, body contouring technologies work best for men and women who are in overall good health, have a BMI under 29, and would like some additional assistance sculpting their physiques.
Does body contouring permanently destroy fat cells?
Like liposuction, body contouring technologies destroy fat cells, preventing treated fat cells from storing fat again; however, fat cells in other areas of your body will still be able to grow. This means your body contouring results should last as long as you maintain a stable weight and adhere to a healthy lifestyle.
The good news is that proportion changes (i.e. making your belly smaller in comparison with areas around it) should remain fairly consistent even when you do gain or lose a bit of weight, as you will have less fat cells in the treated areas.
Body contouring permanently destroys treated fat cells; fat cells in other areas of your body will still be able to grow.
What are my body contouring options?
As we mentioned, there are a dizzying number of body contouring technologies on the market, with new ones being added each year. At Basu Aesthetics + Plastic Surgery, we offer Emsculpt, CoolSculpting, and BodyTite because of their impressive safety records, consistent results, and overall patient satisfaction. Of course, we also offer liposuction as a traditional body contouring method.
Which body contouring technology is the best?
Ultimately, the best body contouring treatment will depend on your personal goals and lifestyle. We’ve provided descriptions of our most popular body shaping devices to help you research your options:
About the treatment: Emsculpt uses high-intensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) energy to induce supra-maximal muscle contractions in your abdomen, helping you tighten your core and burn excess fat. Essentially, one 20-30 minutes session of Emsculpt is like doing 20,000 crunches, squats, or biceps curls.
Who it’s for: Emsculpt is ideal for men and women who need help toning and tightening their abdomens and want to lose a little extra belly fat while they’re at it. Emsculpt can also make exercise easier and more enjoyable by tightening the core and trimming the waistline. Postpartum women who have loose or separated abdominal muscles (a condition called diastasus recti) are also ideal candidates for Emsculpt.
Treatment areas: Emsculpt is FDA-cleared for use on the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, arms, and calves.
Downtime & recovery: Emsculpt treatments take as little as 30 minutes. You should wait a full day to exercise your treatment areas.
Results: Most patients see the best results with 4 Emsculpt treatments performed in a 2-week period. A 5th treatment may be recommended within several weeks to further optimize your results.
Who it’s for: CoolSculpting is specifically designed to eliminate or reduce stubborn fat pockets without surgery. Good CoolSculpting candidates are in relatively good health but have excess fat in one or more areas they wish to treat. If you’re preparing for a beach getaway, wedding, or simply wish to enhance your shape but want to avoid true downtime, then CoolSculpting is for you.
Treatment areas: CoolSculpting is FDA-cleared for use on the abdomen, hips, thighs, arms, bra line, back, and under the buttocks (banana roll). CoolSculpting can also reduce fat under the chin (double chin) via the CoolMini applicator.
Downtime & recovery: CoolSculpting treatments take about 30-60 minutes each. You should wait a full day before resuming strenuous exercise.
Results: Though many people experience measurable fat loss with just one CoolSculpting treatment, most of our Houston patients undergo 2-4 treatments spaced a month apart to achieve their desired results.
About the treatment: BodyTite uses a “wand” to apply radiofrequency (RF) energy to the skin and underlying tissues. While the wand’s internal probe is inserted beneath the skin to melt away fat and tighten fibrous septae bands, its external applicator applies RF energy to the skin’s surface, stimulating collagen production and tightening the skin. Because BodyTite requires a small incision to insert the wand beneath the skin, and because it requires local anesthesia or light sedation, it is considered a “minimally-invasive” (rather than non-surgical) procedure.
Who it’s for: BodyTite is ideal for men and women who are seeking an alternative to liposuction and want help tightening their skin.
Treatment areas: BodyTite is FDA-approved to treat the neck, arms, bra line, waist, and flanks.
Downtime & recovery: Since BodyTite more closely resembles liposuction than Emsculpt or CoolSculpting, you’ll need to wear a compression garment for about 3-6 weeks following your treatment to assist with healing and reshaping your treated area(s). You should also limit your physical activity during this time.
Results: You should begin to notice results from your BodyTite treatment right away, with full results manifesting as swelling resolves over several weeks.
Body contouring technologies for men vs. women
It’s important to remember that even though the above body contouring technologies are designed to be used by both men and women, their intended results differ for each sex: for men, the ideal body is an inverted pyramid, with broad shoulders narrowing down to a small waist, whereas women are more of an hourglass shape with a small waist-to-hip ratio. While most body contouring devices can help patients achieve these results, respectively, it takes a qualified provider to administer these treatments in accordance with your gender, body type, and goals.
Choose a qualified provider who has a thorough understanding of how body contouring differs for men vs. women.
Body contouring devices vs. body contouring surgery: which is better?
Non-surgical body contouring and body contouring surgery are very different procedures performed for specific reasons:
Candidates for body contouring technologies
- You have a few stubborn pockets of fat you wish to spot-treat (usually on the abdomen, flanks, hips, arms, and/or back).
- You are in relatively good health. Instead of needing to lose weight, you want some assistance in fine-tuning your physique.
- You have relatively good skin elasticity (meaning your skin can easily “bounce back” after pinching it).
- You want to avoid surgery, downtime, and anesthesia. Most non-surgical body contouring patients can return to their normal exercise routines after treatment, unlike liposuction, which can require weeks of physical downtime. Also, non-surgical body contouring does not require any anesthesia (with the exception of BodyTite), while liposuction requires local or general anesthesia, depending on the amount of fat you are wanting to treat and your treatment area(s).
Surgical body contouring candidates
- You have significant loose and/or sagging skin. Surgical procedures like a tummy tuck or a body lift can remove excess fat & tissues and tighten significantly loose skin & muscle. This is beyond the scope of non-surgical body contouring.
- You have a significant amount of excess fat. Liposuction can get rid of about 10 times the amount of fat as non-surgical treatments.
- You want to lose fat in a single treatment session. While most patients typically require 2-5 non-surgical body contouring treatments to reach their aesthetic goals, liposuction can remove unwanted fat in a single session.
- You want to see results as soon as possible. While it may take numerous weeks for post-liposuction swelling to fully resolve, you will be able to observe notable improvements in your shape almost immediately after surgery. In contrast, non-surgical body contouring treatments slowly reveal their results over time and almost always require repeat treatments to maintain them.
Combining body contouring technologies with liposuction
We find that many of our Houston patients obtain the best results from combining body contouring devices with liposuction. While liposuction allows us to remove significant amounts of body fat, body contouring devices such as Emsculpt can be used afterward to build and tone muscles for a more sculpted look.* Emsculpt treatments can also help build up the buttock muscles for gluteal enhancement without surgery, or even improve results after Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) surgery.
Many of our Houston patients combine body contouring technologies with liposuction for advanced body contouring results.
*Note that candidates for non-surgical skin tightening treatments should only have mild to moderate (not severe) skin laxity. If you have more advanced skin laxity, we will likely recommend a body lifting procedure to surgically remove and tighten your excess tissues.
Where can I find body contouring in Houston?
At Basu Aesthetics + Plastic Surgery, we offer Emsculpt, CoolSculpting, and BodyTite at both our Houston and Cypress locations. We also offer DualSculpting™, a process that uses two CoolSculpting machines to treat two areas of the body at the same time, cutting your treatment time in half. Our team of licensed aestheticians, under the care of our board-certified Houston plastic surgeon Dr. C. Bob Basu, are specially trained in body contouring technologies and have decades of combined experience. Learn more about body contouring by scheduling a consultation online or calling (713) 799-2278.
We are now offering body contouring services in our Houston medspa!