Non-surgical body-sculpting treatments (the hallowed Kardashian favourite) are on the rise, claiming to help whip you into shape without endless sessions sweating it out in the gym or undergoing risky surgical procedures like liposuction. But is it really that easy? What does it actually involve? Is it safe? Here’s everything we know.
What is body-sculpting?
Body-sculpting typically refers to treatments that destroy fat cells without surgery. Some of the procedures work by freezing fat cells, others use penetrated heat through radio-frequency or ultrasound therapy, promising to help reshape your abdomen, thighs, bottom, thighs and upper arms among a number of other areas over the course of a number of sessions.
\How do body-sculpting treatments work?
The treatments all work in a similar way. They work by breaking down fat cells, which your body’s lymphatic system eventually flushes away within a few months. Some treatments claim that, after treatment, those areas are less likely to accumulate as many fat cells in the long term.
What body-sculpting treatments are available?
Cold treatments (such as CoolSculpting)
Did you know the idea that fat cells could be frozen away came about after a medical study of children who had lost fat in their cheeks? They discovered the common factor was that they had been sucking on ice pops for long periods of time. Low and behold, CoolSculpting (otherwise known as cryolipolysis) came along, helping kill the offending fat cells by blasting them with a suction vacuum that is applied to the desired area, where the fat cells can be frozen to -11, until they crystallise. This can be used on most of the body including the chin, arms, abdomen, love handles and thighs.
Ultrasound treatments (such as UltraShape)
These types of procedures involve, you guessed it, the use of ultrasound to break down fat. Rather than being hooked up to a whizzy machine, UltraShape involves a technician manually moving around your body with a device that uses a mechanical vibration to break down and destroy fat. This is mostly used for the abdomen.
Radiofrequency treatments (such as truSculp and Vanquish)
These treatments deliver energy to create a heat that eventually destroys fat cells. They target water in the cells so it’s advised that patients hydrate well beforehand.
Do body-sculpting treatments hurt?
Most of the cold and hot treatments do involve some pain, more of a stinging or burning sensation, but because the treatments are short (most around 25 minutes) it’s a grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it kind of pain.
Unless their surgical equivalents, they don’t require anesthesia, there’s no downtime and most can be done in your lunch break. The treatments are normally offered in sessions – from two to four, depending on the treatment you choose and the area you’re treating.
Are there any risks?
As with any surgical or non-surgical cosmetic procedure, there’s always an element of risk and any decision to undergo a treatment should not be taken lightly.
In the case of body-sculpting, the most common risks are bruising around the treatment area, as well as tingling, stinging or aching for a couple of weeks afterwards. There are rarer but more serious complications to fat freezing treatments, including paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, which is when the fat cells grow larger rather than smaller as a result of treatment.
Ultimately, a balanced lifestyle is the most important way to live your life.