One area of the body that many individuals can be self-conscious of is the stomach and abdominal area. Even with a good diet and exercise regime, excess fat in the stomach area can linger and be hard to lose. The good news is that there are a number of options available that can help reduce excess fat in this area. Generally, treatments to this area fall into two distinct areas, reducing excess skin with laser skin tightening techniques and fat removal.
Thermage for skin tightening
For individuals with a little excess or sagging skin then a skin tightening procedure such as Thermage could be a good option. Thermage uses radiofrequency heating to tighten existing collagen and over the following few months new collagen is formed in its place, and this extra collagen also helps tighten the skin further. This cannot replace surgery, but there is no downtime with this procedure and a patient can resume their normal routine instantly.
In cases where there is not too much excess skin, this laser treatment is commonly performed by Dr. Green to tighten the abdominal area. Results are long lasting, with the effects of a single Thermage treatment lasting for up to two years. Many of our patients often use this option to reduce skin issues post-pregnancy for instance.
Thermage in abdomen area, 4 months before/after photo
CoolSculpting for fat removal
While Thermage tackles skin laxity, CoolSculpting focuses on the fat, via a process called cryolipolysis, known as ‘fat freezing’ to help reduce the fat cells in the body. Suction adapters are attached to the treatment area and the skin under the pads is cooled down, destroying the fat in the stomach. After the fat freezing session has taken place, the fat leaves the body naturally in the targeted area. Post treatment, a patient can resume their normal routine since there is no downtime.
CoolSculpting can target both the abdomen and the hip area, or love handles. Results appear a few months after the treatments take place. Sometimes, more than one treatment may be recommended since with each successive treatment more fat is reduced from the targeted area. Each CoolSculpting session can reduce the fat in the area by up to 25%, which can be a significant improvement.
Additional fat removal options
Another non-surgical option for removing fat from around the stomach area is the FDA approved treatment, Vanquish. This treatment uses RF technology to heats up the fat cells in the body around the stomach area. After the treatment and over the following days and weeks, the Vanquish procedure helps ‘flush’ out the fat from the body, reducing the size and improving the appearance of the stomach area.
An individual normally requires six treatments to achieve the best results and these sessions typically take place a week apart. One of the main benefits of Vanquish is that it is considered pain free and there is no down time. Some patience may experience a little discomfort and post-treatment redness, but this reduces quickly. Overall a patient can expect to reduce their waist between two and four inches in total, which can be quite a dramatic change to the overall shape of the stomach area.
After your Vanquish sessions are completed if the patient retains a healthy diet and exercise routine then the size of the stomach can usually be maintained. However, a poor diet and exercise routine can mean that eventually the effects from Vanquish are reversed.
Surgery and tummy tucks (also known as abdominoplasty) are also a popular option for reducing the size of the stomach and abdomen area. The general goal of a tummy tuck is to remove excess fat, but also to help sculpt the abdomen area. Some individuals who have lost a lot of weight, may have excess skin remaining, and this can be difficult to reduce without some form of surgery. Many people refer to this procedure as a “Mommy Makeover.”
45-54 year old female, thermage in abdomen area, 9 months
Generally, this procedure can work very well but these treatment does not come without the potential for serious issues since this is classed as major surgery, and effectively involves an invasive procedure to accomplish. The patient will also need to spend a few nights in hospital and will require a lot of downtime afterwards (between four and six weeks potentially) so time off work will be required, and the individual will not be able to drive a car for a few weeks after the procedure. For many people this expense and downtime is too great a hurdle, so other options, such as non-invasive procedures become much attractive especially since in many cases excellent results can still be achieved.