To put it mildly: the facial aesthetics market is flourishing, with injectable treatments such as Botox now accounting for nine out of 10 procedures. But while quietly impactful facial “tweakments” dominated 2020, experts agree that the focus is expanding to include a new generation of non-invasive body treatments that can yield results as impressive as their surgical counterparts – and faster.
“We are seeing non-invasive treatments grow because their minimal downtime means that busy professionals can incorporate sessions into a hectic schedule,” reflects nurse practitioner Shilah Madan at Mallucci London. “In many instances, we can achieve a surgical result with a non-surgical approach,” continues Dr Tracy Mountford, founder and medical director at The Cosmetic Skin Clinic. “We can address the whole body from head-to-toe by treating three key target areas: muscle, fat and skin.”
Evolving technologies mean that, whether you’re looking to debulk, reshape or refine, a multifaceted approach to body treatments has become the norm – and one that enables practitioners to achieve better, more bespoke results for their patients than previously possible, according to Shane Cooper. His eponymous London clinic regularly relies on a combination of 16 different medical-grade machines to address concerns including cellulite and stretch-mark reduction, as well as skin smoothing on the inner thighs, stomach and backs of arms.
One of the most exciting technological advances plays into our collective obsession with fitness. Aimed at supporting and enhancing an existing workout regime, a new wave of treatments build, strengthen and tone muscle by replicating intense twist, squat and crunch actions. TruSculpt Flex, a treatment designed for use on the abdomen, legs and rear, can treat as many as eight areas simultaneously using electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) to replicate 54,000 crunches, lunges or squats in one 45-minute session. “It’s like an electronic personal trainer that really pushes you to continue building muscle and thereby burn fat, ongoing, on your own,” explains Dr Preema Vig, who offers the treatment in her London clinic.
But the procedure is not suited only to gym-goers seeking near-instant abs: EMS can help bed-bound patients recover from muscle atrophy, as well as post-partum mothers who have experienced issues such as diastasis recti (separated stomach muscles) during pregnancy. EMsculpt, another muscle stimulation device, helps address existing conditions by using high-intensity electromagnetic muscle stimulation. “EMsculpt can shape and recontour the abdomen, buttocks and calves,” says Dr Mountford. “As an additional benefit of this treatment, because it strengthens the glutes and the core, it can also improve hip and back pain.”
Combining muscle-building innovations with traditional fat-reducing procedures is a growing practice. Coolsculpting, which banishes stubborn pockets of fat, has been used for years on its own but only recently alongside other protocols to recontour hard-to-reach areas. “We treat a lot of ‘bum rolls’, or ‘banana rolls’,” says Dr Nyla Raja, the cosmetic doctor and founder of Medispa, referring to the double creases that can form where legs and bottom meet. “We use a combination of Coolsculpting to reduce fat and EMsculpt to tone and lift.”
Skin-enhancement technologies are increasingly used to tighten below the neck, too. “Skin boosters and collagen inductors are now used for the whole body,” says Dr Benjamin Kaufholz, an aesthetic doctor at the Dr Dray clinic in London. Treatments such as Teoxane Laboratories’ Teosyal PureSense Redensity 1 tackle signs of ageing using plumping hyaluronic acid injections, while Ultherapy uses micro-focused ultrasound with visualisation (MFU-V) to address skin laxity – and its ability to target the same skin depth as a surgical procedure without any downtime has clear appeal. Medispa Cheshire, meanwhile, is the first UK clinic to trial Ultracel Q+, a body contouring ultrasound device that treats wrinkles and lifts the skin three times faster than any other machine of its ilk.
So advanced are the new technologies that non-invasive treatments on the body are being used to complement traditional surgery. The SkinPen, the world’s first FDA-cleared microneedling device, stimulates collagen and is being used post-operatively to promote improved skin health and appearance. Potenza, a brand-new device, ups the ante by combining radio frequency with microneedling to deliver energy deeper into the dermis for increased results. “Scarring has traditionally been ‘accepted’ as a consequence of surgery, but we are managing to minimise scarring, as well as treating hypertrophic or keloid scars that can sometimes accompany surgery,” says Dr Naveen Cavale, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Real Plastic Surgery. This is the newly expansive arena of full-body tweakments – and they’ve never felt so easy nor looked so good.
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