Cheating Mother Nature: Cosmetic Enhancements and Noninvasive Body Contouring
Instead of aging gracefully, you can cheat Mother Nature with help from a qualified plastic surgeon or aesthetician.
Some trendier treatments are Kybella® (injectable treatment for fat); Dysport® and Botox® (injectable treatments for wrinkles); and Emsculpt® and BTL Vanquish ME™ (noninvasive fat-busters).
Dr. Deborah Farrell, laser and aesthetic medicine specialist, Farrell Plastic Surgery and Laser Center, said, “Dysport® and Botox® are different companies’ versions of a similar product. Both are comparable in structure: a protein derivative of botulinum toxins.”
Either of these products is injected precisely with tiny needles to smooth frown lines, crow’s feet, and other frequent wrinkle locations. It may take up to two weeks to see full results with Dysport® and Botox®.
It may take up to four months to see results with Kybella®, which is used to remove fat cells. It is a deoxycholic acid that solubilizes fats for intestinal absorption.
“It’s a popular treatment for double chins and removing fat deposits on other smaller areas,” Farrell said.
Fat cell removal is permanent with Kybella®. If you gain weight, the remaining fat cells may increase in size, but they won’t increase in number.
BTL Vanquish ME™ burns fat with radio frequency. Alyssa Licatese, owner of Blossom Med Spa in Lancaster, said, on average, 30% of fat cells are killed, resulting in significant loss of inches.
Another effective fat-burner is Emsculpt®, which uses high-intensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) technology to create 20,000 muscle contractions in an area within 30 minutes.
“BTL Vanquish ME™ is best for those who need more fat reduction,” Licatese said. “Emsculpt® is best for those already physically fit and looking for definition.”
Emsculpt® is the only current option for a noninvasive butt-lift.
Farrell consults daily with men and women, teens and adults who want to improve something about themselves. Though fat removal and wrinkle reduction both remain popular reasons to seek cosmetic alteration, Farrell has also fixed many gummy smiles and lifted corners of downturned mouths.
“It can change your whole expression — really give you a boost of self-confidence,” Farrell said.
Most of Licatese’s BTL Vanquish ME™ clients are middle-aged women who want to improve their abdomens, although Emsculpt® and BTL Vanquish ME™ are effective for thighs, backs, and arms.
Because the panels used in BTL Vanquish ME™ don’t come in contact with skin and have a large treatment coverage, Licatese said people of all BMIs can be treated. However, Emsculpt® is better for someone leaner.
To make you comfortable with any procedure, Farrell explains each procedure during the consultation and while she is performing the treatment. For maximum comfort, she uses a prescription-strength numbing cream and a cold-air device.
She said, “[Kybella®, Dysport®, and Botox®] all take under half an hour, with little to no downtime.”
Side effects are minimal.
“With Kybella® there may be temporary bruising or swelling, redness, hot sensations, or tingling,” Farrell said. “With the other two treatments, you may see a red dot at the injection site, bruising, or a sagging eyelid if injected too close to a muscle or nerve. That can be fine-tuned easily.”
BTL Vanquish ME™ treatment lasts about 45 minutes and requires a hydration level of 40% or higher. While you lie on a bed, the aesthetician moves panels over the area to be reduced.
“You may feel some warmth and the occasional hotspot, but it is comfortable otherwise,” Licatese said.
With a 30-minute Emsculpt® treatment, you may also lie comfortably in bed while paddles are moved over your skin, forcing muscle contractions.
“Most say it feels weird, but not uncomfortable,” Licatese said. “You may feel slightly sore afterward, like you had gone to the gym.”
With an average of four treatments, you should see results quickly, and you will want a maintenance session every eight months.
Licatese reports some discomfort but no downtime with BTL Vanquish ME™. After four to six treatments, patients should see results after three months, although some see results immediately. According to Licatese, as long as you maintain a reasonable diet and lifestyle, the results will last.
Not all cosmetic enhancements are rooted in vanity. Farrell cited several medical issues in which injectables have shown effectiveness in relaxing muscles in patients with cerebral palsy or recovering from a stroke. Injectable treatments can relieve a tight neck, ease TMJ conditions, relax a bladder, or curb excessive salivation and underarm sweating.
There are similar treatments you may wish to try. Microneedling is a series of small injections on the upper to mid-dermis layers. Thermage®, a skin tightening and contouring procedure, goes a little deeper. Laser and light treatments stimulate collagen production. Topical creams and lotions moisturize skin, and many claim to smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
The cost of your treatments will depend on how much product is applied to each area and how many areas you have treated. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars. Compared to more expensive, invasive surgeries, there is minimal downtime before bouncing back to your regular routine.