According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, body contouring procedures have increased 2.5 times in the past 5 years, and there are more options for fat removal than ever before. Dr Mark Lupin of Cosmedica Laser Centre in Victoria, BC answers a few of our questions on non-invasive body sculpting.
CMDL: There are so many different devices such as CoolSculpting, LipoSonix, SculpSure, etc., all claiming to reduce fat. Can you please describe the top technologies available and how each works? How quickly do you see results? How long do the results last?
ML: As the first clinic in North America to introduce non-surgical fat removal. My office, Cosmedica Laser Centre began with UltraShape many years ago, as featured in Oprah Magazine. We have since seen these non-invasive body focused treatments evolve rapidly over the last few years with many treatment options now available.
CoolSculpting is the most popular non-invasive body contouring treatment. It works by gently cooling fat on areas such as the tummy, thighs and hips, to the point that the fat cells die and are removed permanently by our body’s natural clearing mechanisms. Results are just as permanent as surgery, and many areas can be treated at a time. On average 20-25% of fat in a given area is removed per treatment.
SculpSure and Fotona’s Hotsculpting also remove fat in the opposite way by employing laser lights to gently heat the skin. Heating the skin for a period of time at a certain temperature can also result in fat cells dying off.
UltraShape and LipoSonix are two further treatment options. They both utilize focused ultrasound to remove fat. Ultrashape removes fat by a process called cavitation – essentially jiggling fat cells until they are destroyed. LipoSonix is more painful as it uses ultrasound to heat the fat. In my experience, the results tend to be more modest compared to CoolSculpting.
Radio frequency devices like Vanquish, also work by heating with more varying results.
CMDL: What are the best areas of the body to address and are there devices that are better for certain areas?
ML: Most body areas can be treated. The most popular are the tummy (abdomen), thighs and flanks (love handles). They can also treat fat on the back (bra fat) as well as reduce double chins.
CMDL: In your experience, what is the average age of patients seeking this type of treatment? Is there an age which you are too young or old to have this done?
ML: We see a range of ages for these treatments, 20’s-60’s is most common. As long as you can give informed consent, generally 18 and older, then you are likely a candidate from an age perspective.
These are not treatments for obesity, they are for true body contouring. The ideal candidate is someone who has a good healthy diet, has an exercise plan and is not obese or overweight, but has small areas of excess fat that just will not go away despite healthy lifestyles.
CMDL: Is there anything you can do or take to get better results?
ML: Beyond a healthy diet and good exercise routine, we have found that an oral antioxidant product by GliSODin Skin Nutrients helps optimize results.
CMDL: What are some unique things that now can be done with body sculpting?
ML: In addition to the common areas such as the tummy, hips and thighs, we can now remove double chin fat and can also treat a condition called gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in men). For women, the post-pregnancy tummy can be an issue and we find that CoolSculpting not only shrinks the excess fat but also provides skin tightening for better quality skin.
For patients who have had tummy tuck surgery, there can be excess fat just above their surgical scars. We can improve this by removing some of that unwanted fat to better flatten and shape the tummy.
Another growing area of concern is arm fat which can now also be treated as well.
In addition to removing fat, many of these technologies also stimulate collagen for the improvement of skin texture and gentle skin tightening.
CMDL: Any new technology in this category?
ML: Hotsculpting by Fotona is one of the newer technologies (mentioned above).
Belkyra® is a Health Canada, physician-administered injectable product for permanent improvement of double chins. It also works to remove fat through its active natural ingredient, deoxycholic acid.
CoolSculpting itself has had recent advances with varying sizes in applicators to better address large and small areas. The CoolAdvantage applicator is great for larger body areas as it treats more fat, more comfortably, and in less time. The CoolAdvantage Petite applicator has just been released and Cosmedica is one of the first in Canada to offer our patients these treatments. The Petite applicator treats arm fat. There is also Dualsculpting – meaning some clinics have two CoolSculpting machines to treat both sides of the body at the same time – increasing the speed of treatments.
Cellfina is an exciting advancement in the treatment of cellulite. Unlike all other cellulite treatments, Cellfina appears to be permanent with long-term data of up to 3 years after one treatment proving longevity. It gets to the heart of the problem by releasing fibrous bands that tether down the unwanted dimples on buttocks and thighs. Cosmedica in Victoria, BC, has been fortunate to be selected as one of only three clinics in Canada to help launch Cellfina in Canada. Our initial experience is that Cellfina delivers excellent results and high patient satisfaction.
About Dr. Mark Lupin
is a world renowned Dermatologist and sought after lecturer in the field of non-surgical facial rejuvenation. With many publications to his name and often quoted as an expert in the media, he is dedicated to his patients and advancement of best practices.
Dr. Lupin founded Cosmedica Laser Centre 19 years ago and uniquely qualified in both Dermatology as well in Neurology. He has studied at Indiana University, the University of Southern California, Dalhousie University, University of Toronto and at UBC. He has had extra training at the prestigious St. John’s Hospital in London, England in the subspecialty field of photodermatology – the interaction of light and our skin.
He is well respected amongst his peers in the use of laser technology and is known as the “go-to” person because of his many years of experience with laser safety, physics and advanced techniques.
In addition to medicine, Dr. Lupin is a world class classical violinist who actively performs both as a soloist as well as in his role as Concertmaster of the World Doctors Orchestra, with all concert proceeds donated to help medical charities.