Real Patient Stories: Noninvasive Body-Contouring Treatments


Top doctors and their patients give us an inside look at their experiences with four different noninvasive body-contouring treatments trending today.

Doctor: Davie, FL dermatologist Lesley Clark-Loeser, MD

How it works:
”Currently FDA-cleared for use on the abdomen and thighs, Emsculpt NEO uses a combination of high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy (HIFEM) and radio-frequency (RF) technology to reduce unwanted fat and tone muscle simultaneously. The HIFEM energy creates intense or supramaximal contractions of targeted muscle groups, which leads to an increase in muscle mass over time. Simultaneously, the RF energy heats the subcutaneous fat, causing permanent fat cell damage. We are literally offering two extremely effective treatments in a single 30-minute session. This is truly a two-in-one innovation.

What to expect:
“In order to achieve maximum benefits from this treatment, patients must do a series of four weekly treatments over the course of one month. Studies show that after patients have four treatments, they can achieve a 30-percent reduction of fat and 25-percent increase in muscle thickness.”

Does the fat come back?
“After the treatment, damaged fat cells are flushed out of the body naturally, but the patient can still gain weight if they follow an unhealthy lifestyle. In many cases, Emsculpt NEO offers patients the jump-start they needed to create a desired change in their body or fitness level.”

Patient: Leslie B.

What concerns were you hoping to treat?
“My lower abdomen has become my ‘problem area’ over the past few years, and it doesn’t seem to matter how much exercising I do, I just can’t get it toned and flat the way it used to be. I wouldn’t consider a surgical procedure, and when I saw information about the Emsculpt NEO at my dermatologist’s office, I thought this could be what I have been looking for to solve the issues of my rounded, fuller abdomen.”

What did it feel like?
“Because I work out regularly, it just felt like intense crunches, and I was able to reach the highest levels of heat and toning without any pain. The heat was warm, but not hot. Once the paddle had been strapped on and the technician made sure I was OK with the levels set, she turned out the lights and I closed my eyes and relaxed for the 30 minutes. I loved the sessions and had zero side effects or downtime.”

How many sessions did you need?
“I completed four weekly sessions and one touch-up one month after the last treatment. There is a noticeable improvement, and I am so happy with the results. I have flatter abs and a noticeably more toned midsection. Each morning I look forward to waking up to see how my body is changing. I feel much more like myself again.”

Doctor: Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias

How it works:
“The latest generation of CoolSculpting, this treatment uses two applicators to treat twice the area in the same amount of time as the original system. It uses cryolipolysis to freeze fat cells until they die—the cells then get eliminated from the body naturally and gradually. The applicators are also larger—think iPad versus iPhone—allowing us to treat even more fat per applicator, and we’re seeing better and faster results: up to 25 percent of fat in the treatment area. The applicators’ innovative C-shaped design complements the body’s natural curves, too, for improved fit and comfort as compared to the previous generation.

What to expect:
“Some patients may need one treatment; others may need two or more. Typically, results can be seen one to three months post-treatment.”

Does the fat come back?
“The fat that is treated is gone forever, however, it’s not a weight-loss treatment, so it doesn’t prevent you from gaining weight and new fat if you don’t maintain healthy habits.”

Patient: Jessica D.

What concerns were you hoping to treat?
“I have always been insecure about wearing a two-piece, and living in South Florida, I wanted to be beach-ready by summer! I focused on treating my mid- and lower abdomen.”

What did it feel like?
“After the applicator was applied to my abdomen, it started to feel very cold, and after a few minutes, the entire area was numb. But nonetheless, it was completely painless and easy, and I sat back watching Netflix the entire time. After the procedure, I did experience some swelling and numbness in the area for about a week.”

How many sessions did you need?
“Only one to my mid- and lower abdomen. I couldn’t be happier with my results, and I can’t wait to treat other areas.”

