The last decade has seen significant technological advances in the field of body contouring. With the arrival of new devices, plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists are now able to offer improved results with less downtime and a more comfortable postoperative recovery. While we’ve already covered some of the most popular sculpting procedures for men, women can enjoy just as much of a benefit from these modern techniques — and we’re not just talking about the so-called mommy makeover. Here, we caught up with three experts about the latest and greatest when it comes to body contouring for women.
BodyTite™ is a minimally invasive body contouring procedure that can achieve dramatic skin tightening results comparable to traditional excisional surgeries like tummy tucks. “Known as the ideal ‘gap procedure,’ this technology is perfect for the patient who requires more than non-invasive skin-tightening modalities but isn’t ready to undergo face and body-lifting surgical procedures,” says Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a board certified cosmetic dermatologist and founder/chief medical officer of PFRANKMD.
BodyTite™, FaceTite™, and AccuTite™ are powered by temperature-controlled, directional radiofrequency (RF) energy, which delivers heat directly through a surgical probe placed under the skin. The minimally invasive procedure is performed under local anesthesia and results in 3D tissue remodeling and contraction through superficial fat destruction and volumetric heating. “Whether performed alone or combined with body contouring tumescent liposuction, these treatments are especially effective for neck and jawline recontouring, smile line and jowl reduction, and the tightening of skin over the abs, arms, or bra area,” he says.
2. Breast Augmentation
“We have seen the development of new procedures to augment both buttocks and breasts using a patient’s own adipose tissue, rather than relying solely on foreign material,” says Ryan Neinstein, MD, a New York City-based board certified plastic surgeon. A patient’s own fat is extracted (via liposuction), purified, and then injected to various areas of the body for natural augmentation, and the autologous fat can take the place of silicone or saline implants. In the case of women’s breasts, the fat tissue can be injected for a naturally augmented appearance. “Cleavage lines and upper pole fullness can both be improved dramatically along with an enlargement of the breast itself,” he says.
3. Buttock Augmentation
Also known as a Brazilian Butt Lift or BBL, buttock augmentation can be performed with a safe injection of autologous fat in the subcutaneous plane above the buttock muscles, Dr. Neinstein says. This can add the desired amount of volume to the area and greatly improve the curves of the buttocks. “The accompanying liposuction can further improve the aesthetic result,” he adds.
CoolSculpting®, a non-surgical body contouring procedure that destroys fat cells by freezing targeted areas on the body via an applicator applied to the skin, has long been popular. But Jennifer Levine, MD, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City, believes it’s going to be even more popular post-pandemic as many people have gained the so-called COVID 19. “It’s great for getting rid of unwanted fat,” she says.
With gyms closed all over the country, EmSculpt™ is asserting itself as a popular (and painless) alternative, Dr. Levine notes. “EmSculpt™ gives 20,000 crunches or 20,000 squats in 30 minutes, so it is a great start to get a jumpstart on your exercise routine and strengthen your muscles, which may have not been adequately worked out,” she explains.
Approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strengthen, tone, and firm the abdomen, butt, arms, thighs, and calves, EmSculpt™ delivers contouring results that existing non-invasive body-shaping therapies cannot match, Dr. Frank says. The treatment burns fat and builds muscle to sculpt the body, allowing patients to achieve fitness goals that otherwise remain out of reach. “This is not a treatment for weight loss,” Dr. Frank clarifies. “It’s best for individuals who are in good shape already and serves as an ‘icing on the cake’ treatment.” He believes that this type of technology will do for the body what Botox® did for the face.
6. Filler for the Body
Not just for the face, fillers like Sculptra® and hyper-diluted Radiesse®, are increasingly being used on the body to both contour and improve skin quality. “These products can help with volume — especially in the butt — and also improve skin texture and quality, as well as lessen the appearance of cellulite,” Dr. Levine says.
7. The (New) Mommy Makeover
After pregnancy, women are often left with diastasis recti, in which the rectus abdominis muscles separate. This creates the appearance of an abdominal bulge that, for many women, can be quite noticeable. “On top of this, many are left with skin laxity, which does not resolve despite diligent exercise and adequate nutrition,” Dr. Neinstein explains, adding that is not unlike the excess skin people experience after a significant weight loss. “This is especially true as we age and the amount of collagen and elastin — the structural proteins within the skin — decreases,” he says.
While diastasis recti can be treated on its own, women often combine it with an abdominoplasty (read: tummy tuck), mastopexy (a.k.a. breast lift), or breast lift with implant placement (i.e. augmentation-mastopexy) for a larger-scale mommy makeover. “An abdominoplasty includes the removal of a portion of excess abdominal skin and tightening of the underlying six-pack muscles with sutures,” Dr. Neinstein says, adding that new modalities allow surgeons to improve the results of a tummy tuck with smaller incisions.
He often employs an ultrasound-based device known as Vaser® to melt stubborn fat in the flanks, abdomen, back, and bra rolls. Once the fat is softened, small liposuction cannulas gently extract the fat and provide the appropriate contour. “This combination greatly improves the appearance following a tummy tuck, whereas previously, women were left with a significant amount of residual fatty tissue,” he says.
Designed to reduce fat in areas like the abdomen and love handles, SculpSure® helps achieve a slimmer appearance without surgery or downtime. The low-energy laser technology targets and destroys fat cells in 25 minutes without affecting the skin’s surface, Dr. Neinstein says. The device features four applicators that can treat up to four zones at a time. “SculpSure® is less painful than past non-invasive treatments, has no recovery time (you can resume work and daily activities immediately after), and results can be seen after one session,” he shares.
9. Skin Tightening
Skin tightening has long been the holy grail of body contouring surgery, but, in the past, the only way to reliably tighten skin was with excision and a resulting scar. Today, there are several devices that use some form of energy to tighten the underlying collagen network. “In our practice, we use a device that uses plasma energy to reliably and safely tighten the skin,” Dr. Neinstein says. This is done at the same time of surgery. “Often, patients that would previously have required a full-length abdominoplasty incision can be treated with a mini-abdominoplasty incision or with the combination of Vaser®, liposuction, and skin tightening alone,” he adds.
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