By Kate Dee, MD
Many of us face a moment where we can’t believe that with all our efforts, those blobs of extra fat are just not going away. Only a few years ago, the only option was liposuction. The amazing thing is that technology now allows us to burn the fat without surgery. At Glow we have a great fat reduction program using Vanquish ME, Exilis Ultra and Cellutone. We use these in combination to reduce stubborn fat on the belly, back and legs while at the same time tightening the loose skin. You might have heard of Coolsculpting– because they do a lot of direct marketing to consumers. In this post I’m going to explain how our program works and why I didn’t buy Coolsculpting because I found it to be inferior in results, pain, complications, effectiveness and cost.
Fat cells are fragile. If you stun them sufficiently, they will not survive. If you zap them with Radiofrequency (RF), Ultrasound, Laser or Freezing, many of them will go into what we geeks call “apoptosis.” This means programmed cell death. Die fat cells, die! The cellular bits get resorbed by your body and the fat in the cell gets released into your lymph system and you eventually (think weeks to months) excrete it.
Vanquish ME and Exilis Ultra work to kill fat cells in complementary ways. Vanquish sets up an RF array that tunes to your fat, heating the fat cells up selectively. Exilis Ultra uses both RF and Ultrasound to heat fat from the skin surface. This combination approach effectively burns the fat at the same time as heating the skin to tighten it. Then the Cellutone is used– it is a shock wave device– to push more fat cells into apoptosis and break up the fat to start the process of clearing through the lymph system. The treatments do not hurt and they give a smooth uniform reduction in the fat. Most people already have loose skin in these areas but in addition shrinking the fat also creates a surplus of overlying skin. So the simultaneous skin tightening is a huge benefit from our treatments that cold technology cannot produce.
Slimming down with Vanquish and Exilis Ultra is usually done in 4 treatments about a week apart. Because the technology uses the difference in hydration of the fat to work, it is important to drink lots of fluids and stay hydrated through the course of treatment. There is no downtime and results slowly evolve over the next 3-6 months. Want to slim down for summer? Start in February or March!
OK– so now that we know how it works, how is Vanquish/Exilis/Cellutone better than coolsculpting?
- Results: Coolsculpting uses a vacuum cup to suck the fat and freeze it. To do an area like the belly, it requires 4 to 6 cups to cover the whole thing. Any fat that is not suckable into a cup will not be treated. So, the results tend to be more lumpy, with occasional “shelfing” where fat has been killed in one area but the adjacent fat is left intact. We have spent quite some time with our devices correcting uneven results from coolsculpting..
- Pain: Coolsculpting hurts quite a bit during the freeze (about 8 minutes) and then the thaw (longer).
- Complications: occasional nerve damage, which is usually temporary but can last months. There have been reports of paradoxical hypertrophy of the fat (it gets bigger!)
- Effectiveness: Coolsculpting also has no skin tightening effect at all, so a very successful treatment will often leave a pocket of loose skin over it. We have also used Exilis Ultra to tighten these areas of sagginess created by coolsculpting.
- Cost: Lastly– coolsculpting is more expensive both for the physician and for the patient. If you could use a better machine for less, wouldn’t you?
If you have any questions, as always I’m here to answer them! Call us or click here to book a consultation online.