Non-Invasive Skin Tightening and Fat Removal: Does It Really Work?

Treatments that work through the skin to reduce the fatty layers and tightening of the skin without surgery, are considered non-invasive. These devices currently utilize ultrasound, radiofrequency energy or a combination of them. All of these devices are designed to deliver energy to fat and collagen cells within the skin to reduce the fatty layer and secondarily reduce body circumference and in some cases tightening of the overlying skin envelope. Important points to consider are:

  • 4 to 6 treatments may be required
  • Treatment time takes 20 to 60 minutes
  • Results may last up to 6 to 12 months
  • The technology works best for those who maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow a proper diet
  • Maintenance treatments are required for maintaining results
  • The most commonly treated areas are the neck, abdomen, arms and waist

I have found that the best candidates for this non-invasive fat removal are:

  • Those who require the avoidance of surgery
  • Those who understand that results are slow to appear but with the continuation of their treatment plan adequate results can be attained
  • Those whose budget can’t tolerate surgery
  • Those who require no downtime

The most commonly used devices are:

  • Thermage® which is a non-invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to tighten and contract collagen fibers that lie deep in the skin, reducing the appearance of fat in the process. The drawback with this technique is that many patients feel it is too painful.
  • Viora/Pelleve’ are also a radio-frequency devices, however it relies upon bipolar technology, which I find to be much less painful.
  • Cryolipolysis is a developing, non-invasive fat removal technology.   It claims to use cold to kill fat.  The claims are that, this fat-freezing process not only destroys unwanted fat cells, but also leaves surrounding tissue and skin unharmed. Again, most patients relate a certain amount of discomfort with this technology.
  • LipoSonix is a technology which uses high-intensity ultrasound to warm, “melt,” and remove pockets of unwanted fat. As with several other non-invasive techniques, dissolved or melted fat is naturally filtered out of the body via the lymphatic system and eventually excreted through urination. LipoSonix is still in development and has not received FDA-approval for use in the United States.

I have used all of the above technologies and feel that they are reliable devices for fat removal. I currently use Pelleve for facial cases and Viora for fat reduction and skin tightening of the body. Both of these devices employ radiofrequency energy to tighten the skin and to reduce fatty deposits.  I prefer this technology because it has produced excellent results over my 4 year experience in the treatment of 500 patients and there is the added benefit of producing relatively no discomfort during the procedure.

This patient presented with a desire to tighten the loose skin of his neck.  He underwent 6 treatments and his 2 month results are presented.

Before Skin Tightening After Skin Tightening

Future Posts will include: surgical neck tightening, short scar neck tightening, wrinkle reduction (the greatest and latest).  To receive a non-solicitous reminder email for these future posts, just hit the follow button on the right.  Stay Well           Joseph Rucker M.D.

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