Excessive Body Fat
Excessive body fat can be harmful and upsetting, and it can diminish an individual’s self-esteem and reduce the quality of life. Body sculpting and belly fat treatments exist to give confidence back to people struggling to lose those small, stubborn pockets of fat that refuse to budge.
What Is Body Fat?
Body fat, or adipose tissue, refers to the loose connective tissue that feels soft to touch and is typically located on the abdomen, hips, thighs, neck, arms, and legs though it can be found almost anywhere on the body. The body produces and stores this fat to use as an energy source at a later date. It also plays a crucial role in protecting our internal organs and regulating our hormones.
Why Treat Excess Body Fat?
As we discussed above, body fat is vital for a person’s health and wellbeing. However, it is crucial not to amass too much body fat, as this can put you at risk of developing various health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Additionally, having too much excess body fat can make performing daily tasks uncomfortable and exhausting.
To avoid gaining excess body fat, eating a healthy, balanced diet and engaging in regularly exercising is important. However, in some cases, a healthy lifestyle is not enough to remove those fat deposits, and that is when body sculpting and body fat treatments can offer a solution.
There are three different types of fat: white, brown, and beige. The terms ‘essential’, ‘subcutaneous’, and ‘visceral’ refer to how the body stores these three types of fat.
When we talk about body fat, we are usually referring to white fat. Pockets of white fat are made up of large, white fat cells packed under the skin or stored around the organs. The body creates this fat to store energy for later use, and it plays an important role in ensuring that our hormones (such as insulin, cortisol, leptin or oestrogen) function as they should.
However, when someone eats an unhealthy diet or lives a lethargic lifestyle, their body produces too much white fat, which is dangerous for their health. Crucially, having too much white fat can put someone at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, kidney or liver disease, stroke and cancer. Additionally, having too much white fat on the body can cause pregnancy complications or lead to hormone imbalance.
Brown fat is predominantly found in small quantities in the neck and shoulders. It exists to keep the body warm when it gets cold. When you experience cold temperatures, brown fat begins burning calories to produce heat to warm you up.
Beige fat cells come from white fat cells. It is thought that the hormones that your body releases when you exercise, feel the cold, or feel stressed help to convert white fat cells into beige fat through a process known as ‘browning’. The beige cells then function like brown fat by helping you to maintain a normal body temperature.
As its name suggests, essential fat is essential for your health and wellbeing. It is found in your nerves, bone marrow and brain. This fat helps to regulate your hormones, which controls your fertility, temperature regulation, and vitamin absorption.
Visceral fat is the white fat that is found on and around your abdomen, and it is more commonly referred to as ‘belly fat’. As visceral fat is stored around all of your major organs (such as your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and intestines), large quantities of it put you at particular risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
Subcutaneous fat is the term for fat that is stored under the skin, which is a combination of white, brown, and beige fat.
Non-Invasive Body Fat Reduction:
What is Non-Invasive Body Fat Reduction?
Non-Invasive Body Fat Reduction (sometimes referred to as body sculpting) is the general term for a variety of non-surgical treatments for the removal of excess fat. These treatments can be used to remove small, stubborn, and localised pockets of fat on the abdomen, hips, thighs, neck, face, arms, and legs. Sometimes, these treatments use injections, known as fat-dissolving injections, to destroy fat cells, whilst other body sculpting treatments use a handheld device to remove excess body fat. Sometimes, the device uses cold temperatures to freeze fat. This treatment is known as Cryolipolysis.
Alternatively, the device can offer fat burning treatments by using heat energy (known as radiotherapy) to burn away pockets of excess fat. Finally, the device can use ultrasound vibrations (known as ultrasound therapy) to remove unwanted body fat. The right treatment for you will depend on the area of the body that you would like to be treated.
Am I a Good Candidate for Body Sculpting?
You are a suitable candidate for any non-invasive body fat reduction treatment if you engage in regular exercise, eat a balanced, healthy diet, and are in good overall health. This is because body sculpting is not an alternative to living a healthy lifestyle: these treatments are intended to target stubborn bulges of fat that patients have been unable to lose despite living healthily. Moreover, body sculpting treatments can only remove small, targeted pockets of fat, so they are not suitable for treating patients who are overweight or obese.
How Does the Procedure Work?
Fat-dissolving injections erase away excess body fat through the use of a solution that breaks down the fat cells’ membranes beneath the skin. This liquefies the cells and renders them unstable, and the body responds by flushing them out of its systems. Meanwhile, body sculpting treatments that use a handheld device instead of injections work by placing the device just above the skin, which covers the targeted fat deposit.
As we mentioned above, the device can use cold temperature, heat energy or ultrasound vibrations to break down and destroy fat cells. A technician will move the device manually around the treated area, which can take between 30 to 90 minutes.
Is There Any Aftercare Required?
As body sculpting treatments are non-surgical and do not require the use of any anaesthesia, you will not need any downtime after your treatment and can return to your usual, everyday activities immediately.
What Is Liposuction?
