(Bloomberg) — Believe it or not, there are ways to reshape your body that fall somewhere between the diet and exercise route or going the way of scalpels and fat-suctioning.
In 2020, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported a decrease in noninvasive fat reduction, cellulite treatments, and nonsurgical skin tightening, but as we slowly come out on the other side of the pandemic after two years, doctors are noticing an uptick in the number of patients looking to lift, tighten, and tone their bodies with the help of technology.
“One of the biggest trends we are seeing is a growing interest in overall body contouring to truly shape your ideal body,” says Dr. Arash Moradzadeh, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Patients are coming in asking for the whole package.” According to Yelp, searches for traditional body contouring were up 35% and for Emsculpt up 24% in 2021.
There are a variety of noninvasive, no-downtime treatments available, but there’s no quick fix. Results often take months to become visible. “Summer bodies are made in the winter,” says Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, founder of PfrankMD. Memorial Day is three months away, so now is the time to tighten butts, dewrinkle elbows, and jump-start your summer body prep.
Cottage cheese butts can come out of hiding with the advent of QWO, the first injectable approved by her Food and Drug Adminsitration to treat moderate to severe cellulite in adult women. “The injections work to dissolve the buildup of collagen in the fibrous bands, which are bands under the skin that thicken and cause tension and the ‘dimpled’ look of cellulite,” explains Dr. Bruce Katz of JUVA Skin and Laser Center in New York. As of now, the treatment is FDA-approved only for buttocks, but Dr. Katz uses of series of deeper injections in varying directions to treat thighs as well. A butt treatment takes about 10 minutes, with three sessions required. Expect bruising that lasts for one week and a smoother derriere around the 10-week mark. QWO hit the market in 2021; while data suggest long-lasting results, the jury is still out.
Butt and Arms
For those who are generally fit and toned but want more definition, Emsculpt will lift butts and define arms. “It uses highly focused electromagnetic energy and redistributes fat through long-hold muscular contraction,” says Dr. Shirley.Madhère, a holistic plastic surgeon who founded Jet Set Beauty Rx. “It typically results up to 19% fat reduction and up to 1 1/2 inches of fat loss.” Dr. Frank uses Emsculpt NEO to treat biceps and triceps and calls a 30-minute session the equivalent of 20,000 bicep or tricep curls.
Age, fluctuating weight, and implant removal can contribute to breast sagging. Traditionally, going under the knife was the ideal way to fight gravity, but InMode’s BreastTite delivers a bit of perk. “It’s like the Botox of the breast, where it improves your skin for a more youthful breast,” says Dr. Jacob Unger of Nashville’s Maxwell Aesthetics. “Standard surgery only interacts with the tissue along the excisional line, and BreastTite uses radio frequency to remodel and tighten the breast skin envelope to deliver a more elevated and youthful result to the entire breast.” When combined with Morpheus8’s deep fractional treatment capabilities to remodel collagen, an invasive procedure can be avoided.
Denver-based plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory A. Buford and Dr. Paul M. Friedman of Houston, president-elect of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, use EON on patients who need an abdominal tuneup. This touchless system uses a robotic arm to simultaneously deliver fat-reducing laser and skin-cooling technology for minimal discomfort. Results are visible in 12 weeks and the dead fat cells are discarded through the body’s lymphatic system.
For those who want to reduce fat and build muscle—and can tolerate what feels like mini karate chops to the gut, combined with muscle contractions—TruBody is the way to go. This treatment uses TruSculpt iD radio frequency technology to melt fat and muscle stimulation to add up to “a workout on steroids,” according to Dr. Nina Desai, an anti-aging specialist out of Sugar Land, Texas. “You get 50,000 contractions of each muscle group being targeted in 15 minutes. Together they are a powerhouse to provide strength and contour, shaping an overall improved physique.”
Knees and Elbows
Dr. Anne Chapas’s patients love Thermage because it treats lax, crepe-like skin on the body in a single 45-60 minute office visit. “Thermage uses radio frequency technology to heat the deeper collagen-rich layers of the skin,” says the director of Unionderm, a New York-based cosmetic dermatology group. “This heat causes collagen to contract and encourage new collagen to grow.” Knees and elbows are noticeably smoother after one treatment, but results improve after two months to six months.
Uneven Skin Tone
A newly molded physique deserves a rejuvenated complexion. BBL Hero utilizes BroadBand light to treat sun damage, hyperpigmentation, freckles, and redness on all areas of the body. Quick pulses of light are passed over the skin to target and destroy pigment and stimulate cell rejuvenation. (A person’s back may take 10 minutes to treat.) Patients may feel the skin warming, though not enough to require a topical numbing agent. Users should refrain from tanning in the weeks before the procedure; those with deeper skin tones, says Entière Dermatology founder Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, should find a doctor with expertise in richer pigments.