Confused About Body Contouring? Learn More About Your Options

Pregnancy, hormone fluctuations, aging and other factors change the shape and size of your body. Your genetics are responsible for where your body stores excess fatty tissue. Unfortunately, you can’t spot-reduce fat from your problem areas. At ShineMD Medspa & Liposuction Center in Houston, TX, we want you to know you can achieve the body of your dreams with effective body contouring options.


What Is Body Contouring?

Body contouring usually refers to non-invasive or minimally invasive fat reduction treatments. Cryolipolysis and cool laser treatments target and destroy fat cells via cold.

Laser lipolysis targets fat cells and liquefies them via controlled heating from laser energy. Radiofrequency lipolysis uses ultrasound technology and controlled heating to target and destroy fat cells. Finally, injection lipolysis involves the injection of deoxycholic acid to target and “eat” fat cells.

Will Body Contouring Help Me Lose Weight?

Yes and no. Body contouring involves the death of fat cells, which are removed from your body via your lymphatic system or suction. Once these dead fat cells have left your body, you will experience “weight loss”.

However, these treatments are not meant to be weight loss solutions. In fact, the best candidates for fat reduction treatment are at or near their ideal body weight.

Body Contouring treatment

Body Contouring: Your Options Explained


CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved fat reduction treatment that uses freezing temperatures to target and destroy fat cells. Because fat cells have a lower freezing point than surrounding tissues, you can enjoy a reduction in localized fat deposits without damaging surrounding tissues.

Moreover, treatment does not hurt because the cold temperatures numb the treatment sites. The most common areas to be targeted with CoolSculpting are:

  • Bra and back fat
  • Lower buttocks (banana roll)
  • Submental fullness (double chin)
  • Upper arms and underarms
  • Flanks
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Lower and upper abdomen

Each treatment site takes, on average, 35 to 60 minutes, and there is no downtime or recovery associated with this treatment method.

In fact, if you’re only having a small area treated, such as your chin or underarms, you can come in during your lunch break and go back to work once your treatment is complete. Just keep in mind you may need a couple treatment sessions to achieve your desired results.

Laser Lipolysis treatment1

Laser Lipolysis

Laser lipolysis, also known as SculpSure or WarmSculpting, has been FDA-approved for the treatment of excess fatty tissue deposits since 2015. This method uses the high temperatures resulting from lots of laser light energy to heat and liquefy fat cells.

Over the course of the next 12 weeks, your lymphatic system will process and eliminate the dead fat cells from your body. The most common target areas for laser lipolysis are the abdomen and flanks. However, it can safely and effectively be used to treat other regions of excess fat, as well.

The average laser lipolysis treatment session lasts only 25 minutes, and there is no associated downtime or required recovery period. While you may need multiple treatment sessions to achieve your desired results, this treatment is fondly known as the “lunchtime lipo” because it is by far the most convenient fat removal method.

Laser Lipolysis treatment process

Radiofrequency Lipolysis

BTL Vanquish ME and UltraShape are the two most common examples of FDA-approved fat reduction treatments that contour the body via ultrasound technology. Ultrasound technology is very gentle on the skin and involves no discomfort. Like laser lipolysis, radiofrequency lipolysis is most commonly used to treat the abdomen and flanks.

On average, each trouble area takes an hour to treat. However, you can resume your daily activities immediately. Most of our clients enjoy satisfactory results after no more than two treatments.

Radiofrequency Lipolysis

Injection Lipolysis

Do you know what cryolipolysis, laser lipolysis and radiofrequency lipolysis have in common? They all rely on deoxycholic acid. Deoxycholic acid is a natural byproduct of healthy gut bacteria. Its normal function is to help your lymphatic system process dietary fat. However, it will happily destroy dead fat cells from your own body.

