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Body Contouring Break Down

Sexy woman on the beach, black and white photo of fashion model posing on seashore, wearing a big hat, and covers her face, fashionable summer photo shoot

With spring weather slowly making its appearance, it’s a great time of year to work toward that perfect beach body. Of course, a healthy diet and exercise are the first recommendations for achieving weight loss, but what do people do when they’d like to reduce fat or if they have sagging or loose skin from a major weight loss?  Or what if they just prefer cosmetic or plastic surgery?

That’s where body contouring procedures come into play.

The world of body contouring has come a long way from liposuction and tummy tucks.  There are now invasive, minimally-invasive, and non-invasive procedures available.  Technology within these types of procedures has also evolved, with new patents and discoveries constantly being implemented.

Some of the more popular body contouring procedures include: Smart Lipo, tummy tucks, CoolSculpting, UltraShape, Venus Freeze Legacy, and Endermologie.  While these procedures are similar, they’re not to be confused with one another.  Each has unique features, which are important for clients to note when determining the right procedure for them.

Smart Lipo vs. Tummy Tuck

While the popularity of liposuction, a cosmetic surgery that removes unwanted fat deposits from underneath the skin, has increased over the years, a specific liposuction technique that is rapidly gaining popularity is Smart Lipo. As defined by, Smart Lipo is a minimally invasive procedure that uses laser technologies to melt fat.

Dr. David Berman of Berman Cosmetic Surgery in Sterling, Va. specializes in Smart Lipo.  He says this procedure is constantly compared to the tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty.  Both procedures remove fat and tighten the skin, but Smart Lipo focuses more on removing the fat, while the tummy tuck focuses on the latter.

Also, the tummy tuck focuses solely on the abdominal area, while, according to Dr. Berman, Smart Lipo can be performed from the neck down to the knee.

Dr. Berman also recommends that those who are more than 20 percent above their ideal body weight should look into getting a tummy tuck, because the ideal Smart Lipo candidate is within 15 to 20 percent of their ideal body weight.

Another difference between the two procedures is recovery.  A representative of WIFH, an Atlanta-based Concierge Medical Practice specializing in Laser Aesthetics, wrote that Smart Lipo results in up to two days of recovery time, little to no bruising, and use of a compression garment for three weeks.  However, according to Dr. Timothy Mountcastle of Mountcastle Plastic Surgery in Ashburn, Va., after a tummy tuck, patients can experience some discomfort that can be controlled with medication, swelling and bruising that can last from weeks to months, a recovery time of two to four weeks (they can go back to work at this time, but they should wait four to six weeks before continuing with more strenuous activities), and wearing a compression garment on their abdomen for a “period of time.”

CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction

The idea that cold can selectively affect fat led to the innovative cooling process developed by scientists at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. CoolSculpting technology safely delivers precisely controlled cooling to gently and effectively target the fat cells underneath the skin. The treated fat cells are crystallized (frozen), then die. Over time, your body naturally processes the fat and eliminates these dead cells, leaving a more sculpted you. Coolsculpting is Ideal because there will be no more lumps, no anesthesia, and no downtime.

Before and After

Where it’s used: Stomach, Thighs, Flanks and Chin

Where to have it done: Astoria Laser Clinic and Med Spa

Number of treatments: One to two per area only

Astoria“No more lumps, No more anesthesia, No more downtime.”

–Lorena Popp, MD

Astoria Laser Clinic and Med Spa
Phone: 703-992-9290

CoolSculpting vs. UltraShape

Those who prefer less recovery time might consider non-invasive procedures like CoolSculpting or UltraShape.  They’re also ideal for individuals who have been able to reduce visceral fat (fat that forms around the organs) through healthy diet and exercise, but need help getting rid of subcutaneous fat (fat that forms underneath the skin’s surface).  Both procedures only take up to an hour and are said to result in little to no pain.

Both CoolSculpting and UltraShape are cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  They both kill unwanted fat cells, however, CoolSculptuing uses cooling panels to freeze away fat, while UltraShape uses a transducer to create ultrasound pulses that help in the process of eliminating fat.

More specifically, according to Astoria Laser Clinic and Med Spa in Vienna, Va., in a CoolSculpting session, a device is positioned on the treatment area, draws the bulge up between two cooling panels, and creates a firm pull and pressure sensation, which cools and kills the fat cells.  But according to the writers of, in an UltraShape procedure, after a specially designed belt is wrapped around the abdomen and a soothing gel is applied onto the skin, a trained technician glides an UltraShape transducer over the treatment area, creating ultrasound pulses that remove excess fat.

