There’s never been a better time to get sculpted. Advancements in minimally invasive facial and body contouring are revolutionizing the industry and surgical techniques are more refined and specialized than ever before. But with options galore, how are you supposed to know what treatments and procedures work the best, much less which one is right for you specifically?
We spoke with Fort Myers, FL plastic surgeon Ralph R. Garramone, MD about the latest and greatest in contouring technology.
Liposuction Gets Upgraded
Bodies are stubborn, and there is no shortage of people who want minor to major changes when they are otherwise happy with their weight and lifestyle. When you’re looking to banish persistent fat and sculpt out your curves, there’s one procedure that has always reigned supreme: liposuction.
But according to Dr. Garramone, it’s the procedures and treatments that have been added to liposuction that have fully transformed the way it’s approached. “From a surgical standpoint, I think most of the advancement in body contouring has to do with refinements in liposuction,” Dr. Garramone explains. “We don’t just perform liposuction on body areas. Now, we are really striving for an improved contour and shape and creating highlights. We do that by accentuating the normal underlying anatomy, which liposuction has evolved to be able to do.”
One way this is accomplished is by combining liposuction with skin-tightening treatments.
“I think the best option is the combination of liposuction and a tissue-tightening procedure, like Renuvion or BodyTite,” Dr. Garramone explains. “This is really how liposuction has evolved over the last five to seven years. We get better results, and we get less irregularities.”
These kind of skin-tightening treatments work best on people with some amount of skin laxity. In cases where the patient has lost more weight, surgical tightening may be necessary.
“If you’ve lost a little weight and are experiencing laxity, you maybe be a candidate for something like Morpheus8 or Sofwave, which can be used in a minimally invasive or noninvasive way to help tighten skin,” Dr. Garramone says. “But if the patient has lost upwards of fifty pounds, there will typically be more excess skin, and a surgical procedure is necessary. That could be an abdominoplasty to treat excess skin of the abdomen, a thigh lift, or a brachioplasty to treat the extra skin on the upper arms.”
Combining those skin-tightening treatments with a surgical procedure may be the most ideal way to approach body contouring.
“I would say that the addition of skin-tightening treatments like Renuvion or BodyTite has resulted in an overall improved contour after surgery,” Dr. Garramone explains. “This is a significant advancement with respect to less invasive procedures for skin tightening.”
The Next Generation of CoolSculpting
You’ve probably heard of CoolSculpting, the first device of its kind to eliminate fat deposits without using a heat energy device. For those of us that might be a little weary of going under the knife or don’t have time for recovery, CoolSculpting is a tempting offer.
“When a patient needs multiple areas addressed, CoolScultping works well for that,” Dr. Garramone says. “You do need to weigh the cost and time involved. There’s a bit of a trade-off. In most cases, liposuction and Renuvion are one-time treatments that provide reliable results. CoolSculpting will typically need more treatments.”
But that may start to change with CoolSculpting’s latest advancement.
“CoolSculpting has revamped their machines and come out with their latest edition, CoolSculpt Elite,” Dr. Garramone explains. “And we’ve had a lot of response to them. We’ve treated a lot of patients, and many will see results after just one treatment, though at least two are recommended.”
Sculpting the Face
Contouring and sculpting the face is a delicate process that’s also seen some major updates in recent years, particularly in the realm of noninvasive treatment.
For Dr. Garramone, the biggest innovation has been the utilization of high-intensity facial electrical stimulation.
“As far as the face and neck is concerned, EMFACE is a completely noninvasive way to help tighten and lift the brows and the cheek using electromagnetic energy that stimulates the muscles,” Dr. Garramone says. “Improving muscle tone helps elevate and lift the tissues, and the device uses heat to help stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. This results in less lines and wrinkles.”
EMFACE is a hugely popular option for patients because of just how noninvasive it really is.
“It’s not an invasive treatment, but it’s also not a painful treatment,” Dr. Garramone explains. “There’s no marks left behind, so you can go out afterwards without downtime.”
One of the aspects of EMFACE that makes it so interesting is that you won’t see the results immediately.
“It takes a little while for the body to respond and to see the results,” Dr. Garramone says. “But it’s an innovation that is really growing in popularity.”
Alongside EMFACE, ultrasound technology is another innovative sculpting technology growing in popularity.
“Sofwave is another modality that we use,” Dr. Garramone explains. “It uses ultrasound energy to generate heat. And what’s unique about this is that it can be used on any skin type. Both EMFACE and Sofwave can be used on any skin tone without fear of hyperpigmentation, which is a concern with needling approaches like Morpheus8.”