Liposuction (sometimes referred to as lipoplasty, fat removal surgery or body contouring) is a surgical procedure that uses a suction technique to remove fat from the body. It is used to treat areas of the body where deposits of fat usually accumulate, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, back, buttocks, arms, neck, calves and ankles, chin and neck. Liposuction can also be used for breast reduction, and patients can have multiple areas treated at the same time during the procedure.
Liposuction also contours the treated area, resulting in a firmer, fitter shape and improved self-confidence. Importantly, liposuction is not a weight loss solution or an alternative to living a healthy lifestyle, and it is never recommended for obese or very overweight patients. The fat deposits that are erased during the procedure must have failed to respond to exercise and a healthy diet before they are treated via liposuction, and candidates for the procedure must be in good health despite these stubborn pockets of fat.
Am I a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
You are a good candidate for this fat removal treatment if you have deposits of fat in specific regions of your body that you have tried to remove through regular exercise and a healthy diet, but which still remain on your body. Despite this, you should be in otherwise good physical shape and overall health. In addition, you are a good candidate if you have good skin elasticity and do not have a lot of excess skin. Finally, you should avoid this treatment if you smoke, take blood-thinning medication, have a weak immune system, or have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, seizures or deep vein thrombosis.
How Does the Procedure Work?
During the treatment, the surgeon will mark the region on your body from which the fat is to be removed. Then, they will inject this area with a general anaesthetic to reduce pain before making a small incision and inserting a thin metal tube into the treatment area. This is used to loosen the fat, and it is attached to a vacuum pump, which sucks the fat cells out of your body. Finally, the surgeon will drain away any excess fluid and stitch up the treatment area. In total, this procedure will usually take between 1 and 3 hours, and most patients spend the night in hospital following the surgery.
Is There Any Aftercare Required?
Patients will need a friend or relative to drive them home after the procedure and to remain with them for 24 hours. You will also be required to wear an elasticated support corset or compression bandages for several weeks after the surgery, which will help to reduce bruising and swelling.
Patients should wear this all of the time, though they may take it off when they shower. Mild painkillers can also be taken to reduce pain and swelling, whilst antibiotics can also be taken after the operation to reduce the risk of infection. Finally, patients should ensure that they rest and relax as much as possible for several weeks after they have had liposuction. They should refrain from partaking in strenuous exercise for up to 4 to 6 weeks and should drink a healthy amount of water.
As is the case with all forms of operation, liposuction comes with the small risk of an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic and other anaesthetic complications, swelling, infection, or the development of a blood clot in a vein. Although it is very rare, there is also a risk of fat clots, bleeding under the skin (known as hematoma), fluid leaking under the skin (known as seroma), or heart and kidney problems.
As non-invasive body fat removal treatments are non-surgical, they come with far fewer risks, and the potential side effects (such as redness, swelling, bruising or tenderness at the treatment site) are very minimal and will disappear within a few days.
Body sculpting treatments that involve the use of a handheld device can cause some redness, tenderness, or discomfort at the treatment site, but this will also disappear within two days. These treatments can also cause a temporary burning or stinging sensation in the area that was treated.
The right treatment for you depends on your own preferences and the size of the area that you would like treated. Generally, body sculpting treatments are more effective at eliminating small, localised pockets of fat than liposuction, they come with fewer risks and side effects, and they don’t disrupt the patient’s life as much, making them preferable to the surgical treatment. However, liposuction can treat larger pockets of fat than body sculpting treatments, so patients who would like to remove a larger proportion of excess fat may be more suited to this procedure.
Liposuction is a permanent treatment for removing excess fat (provided that patients maintain a healthy lifestyle following the surgery), and it only needs to be performed once.
Patients of liposuction can expect immediate and permanent results from their treatment, provided that they continue to live a healthy lifestyle following the procedure. Meanwhile, patients of body sculpting treatments should expect smaller, more subtle results from their treatment, and it will take longer for the final result to be visible (usually, this will take 10 to 12 weeks).
The effect of liposuction is much more dramatic than body sculpting treatments. This is because non-invasive body fat reduction treatments can only treat small, localised deposits of fat, whilst liposuction can treat larger areas. In addition, the effects of liposuction are more immediate, whilst it can take between 12 and 16 weeks for patients to notice the more subtle final effect of their body sculpting treatment.
Body sculpting treatments can take anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes to administer, depending on the type of treatment that you choose and the size of the area of the body that is being treated.
The number of individual sessions that you require will depend on the type of body fat treatment that you have chosen and the size of the area that you would like treated. Generally, you will need 1-3 sessions of fat dissolving injections to treat small areas of the body and 4-6 sessions to treat a larger region. Cryolipolysis usually involves two treatment sessions, whilst ultrasound therapy needs 1-3 sessions, and radiofrequency involves 4-10 sessions.
After body sculpting, patients can expect to go back to their normal daily activities immediately. The final result of their treatment will not be visible until 10-12 weeks have passed since the procedure was administered.