Injection lipolysis, sold under the brand name Kybella, was FDA-approved to treat fatty tissue deposits based on this premise. The active ingredient in Kybella is a synthetic version of deoxycholic acid. It is used to treat excess fat deposits beneath the chin. Treatment only takes around half an hour, there is no downtime or recovery and you only need two to six treatments to achieve your ideal aesthetic.

Injection Lipolysis

Am I a Good Candidate for Fat Reduction Treatments?

During your initial consultation, we will review your medical history, assess your current health and discuss your unique aesthetic goals to determine if you are a good candidate for fat reduction. Once we determine you are a good candidate for fat reduction treatment, the next question will be what combination of treatments are right for you.

There is no hard-and-fast rule determining if you are a good candidate for all fat reduction treatments. However, we will talk about what makes you a good candidate for this type of treatment in general.

You Have a Healthy, Stable Weight

This doesn’t mean you can’t fall into the BMI category of overweight. However, you should not have a body mass index considered obese. There are several reasons for this.

First, people who suffer from obesity are likely to have health problems and take medications for those health problems that can affect the results of treatment. Second, there is no way to achieve your desired results through fat reduction treatment if you have a BMI of 30 or greater.

There are also a number of reasons why your weight should be stable. Many people yo-yo diet for decades. You may be at your ideal weight right now, but if you haven’t maintained this weight for six months to a year, you may end up gaining it all back.

Weight gain causes your skin to stretch. When you lose weight, your skin can sag if it is lax. If you lose a dramatic amount of weight, you may find you have excess skin which needs to be removed. The bottom line is you will enjoy satisfactory results from fat reduction treatment if you can maintain your current weight.

Before and After gallery.


You Are Within 35 Pounds of Your Goal Weight

As touched on previously, elastic skin is important. If you can pinch your skin away from your body and it “snaps” back into place quickly, you have elastic skin. Ideally, people seeking fat reduction treatment are within 10 or 20 pounds of their goal weight. However, if your skin is healthy, you may still be a good candidate for this type of treatment if you are within 30 to 35 pounds of your goal weight.

If you lose more than 35 pounds, there’s a good chance that the collagen and elastin in your skin won’t be strong enough to keep your skin taut. There’s also a chance you will have excess skin if you lose a lot of weight.

If you have inelastic skin, or if your skin is damaged from excessive sun exposure, regular smoking or alcohol misuse, there is still hope for you. The heat from laser lipolysis actually stimulates your body’s production of collagen, making your skin look younger, healthier and tauter.

You Have Realistic Expectations

It is essential that you understand body contouring treatments are different from weight loss procedures. Fat reduction treatments target and remove fat from specific regions of your body that trouble you.

Weight loss procedures alter the size, shape and function of your gastrointestinal tract to help you lose between 50% and 80% of your excess body weight. These will not help you reduce fat volume in one particular area of your body.

Weight loss procedures can help you lose well over half of your excess body weight: but what can fat reduction treatments do for you? This depends on several factors, including the volume of fat in your trouble spots, how many treatments you receive and the size of the areas being treated. However, you can expect around a 25% fat volume reduction per treatment session.

If you are treating a larger area, such as your abdomen, you may only see a localized volume reduction of 20% to 23% per treatment session. However, if you are treating a smaller region, like your underarms, you may see an 80% reduction of localized fat deposits in just one treatment session.

You Are Fairly Healthy

While fat removal treatments are non-invasive, you still need to be fairly healthy to be a good candidate for treatment. For example, certain nerve disorders make cryolipolysis a bad choice for some people. Similarly, you should not take blood thinners or certain medications for some blood diseases for a few days before treatment.

When you come in for your first appointment, bring a list of all medications, vitamins and herbal supplements you are currently taking. Some supplements, like vitamin E and fish oil, can thin the blood and affect the results of your fat removal treatment.

If you feel pain or discomfort before your treatment, take Tylenol or a similar non-NSAID pain relief medication. You should also let us know if you have an active infection at the treatment site within two weeks of your treatment.

