In the quest to blast away fat, women will go to drastic extremes—semi-starvation, crazy workout plans and pricey, time-consuming surgeries. But what if we told you that you could score a slim, sleek physique…on your lunch break? There are a number of body-shaping procedures on the market that promise quick fixes to re-contour the body, zap away fat and erase unsightly cellulite. Even more enticing is that many of these procedures are minimally-invasive and can be performed in an hour or less.
But before messing with a treatment that involves needles and lasers—and before shelling out some cold, hard cash—you want to make sure that your cosmetic procedure actually works. Below, we give you the skinny on three popular cosmetic procedures, recommended to us by Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Mark Beaty.
How it works: “It uses a cooling technology to essentially freeze the fat cells under the skin without harming the skin. The frozen fat cells burst and release the fat, which your body metabolizes normally and gets rid of,” says Beaty.
Works best for: “Non-invasive fat-reduction technology works best for people with good diet and exercise habits who have isolated areas of fat deposits that they just can’t get rid of.”
Pros: There is truly no downtime with this fast (one hour per treatment area) procedure. You won’t find any bruising or redness or have to wear restrictive clothing. Most patients will typically find a 25-percent reduction in the number of fat cells in the targeted areas.
Cons: It takes from six weeks to three months to reach its full effect. There is a chance you may have to go back for a second round of treatments.
Cost: Around $750 per area, such as the abdomen or bra bulge on your back.
How it works: “Another non-invasive, non-ablative device, Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology to remake and restore collagen, and to achieve skin and tissue tightening.”
Works best for: “It is primarily used on the face, but we’ve started to use it on isolated areas of loose skin on other body parts. For instance, areas on the arms, around the knees, and chest.”
Pros: Unlike a laser, which interacts with anything it touches, ultrasound is capable of treating the deeper layers of tissue without affecting the surface of the skin. Therefore, any skin color can benefit from this therapy. Beaty says its tightening and re-contouring improves the look of your skin by about two years.
Cons: “There aren’t really any.” You can even use this as an anti-aging preventative measure.
Cost: This varies depending on the area—a full face is going to set you back around $3,200.
What: Laser-assisted liposuction (like Smartlipo)
How it works: “A laser is used in a controlled manner to destroy and dissect pockets of fat underneath the skin. Where fatty deposits are, suction is used.”
Works best for: Smartlipo is ideal for the neck, jaw line, arms, bra fat, “love handles,” saddlebags and knees.
Pros: “Compared to an open surgical approach where a larger incision is made or a more traditional suction lipoplasty, this is less traumatic and results in minimal downtime.” The procedure also only takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour-and-a-half.
Cons: Since a small incision must be made in order to insert the laser fiber, this procedure is not completely non-invasive. Additionally, while bruising is minimal and you can be back at work the next day, you might have to wear a compression garment for two or three days.
Cost: This varies tremendously depending on the area—anywhere from $1,000 or more.