Among the most commonly-sought cosmetic procedures, body contouring (also known as body shaping or body sculpting) is the creation of a more attractive silhouette through any of a variety of aesthetic modalities, most often involving the treatment or surgical removal of fat.
The gold standard is liposuction, a surgical procedure with inherent risks that many patients wish to avoid. Numerous less invasive energy-based alternatives are available, as well as energy-assisted liposuction which is usually gentler in comparison to regular tumescent liposuction. Completely non-invasive procedures are becoming more prevalent but results are less predictable and less dramatic in comparison.
Laser-assisted liposuction (most often with laser but there are many alternatives) involved the introduction of a cannula into the treatment area through a tiny incision after introduction of tumescent solution (much like regular liposuction). Non-tumescent energy assisted fat treatment is also possible.
In both cases energy emitted from the cannula tip causes thermal and photoacoustic disruption of fat cells for easy removal by suction, drainage, and/or the body’s natural waste removal processes. In some cases, thermal buildup beneath the skin can induce additional contraction of skin, which is highly beneficial due to the localized volume reduction, which is the desired outcome of body contouring procedures.
In the case of laser-based procedures, the efficiency and efficacy of treatment is linked to the wavelength and proper delivery of therapeutic energy to more completely emulsify fat. Ideal wavelengths are absorbed by both water and fat, which are the major constituents of adipocytes. Skillful application of technique improves the sculpting effect, made more precise with smaller cannulas and predictable energy delivery. Careful modulation of treatment parameters allows users to customize treatment based on the needs of the individual patient, to maximize results as well as manage patient comfort and the potential for side effects.