UltraShape vs. Liposuction

Those who prefer less recovery time might consider non-invasive procedures like CoolSculpting or UltraShape.  They’re also ideal for individuals who have been able to reduce visceral fat (fat that forms around the organs) through healthy diet and exercise, but need help getting rid of subcutaneous fat (fat that forms underneath the skin’s surface).  Both procedures only take up to an hour and are said to result in little to no pain.

The UltraShape system has been FDA-cleared for abdominal circumference reduction and shown to be safe and effective for patients. UltraShape is able to target fat cells, destroying them instantly, so patients can see visible results within two weeks. Because the ultrasound energy is pulsed and focused, UltraShape is able to target the fat cells mechanically, without heating them and without damaging surrounding tissue. The designated area is treated only once, ensuring a complete and uniform treatment. Once the fat cell membranes are disrupted, the contents of the cells are transported through the vascular and lymphatic systems to the liver. The fat is then processed via the body’s natural mechanisms. You should see results in as few as two weeks. Clinical results show an average reduction of 3.3 cm (1.3 inches) or up to 6.3 cm (nearly 2.5 inches) after three treatments. The best part of UltraShape is that it is a non-invasive procedure that requires no downtime and no surgery.

Before and After

Where it’s used: Stomach and buttocks

Where to have it done: Healthydermis

Number of treatments: Three treatments are recommended

mabir“UltraShape will PERMANENTLY eliminate fat cells in a natural way by respecting the natural metabolism of the body without injuring tissue.”

– Mabir Riveros, Medical Aesthetician

Phone: 571-502-0202

Venus Freeze vs. Endermologie

The CoolSculpting and UltraShape techniques help prove that technology is important in effective body contouring procedures.  However, the technology used in those two procedures is basic compared to that used in Venus Freeze and Endermologie.

While one would imagine that Venus Freeze was similar to CoolSculpting, Venus Freeze actually freezes time, not fat.  It also concentrates on tightening skin and reducing the appearance of cellulite, as does Endermologie.  Both Venus Freeze and Endermologie are also non-invasive, but the main difference is the specific technology used and processes that occur during the procedures.

According to, Venus Freeze was developed by Venus Concept, a leader in the aesthetic medicine industry, and “is the first all-in-one cosmetic medicine workstation” that combines Multi-Polar Radio Frequency (RF), VariPulseTM Technology (VP), Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields (PEMF), and Real-Time Thermal Feedback.  In layman’s terms, as explained by Astoria Laser Clinic and Med Spa, RF and PEMF combine to form MP2, which penetrates, heats, and eventually tightens the skin.

Endermologie also uses technology to attack cellulite and loose skin.  But according to LPG, a self-named world leader in cellular stimulation with the CELLU M6, Endermologie is known for the unique Mecano-Stimulation technique, during which rollers and flaps are used to grasp the skin tissue and target different areas of the face and body and skin tissue problems.

Not only do the two procedures differ in approach, but they also differ in the number of treatments required.  Tricia Ellis-Christensen of said Endermologie usually requires 14 to 28 sessions, each about 45 minutes.  According to Dr. Coutin of Great Falls Med Spa in Great Falls, Va., Venus Freeze takes about six to eight sessions that can last 30 minutes to an hour.

Dr. Coutin also says that the people who come to her for Venus Freeze procedures are between ages 40 to 75, while Ellis-Christensen says patients usually range from ages 30 to 45.  Both Dr. Coutin and Ellis-Christensen agree that ideal candidates are those who are fit.


All of the aforementioned procedures have been proven to be effective in helping patients achieve their ideal physical appearance.  It’s important to note that no procedure replaces a healthy lifestyle, which if implemented early on can prevent the need or desire for body contouring surgery. 

Also, regardless of if someone is looking for invasive or non-invasive, quick or gradual, basic or high-tech procedures, it’s highly recommended that he or she consult with a board-certified professional before deciding upon the appropriate procedure.  During this consultation, patients can learn what procedure will best fit their needs based on budget, ability or willingness to attend sessions, body type, and other factors.  From there, patients can determine which body contouring procedure they should endure.