You Have Enough Fat to Treat

It’s important to not have too much fat. But it’s just as important to have enough fat to treat. CoolSculpting uses a handheld device that attaches to your body. While there are different sizes and shapes of this device to accommodate smaller volumes of fat, it’s still important to have at least an inch of pinchable fat for you to be a good candidate for treatment. This rule of thumb applies fairly well across all fat reduction techniques.

CoolSculpting process

Frequently Asked Questions About Non-Invasive Fat Reduction Treatments

1. Will the Results of My CoolSculpting Be Symmetrical?

Many people want to spot-reduce fat on the arms, thighs, chest or sides. But they’re worried that there will be inconsistent results. CoolSculpting® provides symmetrical results every time. This is because of a revolutionary technique known as DualSculpting.

DualSculpting involves the use of two applicators running at the same temperature simultaneously. This means your left inner thigh won’t be treated for 40 minutes while your right inner thigh is treated for 32 minutes. This technique also has the distinct advantage of halving the time commitments of treatment.

2. Can Kybella Treat My Thigh Fat?

Since 2015, Kybella® has primarily been used to treat submental fullness and neck fat. However, deoxycholic acid can target and destroy fat cells anywhere. For example, it can be used to treat underarm fat effectively. However, you will need to come in for an initial consultation to determine if a certain region of your body is right for Kybella treatment.

3. How Long Do the Results Last?

The results of fat removal treatments are considered permanent. Adults can’t grow new fat cells, so once the dead fat cells are flushed from your body, they are gone permanently. However, it’s important that you maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life.

If you gain weight after treatment, there’s no way to know where your body will store the excess fat. You may find that the remaining fat cells in your treated regions swell up with fat. Because there are fewer fat cells in the treatment site, the fatty tissue deposits may not be as noticeable. But you may still be displeased with your aesthetic.

If you gain too much weight after treatment, you may need to come in for a follow-up fat removal treatment. However, you will not need regularly scheduled maintenance treatments to maintain your results.

4. How Many Treatment Sessions Will I Need?

For laser lipolysis, cryolipolysis and radiofrequency lipolysis, you may need between one and three treatments to achieve your desired results. However, if you receive Kybella somewhere other than your chin, you may need three to six treatments, spaced one month apart, to achieve your desired aesthetic.

Remember, each treatment session only removes around a quarter of your localized fat cells. If you want to lose 43.75% of your abdominal fat, you will need approximately two treatments. The first treatment will remove roughly 25% of your abdominal fat cells, leaving you with 75% of the fat cells you started with.

If you come in for a follow-up treatment, you can expect to lose around 25% of the remaining 75% of fat cells. This equates to an additional 18.75% volume reduction from where you started. Thus, you will have lost around 43.75% of the original abdominal fat cells.

5. Are Results Immediate?

The results of fat removal treatments are not considered immediate. Your targeted fat cells are immediately destroyed. However, it takes a while for your lymphatic system to process and flush out the dead fat cells. You can generally expect to see the results of treatment within a couple of weeks.

However, it can be between two and six months before you see the final results of your treatment. The advantage to this, however, is that you appear to your friends and family to be losing weight slowly and naturally. Nobody has to know you’ve had “work done’.

Laser Lipolysis process

Learn How to Sculpt the Body of Your Dreams Today

To learn more about your body contouring options, contact the dedicated medical professionals at ShineMD Medspa & Liposuction Center in Houston, TX today to schedule your initial consultation. Whether CoolSculpting, WarmSculpting, laser lipo or another body sculpting treatment is right for you, we can’t wait to help you sculpt the body of your dreams.

Here at ShineMD Medspa & Liposuction Centre in Houston, TX, we give you solutions. So, please book an appointment with us today and get a one-on-one consultation with the best board-certified skin specialists in town. You can call us at 832.509.5099 to schedule an appointment also. Read ahead, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know—one step at a time.

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