It’s no secret that the millennial generation’s fixation on non-surgical enhancements (like botox and fillers, for example) seems more prevalent than ever before.
Between body and face altering apps and a never-ending amount of filters all over Instagram and social media at large, many are looking to get work done in the same way that they're able to edit their posts and photos -- quickly, efficiently and pain-free.
Whereas generations before only had the option to go "under the knife", dermatologists and plastic surgeons abound are now offering non-invasive services with major results and little-to-no recovery time.
Chief among this growing trend of non-invasive surgery is the concept of body sculpting and contouring, where machines can eliminate fat cells (read: kill them off indefinitely) by using machines and technology that sit over the skin during treatment sessions, explains Dr. Sapna Palep, founder of Spring Street Dermatology.
Dr. Palep founded her practice 10 years ago, which specializes in everything from medical treatments like treating acne and acne scarring to using lasers and devices for popular treatments like laser hair removal, infared skin tightening and of course, body contouring:
"I hand all my patients a mirror and ask them what bothers them. That’s what we focus on, we are not here to tell you what to do but to guide you in the right direction towards your goals."
The newest and most advanced device in the non-invasive fat removal arena is the TruSculpt ID machine, something that Dr. Palep swears by.
In simplest terms, the machine works on six pockets of fat bulge at the same time and takes 15 minutes to complete:
"You can treat six areas at one time — six pockets of fat at one time in 15 minutes ... [The machine] toggles between two [areas] at a time when you start heating up."
Patients are hooked up to the machine (which looks somewhat like a sleek version of something you'd see in 'Frankenstein') via different nodes that are then attached and secured over the skin in the area that is to be treated -- no anesthesia, no pre procedure prep.
Once the treatment begins, the machine is monitored to make sure that the heat being emitted stays at optimal temperatures:
"We know that at a temperature of 43.5 - 45 degrees is where apoptosis happens, which is the death of the cell," Dr. Palep explains.
The temperature on the machine may have to be toggled with or adjusted throughout the patient's session in order to ensure that the maximum number of fat cells are being melted, with the heat feeling more like a warm heating pad instead of a burning sensation.
The melted fat cells will then be flushed out of the system over the course of three to four months which is when patients can expect to see peak results.
Though some patients will return for multiple sessions in the same area, it's not a necessity.
In fact, Dr. Palep shares, one session may be all most people need to see results that they want:
"One single session of TruSculpt ID can result in 24 percent of fat cell reduction in the treated area. The second session can reduce 24 percent of that newly recovered area, a third session 24 percent of that and so on."
TruSculpt ID is ideal for patients with "stubborn areas of fat," Dr. Palep says, places that "won't budge even if you diet and exercise regularly."
After treatment, patients can quite literally walk out the door and go about their daily lives -- there is no recovery period or painful side affects aside from temporary redness and perhaps (albeit rarely) mild discomfort.
Dr. Palep explains that the most common area patients request for fat removal is the abdomen, which is optimal for the TruSculpt ID machine due to its ability to treat six areas at once -- two nodes on the top of the abdomen, two on the ever-stubborn lower abdomen and one on each side flank.
TruSculpt ID has several advantages over its predecessor, TruSculpt 3D, and even more over the first popularized form of non-invasive fat destruction treatment, CoolSculpting:
“CoolSculpt was the original, most-known in the arena of body contouring — CoolSculpt freezes fat, TruSculpt melts fat."
Though both are effective, Dr. Palep says that "the big advantage of TruSculpt over CoolSculpt is that with CoolSculpt, it doesn’t tighten the skin -- this gets rid of the fat and the radio frequency of the machine tightens the skin."
The TruSculpt machine's ability to work on multiple areas of fat at one time is also advantageous over CoolSculpting seeing that one of the more popularly known side effects of CoolSculpting is the potential for lumpy deposits to form in the treated area:
"TruSculpt's results are so much more even because the heat dissipates — we’re not just treating or just freezing one area, but multiple spread out areas."
Prices for the treatment will vary based on how many areas are treated and how big the surface area of each treatment is but the average price for a session starts at around $750.
Though the burning of fat cells won't aid in improving one's overall fitness level, it could provide the aesthetic tweak that so many crave.
It is, after all, the age of editing.