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May 8, 2022   Return


Body sculpting treatments have been around for quite some time now. With the promise of being a safe, non-invasive method of removing even the most stubborn fat, it has become a popular beauty treatment across the world.

But does it really work? What are the risks involved? Dr Ian Tan answer our questions.

How does body sculpting work? 

Body sculpting refers to a non-surgical treatment that gets rid of fat cells from the body. One of the most common examples is the cryolipolysis procedure, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

In this treatment, fat cells underneath the skin are crystallized (frozen) using cold, before being gradually being removed from the body through the body’s natural degradation process. See Figure 1 for more information.

Let’s get the million-dollar question out of the way: is this the weight loss solution that we have all been dreaming of?

Body sculpting is not a weight loss programme. It is not intended to be a solution for weight loss!

Rather, it is a fat-reduction procedure and a great way to reduce the amount of subcutaneous fat in stubborn areas without having to undergo surgery. 

To ensure the results last as long as possible, it is important to maintain your weight with a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle, and regular exercise.

How can body sculpting complement efforts to lose weight, such as eating healthy, balanced meals and exercising?

After losing weight through diet and exercise, your fat cells become smaller, but the number of fat cells remains the same. There are areas in the body where the fat cells shrink less than others and persist in their size despite the amount of exercise that you do. These places include: the love handles, the underarms and the back of your thighs. Cryolipolysis treats this by reducing the number of fat cells at treated areas by 20-25% in a single treatment. It effectively reduces the number of fat cells rather than the size of those fat cells.

Are the treatments performed by a medical doctor?

Clinical assessments and treatment planning are to be performed by a trained medical doctor. The treatments may be carried out with the assistance of trained nurses that specialize in body sculpting procedures.

Here, I would like to stress that it’s not just about performing this treatment, but selecting the best candidate for the treatment to get the best possible outcome. 

Who would benefit most from body sculpting treatments?

The cryolipolysis procedure is specially designed for those who wish to get rid of unwanted fat in targeted areas but are not keen to go under the knife. The non-invasive nature of this treatment makes it one of the most popular fat-loss treatments in this current era. 

Which parts of the body are the body sculpting treatments usually done on?

The cryolipolysis procedures can be performed on many parts of the body. It can treat:

• Visible fat bulges in the under the chin (double chin)

• Fat in the inner and outer thighs

• The abdomen and flanks (love handles)

• Bra fat, back fat and fat underneath the buttocks (also known as banana rolls)

• Fat in the arms

Your medical practitioner will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that’s tailored to your body and your goals. 

What can patients realistically expect from this treatment?

Patients can expect up to an average of 20% to 25% reduction of fat in the treated area. 

Because the body requires time to eliminate the dead fat cells, results from these body sculpting treatments are not immediate. 

While some people may see results as early as one month after the initial treatment, the optimal results is typically seen three months after the procedure. 

Depending on your desired results, you may request for more than one treatment to achieve your goals and to get the most out of this body sculpting technology.

How long do the results last?

The fat cells in treated areas are gone for good. The results are long-term, as long as you maintain your weight, stay active, and partake in periodic maintenance treatments.

However, if you eat poorly and gain weight after your body sculpting procedure, the surrounding fat cells may overgrow. When this happens, the likelihood of the lasting effects of your body sculpting treatment will be lessened.

Are there risks involved in these treatments? Does it hurt?

Body sculpting treatments are relatively low risk, and no, it does not hurt. During the first few minutes of the session, you may feel an intense cold, tingling, and a cramping sensation. But these feelings subside as soon as the area becomes numb. You may also experience sensations of pulling, tugging or mild pinching when suction is applied during the treatment. Generally, there is a slight discomfort, but the treatment does not cause pain.

Is there any downtime involved after a body sculpting session?

I would say most patients experience little to no downtime after the treatment. Often, patients can return to work immediately after their body sculpting treatment. 

Sometimes but rarely, there is minor redness, swelling, bruising or soreness at the treated area, but it typically subsides over a week or two.