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The relationship between Body Contouring (a.k.a Body Shaping or Body Sculpting) and Cellulite Removal is a bit like that between the rectangle and the square in geometry. While their definitions overlap at times and many of the same treatments can be prescribed for both, it's important not to assume that one is synonymous with the other. In truth, not every Cellulite Removal technique also sculpts or contours the body, and clearly, not every form of Body Contouring gets rid of cellulite. Probably the best example of this fact is Liposuction surgery, the famous body contouring surgery for removing excess fat from the body. As successful as Liposuction can be at reshaping bodies, it has never been proven to diminish the appearance of cellulite, and has even been linked to an increase in visible cellulite in some patients.
Whether you're seeking out a proper treatment for cellulite, body shaping, or both, the key is to speak with an aesthetic specialist who can assess which of the many potential treatment regimens will best help elicit the results you desire. Inevitably, you will be left with some important decisions, such as whether you're willing to undergo a form of body sculpting surgery (Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck, for example) or would rather attempt a non-surgical treatment method (Mesotherapy, LipoDissolve, Endermologie, etc.).
For the quickest and most dramatic results, more invasive body shaping surgery can be a clear option. However, it should be known that these surgical procedures are usually associated with longer recovery times, possible risks (although rare), and are more expensive propositions than their non-surgical cousins. Still, if you've recently lost a great deal of weight, have a lot of loose skin, or simply wish to enhance your shape or silhouette for aesthetic reasons, plastic surgery enables you to go beyond the capacity of even the best non-surgical body shaping methods.
There's an appropriate form of body sculpting surgery for almost any part of your anatomy with which you're dissatisfied. Facial contouring, for example, can include everything from the traditional face-lift to rhinoplasty (aka nose reconstruction surgery) and cheek implants. Thigh, buttock, and arm lift surgery can give your frame a tighter, more sleek outline, and calf or bicep implants can create a fuller, more toned look. Body sculpting clinics also offer wildly popular cosmetic operations like Breast Augmentation and the Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty), as well as the aforementioned Liposuction.
Known the world over as a surgical solution for larger scale fat reduction, Liposuction also falls under the category of surgical body contouring. Generally speaking, Liposuction surgery is a surgical procedure in which a cannula, or suction tube, is inserted below the skin into major fat deposits, where it essentially acts like a power vacuum, eliminating excess fat. While the goals of the procedure are always the same (reshaping the body for a healthier, more aesthetically pleasing appearance), it's important to remember that there are a multitude of different types of Liposuction for body contouring.
Considered the traditional gold standard of the family, Tumescent Liposuction injects a high volume of liquid into the body before the insertion of the cannula, allowing for easier movement of the tube. Technological advances have made Tumescent Liposuction surgery safer and more effective than ever before, with less scarring of the skin. As a result, many Liposuction surgeons still view tumescent liposuction as the most trusted technique with their patients.
As an alternative or complement to the Tumescent technique, Laser-Assisted Liposuction has gained considerable favor with many surgeons. With laser Liposuction, perhaps best associated with the brand SmartLipo™, a very small cannula enters the body with an even tinier diode laser attached to it. This laser then zaps the surrounding fat cells safely, liquefying them enough to be removed by the body's natural processes. Considering its ease, it's no surprise that there are more and more cosmetic surgeons and laser clinics offering SmartLipo™ treatments.
The Ultrasonic Liposuction technique, meanwhile, works under similar principles to SmartLipo™, only it uses ultrasonic vibrations, rather than a laser, to break down fat deposits. LipoSelection® is a popular name in the ultrasonic field, and many surgeons are adopting the LipoSelection technique (exclusive to the Vaser System) for its efficiency and precision. They are also warming up to the new form of External Ultrasonic Liposuction that achieves the same results by applying the ultrasonic vibrations to the outside of the skin, making the cannula unnecessary and offering a new solution for non-invasive body contouring.
Intimidated by by surgical process of Liposuction? Feeling iffy about new variations like SmartLipo™ and LipoSelection®? Well worry not. There are a number of minimally invasive or non-invasive alternatives to these procedures, many of which can bring very comparable results over time.
