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Skin Tightening and Fat Removal Reigned Supreme in 2017

Skin Tightening and Fat Removal Reigned Supreme in 2017

Americans want to get rid of unwanted fat more than ever before, according to new statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The organization's new numbers show that treatments aimed at eliminating fat and cellulite increased significantly in 2017.

Non-invasive fat-reduction treatments that utilize special technology to "freeze" away fat without surgery increased 7 percent.

Cellulite treatments were also popular in 2017, increasing nearly 20 percent over 2016.

"Many Americans have unwanted fat or cellulite somewhere on their body, and the majority of them want to get rid of it," said Dr. Bill Johnson.

Johnson is a Dallas, Texas, cosmetic physician who hears from patients who want to remove fat and tighten skin from a variety of body areas.

"Some people have excess fat around their midsection in the muffin top area or their upper arms. These areas are hard to tone through exercise and may not respond to a healthy diet because the fat in these areas is very tough and fibrous and does not want to move," Johnson said.

The ASPS suggests that noninvasive methods of fat removal, such as freezing fat through Cool Sculpting, are increasing in popularity because they give patients an idea of what they would look like after body sculpting.

"Noninvasive methods of fat removal can provide a general idea of what a patient would look like after a more invasive body-sculpting procedure, like minimally invasive liposuction," Johnson said.

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that uses suction to remove fat from under the skin.

"Traditional liposuction used to mean general anesthesia and a lengthy surgical procedure and long recovery times, but now technology allows us to make very tiny incisions, use local anesthesia and remove unwanted fat in minutes," Johnson said.

Small incisions and local anesthesia translate to faster recovery times and healing for patients.

"It used to take several weeks to heal from traditional liposuction. Modern techniques have cut that in half or less," Johnson said.

New liposuction techniques also yield skin-tightening benefits to improve results and shape.

"Innovative liposuction techniques and devices help to stimulate collagen production, which tightens skin and other connective tissues. This extra skin tightening means a shapelier result and the improved appearance of cellulite," Johnson said.

Skin-tightening procedures also proved popular in 2017, increasing 9 percent over the previous year.

These procedures can be performed in conjunction with liposuction or as standalone treatments.

"Some patients combine procedures to treat problem areas such as the thighs, or choose skin tightening alone to treat areas like the knee, upper arms, face or abdomen," Johnson said.

Skin tightening is beneficial for individuals who have loose or sagging skin because of aging or because of significant weight loss.

"As we age, our skin loses its ability to stretch and retract, which results in sagging skin. The same thing happens when you gain weight; the skin stretches out and loses its elasticity. When you lose weight, that skin does not retract and sags," Johnson said.

Many skin-tightening treatments work by using heat energy from lasers, ultrasound or radiofrequency to target connective tissues. These treatments are noninvasive procedures that give patients dramatic results quickly.

Skin-tightening treatments such as Thermage, radiofrequency skin tightening and Ultherapy are just some of the minimally invasive procedures in demand in the United States.

The ASPS numbers also showed that Botox and soft-tissue fillers are still in demand; there were 7.23 million Botox injections and 2.69 million filler injections in 2017.

"Skin-tightening treatments and injectables are becoming popular because they are an alternative to surgical procedures that give patients results without pain and long recovery times," Johnson said.


ASPS. New Statistics Reveal the Shape of Plastic Surgery. 1 March 2018.

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