Non invasive fat removal- CoolSculpting, TrueSculpt, Zerona and Vanquish

With the raging success of CoolSculpting over the last few years, it is no surprise that a number of companies are trying to take a piece of the non-invasive fat reduction pie. I am solicited on a nearly weekly basis to try some new machine from China that promises to reduce fat without the track record, science, or evidence behind fat freezing. Let’s talk about a few non-surgical options:

TrueSculpt– using radio frequencies (as does technology such as Vanquish), this machine heats fat cells, causing some to die an be flushed away. According to the LA Times review of this machine, “Just how much fat it eliminates is debatable.” Some plastic surgeons seem to like the technology and feel that it works well for their patients. I know some docs who have used this technology and like it though the amount of fat that they say they see lost is variable.

Zerona– this low powered laser had promised to non-invasively reduce fat though the licensing company associated with the product recently filed Chapter 11. Many plastic surgeons and dermatologist feel that this product does not deliver significant fat reduction.

Vanquish– newest to the market, and to Santa Barbara, Vanquish fat removal is like TrueSculpt in that it uses radio frequency radiation to heat fat. The FDA clearance for Vanquish in fact does not involve fat reduction at all but approves the technology for “deep tissue heating” and is very similar to machines used for physical therapy. Small studies have shown some fat reduction with this technology and I do think it is likely to work to some degree. The recent article in one of the Dermatology Journals shows some questionable before and after photos, so I’m not convinced Vanquish will live up to the marketing hype surrounding it. The article can be found herehttp://www.btlvanquish.com/files/Files/Files_19908563.pdf scroll down to the end for the pics and judge for yourself.

Liposonix– This machine uses high intensity focused ultrasound to penetrate the skin and destroy fat cells. This technology is not unlike Ultherapy which uses focused ultrasound to deliver energy to the SMAS layer of the face and cause contraction. Both technologies share the same complaint… they hurt. I always prep our Ultherapy patients that the treatment causes twinges of pain, and the plastic surgeons that I know who use Liposonix agree that it is uncomfortable. Like Vanquish, I do think this technology may provide some degree of fat reduction, but I feel that the degree of improvement is less and the degree of discomfort is more when compared to fat freezing with CoolSculpting.

CoolSculpting– again from the LA Times, “Plastic surgeons say this Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment has quickly become the “standard” in nonsurgical fat removal.” You can find a plethora of information and before and after photos on CoolSculpting on my website- after thousands of treatments patients agree that it just simply works. There is a reason that CoolSculpting’s FDA approval is specifically for non-surgical fat reduction. While I don’t discourage patients from educating themselves or even trying different modalities, I always recommend that you have a clear discussion with your physician regarding expectations and ask to see plenty of before and after photos from their practice- not the photos supplied from the company for marketing. Do your research, talk to friends who may have had the procedure, and make an educated decision for yourself!

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