As you will see in the Cellulite Removal section of this article, the popular injectable treatment Mesotherapy, and the very similar, more concentrated injectable solution Lipodissolve™, are excellent crossover procedures. That is to say, they can simultaneously help contour the body and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Both treatments involve a series of tiny, minimally invasive injections that help break down and flush out excess fat deposits in targeted areas of the body.
Another successful treatment for both Body Shaping and Cellulite Removal, Velasmooth is famous for its use of Elos technology (which involves the combination of radio frequencies, infrared light energy, and external skin manipulation). The heat energy reduces fat chambers and makes it easier to smooth over and contour the skin. Syneron, the developer of VelaSmooth™, has also introduced VelaShape™, the first FDA approved, totally non-invasive treatment for circumferential reduction (reducing the circumferences of the thighs). VelaShape™ also uses Elos technology, and its convenient all-in-one platform allows for the simultaneous manipulation of deep tissue and outer skin layers, making it a recommended treatment for both Body Shaping and Cellulite Removal.
By using lasers to heat the body's natural collagen, Thermage treatments tighten and sculpt skin tissue. Thermage is not usually associated with Cellulite Removal. A similar treatment is Titan™ For Skin Tightening, which uses infrared light energy to initiate collagen growth. Titan™, however, is not as widely used for large scale Body Contouring, and it is not effective in cellulite treatment.
Working like a workout minus the physical exertion, the Arasys sytem is very unique Body Contouring treatment involving a muscle stimulating machine. Nerve endings around the patient's muscles are affected by contact with faradic waveforms, which subsequently cause the muscles to contract in a natural manner mimicking that of an extensive physical workout. Arasys specialists claim that a 20 minute Arasys session can have the same Body Sculpting impact as 300 sit-ups! It is not effective on cellulite, however.
As mentioned earlier, Liposuction is great for contouring the body, but not helpful for getting rid of cellulite. That being said, there are some Body Contouring treatments, particularly several of the non-surgical methods, that have proven to be excellent anti-cellulite treatments, as well.
An innovative, increasingly popular treatment from France, Mesotherapy is a minimally invasive dermal injection treatment that breaks down the connective bonds between fat cells, reducing the appearance of cellulite and smoothing and shaping the skin at the same time.
A more recently developed variation on Mesotherapy is Lipodissolve™, which differs primarily in the nature of its injecting solution. The concentration of vitamins, minerals, and various specially formulated pharmaceuticals in Lipodissolve™ is theoretically strong enough to achieve moderate levels of Body Contouring and successful cellulite removal in fewer sessions than traditional Mesotherapy.
With Endermologie, dual action rollers and external suctioning are utilized in a series of intense tissue massages that slowly smooth away the dimpled skin caused by cellulite. The Endermologie approach could be considered a type of contouring, as well, but it is rarely identified as such, and is better known as a Cellulite Removal treatment.
This brings us to Velasmooth and VelaShape™, two more treatments that are bridging the gap between Body Contouring and Cellulite Removal. Velasmooth is similar to Endermologie in that it is essentially a dual action massage therapy technique. However, Velasmooth also incorporates the heating effects of radio frequency technology and infrared energy to better manipulate the skin tissue. Proponents of Velasmooth claim that it's a viable Body Contouring treatment, as well as a superb anti-cellulite procedure. VelaShape™, meanwhile, puts the VelaSmooth™ tools on a larger platform, combining the VSmooth™ applicator with the VContour™ applicator to treat multiple layers of tissue, trim inches, and remove cellulite. VelaShape™ is also the first class II platform approved for cellulite reduction by the FDA.
Clearly, there's a lot of overlap when it comes to Body Contouring and Cellulite Removal treatments (as you can observe in the chart above). Still, every individual patient represents a unique set of circumstances, and every cosmetic professional has his or her own opinions and methods for helping patients reach their goals. This makes it all the more important to talk with a specialist about each one of your goals, no matter how many of them you have or how varied they may be. There may be an ideal treatment that can simultaneously sculpt your body and smooth away your cellulite, or it might take a combination of different approaches to get the job done. As long as you explore all your options and put some patience into whichever treatment you choose, you're not likely to be disappointed.Contact Us to arrange a complimentary consultation with a body shaping or cellulite removal specialist near you!