Doctor: Louisville, KY plastic surgeon Chet Mays, MD

How it works:
“This is a monopolar radio-frequency device that’s designed to use uniformed heat and controlled time to destroy unwanted, stubborn pockets of fat without any damage to the skin or muscle. The applicator stays in place for five to 15 minutes, heating fat cells to destruction, and because this treatment uses heat, it also adds an extra benefit of skin tightening as well. The device includes six large handpieces and one small one, so treatments are easy to customize for everyone.”

What to expect:
“Between one and five treatments are needed, depending on the patient and the body part. For the submental area—below the chin—we recommend three to five sessions spaced a month apart. For areas on the body, like the saddle bags, outer thighs and arms, two sessions are recommended 10 to 12 weeks apart, but some patients see results after just one.”

Does the fat come back?
“It targets and destroys about 20 to 25 percent of fat cells per treatment, and the remaining fat cells condense, resulting in smooth, natural-looking results. However, if a patient gains weight, the remaining fat cells in the treatment area can still grow.”

Patient: Marai B.

What concerns were you hoping to treat?
“My concerns were my subtle double chin and the extra-large, long line between my chin and neck that extended almost all the way under my ears when I was looking straight. I saw it in every mirror I looked in, and I used to be so self-conscious of every picture taken if that angle would show that pouch under my chin. It looked so unnatural and made me look overweight, while my BMI would indicate otherwise.”

What did it feel like?
“It felt like a hot neck pillow that was targeted at small sections at a time. While the temperature was climbing up on the targeted area, there was an occasional ‘hot’ sensation, but it was momentary, and for the most part, it was warm and relaxing. I had no side effects except for some redness under my chin that lasted a few hours right after the treatment.”

How many sessions did you need?
”I had three—each one lasted about 30 to 45 minutes—though my results were already apparent after two sessions and people started noticing the reduction in my chin. I’m very happy with my results.”

SculpSure: Laser Lipolysis (Heat)

Doctor: New York dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD

How it works:
“SculpSure uses laser technology to safely reduce fat deposits with heat in a noninvasive treatment. This procedure can treat anywhere where there is an abnormal bulging of fat or a need for better contouring, such as the abdomen, flanks, backs of the arms, thighs, buttock, and chin. SculpSure targets the fat cells, then heats and destroys them—essentially liquifying them—without affecting the skin’s surface and with no visible downtime.”

What to expect:
“Depending on the area and person, you should see results after two to four treatments, each about four weeks apart. When you start the treatment, you will feel a cooling sensation. The heat raises when the laser cycles on and off, during which you feel a cramping-like sensation as the fat is treated.”

Does the fat come back?
“Over the following months after the treatment, the damaged fat cells are eliminated through the body’s lymphatic drainage system. Once destroyed, the cells will not regenerate in the treated area.”

Patient: Courtney B.

What concerns were you hoping to treat?
“Like many people post-pandemic, there have been some aspects of my body I haven’t been thrilled with, like my stomach. I wasn’t able to frequent my favorite workout studios, and as much as I tried to get on the train for the living room workouts, it was really hard for me to get motivated. I would literally just lay on my yoga mat and watch the instructor like it was my favorite Bravo show! SculpSure seemed like a way to push me in the right direction—an incentive to getting my body back on track, and truthfully a little bit of a quick fix!”

What did it feel like?
“Generally, I think I’m known as a bit of a ‘baby’—I’m not a huge fan of pain—and the treatment honestly didn’t bother me. It’s heat-based, so there were certainly moments that were uncomfortable, but never unbearable. The technician was lovely, and we gossiped about beauty tricks the entire time, which was only 25 minutes start to finish. Post-procedure, my stomach was a little tender to the touch, almost like a bruised feeling, but there was no visible sign I did anything. This feeling lasted five to seven days, but was beyond manageable.”

How many sessions did you need?
“I had two treatments about four weeks apart, and I’m super happy with the way things are looking. It really just gave me the help I needed to feel a little better about my tummy entering this summer! I have already recommended the treatment to a few of my friends, and I am thinking about doing my love handles next.”


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