When it comes to completely altering one’s body, most individuals often first think of surgery as their only option. With technology advancing more than ever and with tried-and-true techniques still around today, there are alternative options to body contouring that do not require surgery.
Most aestheticians working within the medical space have been exposed to a variety of alternatives.While plastic surgeons will often tell clients that surgery is the most guaranteed way to alter their body, more specifically to remove fat, surgeons also understand that there are many reasons why someone may not want to go under the knife. Many of the treatments mentioned in this article can be performed or supervised by a licensed aesthetician working in medical aesthetics depending on which state one is in.
There are two main FDA-cleared, non-surgical methods used in medical spas as alternatives to traditional liposuction for fat reduction – lipolysis and cryolipolysis. Better known as melting fat using a laser and fat freezing. These are in-office procedures that have zero downtime, and both forms of treatment should result in the apoptosis of superficial fat cells. The common areas treated include the abdomen, love handles (flanks), back, chin (submental) area, and the inner thighs and outer thighs. With each method, clients will have paddles attached to the area of fat on their body and undergo a short session of 30-minutes or less. No numbing or needles are required. Once the fat cells have been destroyed, they are flushed out of the body through the lymphatic system. The client is advised to massage lightly around the area after the treatment to induce the lymphatic system flow for proper drainage of the destroyed fat cells.
While both forms have their pros and cons, similarly they require multiple sessions for each area treated, (generally around two to four sessions).Although this is a non-invasive treatment, the caveat to this would be the price point,as it is not so far from one traditional liposuction treatment. Clientswill see about a 24% reduction in the fat of an area after a series of treatments using this methodtypically after 12 weeks.
This is a favorite solution to body contouring because with muscle toning fat loss comes as well, though minimal. There are a variety of methods in this category as well. One method that has been around for years is microcurrent, andwithin microcurrent, there are many forms as well. Depending on the areas of the body themedical spawill focus on, this may determine which microcurrent device is used. Microcurrents stimulate the muscles by sending electrical signals to targeted muscles through multiple electrodes placed on a muscle. This method works and trains muscles to tighten and tone. Microcurrent generally requires multiple sessions anywhere from six to 10 individual sessions per area treated.
Another muscle toning device that is FDA-approveduses high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy to trigger supramaximal contractions of the targeted muscles. This treatment uses large paddles to target the abdomen or buttocks. Additionally, it may be used with other paddle attachments to treat the arms and calves.
Muscle toning treatments have zero downtime which makes for an easy appointment to pop in and out for a quick 30-minute session. This specific device suggests four treatments per area twice a week for two consecutive weeks. The goal is to engage the muscle and work on strengthening it for maximum toning benefits. As mentioned before, the bonus side effect is that while the muscle is working out, it is using the energy supply stored in fat cells breaking them down, thus reducing fat. It should be noted that with this method one sessionproduces nearly 20,000 muscle contractions –that is like doing 20,000 sit-ups.Clients usually see a 19% reduction of fat and a 16% increase in muscle mass after completing a series of this method of muscle toning.
This is the most common method for body contouring. Many aestheticians have performed lymphatic massage and lymphatic drainage at some point in their careers. Lymphatic drainage may not be the ultimate in body contouring, but it does help to some degree.While alone it may not yield massively significant results, adding it to a fat reduction treatment series may be the best in eliminating excess fat. This method also has zero downtime and is completely non-invasive. There is a multitude of ways lymphatic drainage can be conducted from manual, manual with tools, to suction cups and suction cups machines.
The goal of lymphatic drainage is to eliminate waste in the body, also known as detoxification. The areas of the body that react best to lymphatic drainage for body contouring are the areas that retain the most fluid like the abdomen. With the modality of choice, the aesthetician will focus on manipulating the body’s fluid from areas of retention to the nearest lymph node. These lymph nodes are the filtering sites of the body that filter out the toxins of the fluid and are processed through the body’s waste elimination. When this treatment is performed, it is also advised to have the client drink lots of water to help flush out the waste. Lymphatic drainage a few times a month can help curb the abdominal bloat and keep the belly in check.
It is important to remember that not everyone is a candidate for anyone's particular non-surgical treatment. Many of the treatments need to have realistic expectations set by the provider to ensure the client’s goal is achievable or not. Additionally, always emphasize the importance of maintaining healthy eating habits and keeping up with regular exercise in conjunction with these methods. The best results come from client compliance and consistency. It is best to not only adhere to the recommended series of treatments consistently set by the device company but also to comply with eating healthy and drinking plenty of water. These treatments would not yield results if a client did any version of these body contouring methods and continued to eat fries and drink soda. Non-surgical body contouring should be the little push a client might need on their journey to their desired shape, not to a means to an end. It is important to keep the communication channels open between the aesthetician and client regarding the extent of treatments and results, above all client commitment is a must.
Ashley Bernardi comes from a dental background where she assisted a periodontist in surgeries for over 11 years. Her background as a registered dental assistant has helped her gain immense knowledge in the healthcare industry, practicing safe and sanitary procedures, as well as exceptional client care. Bernardi received her aesthetician license in 2019 and has found a passion for providing results-driven treatments to her clients as an aesthetician. Bernardi specializes in advanced aesthetic treatments, preventative treatments, antiaging treatments, and corrective chemical peels. She is passionate about staying educated on current research in order to further advance in the skin care industry. Bernardi’s most recent achievement was her participation in the Allergan Aesthetics Advisory Board. She believes that investing in the skin is a benefit that lasts a lifetime. Her goal is to help clients by providing education and treatments for preventative care. She understands the need for her clients to be healthy and happy with themselves, both inside and out.