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What Is Body Contouring Laser Therapy?

Do you have stubborn areas of fat that aren’t responding to dietary changes or exercise? You might be curious about non-surgical body contouring treatments that target and destroy fat cells without surgery.

Some of these options work by freezing fat cells, others employ heat through the use of ultrasound or radiofrequency energy. They offer a targeted way to reshape areas such as your abdomen, love handles, thighs and upper arms.

These are minimally invasive treatments and side effects are mild. However, it’s a good idea to review your health history when you talk with your practitioner about which treatment is best for you.

These non-surgical treatments destroy the amount of fat you can pinch, called cutaneous fat.

How does non-surgical body sculpting work?

They target and destroy fat, which your body’s lymphatic system then filters away over time, generally within a few months.

Here are details on each technique:

Cold treatments. These employ temperatures cold enough to kill fat cells but not damage your skin. A device pulls portions of skin in by suction, then cools it to destroy the fat underneath for a set amount of time. You can use this procedure on many body parts including the chin, arms, abdomen, love handles and thighs. It’s safe for most patients. However, those who have a vascular condition that makes them extra sensitive to cold temperatures (Raynaud’s syndrome, for instance) should not use this treatment.

Heat treatments. This laser is FDA-approved for fat reduction. The device uses laser energy to damage the structure of fat cells. The body then eliminates the dead cells. This device uses a flat applicator, so it doesn’t work well on body areas with curves. Heat treatments work best for the stomach and thighs.

Ultrasound energy. This type of treatment uses ultrasound energy to break down fat. It is the most time-intensive of the four types, taking approximately one hour per treatment session. Instead of hooking you up to a machine, a technician will move the device around manually. It uses a mechanical vibration to break down and destroy fat. This works on the abdomen and isn’t meant for other areas.

Radiofrequency energy. Radiofrequency devices deliver energy to create heat and destroy fat cells. They target water in the cells, so it’s important to hydrate your body well beforehand. The treatment is not as effective if you’re dehydrated. You might feel a warm sensation during this procedure.


Here are some other general facts:

– They don’t require anesthesia or downtime.

– They take anywhere from 25 minutes to one hour in a doctor’s office.

– You can plan on two to four sessions overall, depending on which treatment you choose and which area you’re treating.

– It takes about 12 to 16 weeks for the body to process and dispose of the fat. That’s when you’ll see the full effect of each treatment.

– Any pain from these treatments is generally minimal.

– Afterward, you may experience some redness, swelling, bruising and tenderness in the treatment area for a few days.

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