Published March 15, 2020 By Dr. Adam Lowenstein

Making healthy choices just feels good, doesn’t it? Eating well fuels the body and keeps the mind sharp. Getting exercise several days a week helps us offset the stress of everyday life and also gives us more energy to thrive. If these were the only goals of a healthy lifestyle, most of us would be pretty pleased. The truth is, though, that we also want to look good. When generally healthy habits don’t provide us with that sense of reward we want to feel when we look in the mirror, something needs to change. In many cases, that something is just a matter of getting rid of stubborn fat with a little professional assistance.

In our Santa Barbara plastic surgery office, patients have the option of nonsurgical body contouring with CoolSculpting. They may also choose surgical intervention with Vaser liposuction. The common school of thought regarding these two techniques is that nonsurgical treatment must be better. Here, we discuss the facts about CoolSculpting and Vaser liposuction to help you make the most well-informed decision about your care.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is the FDA-approved technology that freezes fat cells. During a treatment session, the device applicator is placed against the skin. A small amount of tissue is suctioned into the applicator, which is then adjusted to a target temperature. Over the course of 45 minutes to an hour, the fat cells form destructive crystals. These affected cells are eliminated through natural physiological pathways. Patients may begin to see positive changes in their bodies after two weeks but should not expect the full effects of CoolSculpting to culminate until 12 weeks after treatment. Something to keep in mind about CoolSculpting is that this treatment can reduce fat by up to 24%. However, this reduction is limited to the direct treatment area, which is based on the size of the applicator.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction refers to the surgical removal of fat cells. In general, all liposuction procedures require some type of anesthesia. Small incisions are also necessary. After administering a tumescent solution of lidocaine and adrenaline into the layer of subcutaneous fat, the surgeon uses a cannula, a hollow tube about the size as a knitting needle, to dislodge and aspirate unwanted fat.

Historically, the liposuction procedure has involved the passing of the cannula back and forth through subcutaneous fat. The technique creates tunnels into which surrounding fat can settle. Though effective, this standard approach incurs unnecessary trauma. VASER stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance. It is a technique that utilizes ultrasonic vibrations to disrupt and loosen fat cells from the important connective tissue around them. This technology minimizes trauma and downtime and also enables the surgeon to sculpt body contours more precisely.

We are pleased to offer both body contouring options at Montecito Plastic Surgery. To consult with Dr. Lowenstein about which approach may provide you with the best outcome, call 805.969.9004.

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