Body Contouring and Laser Myths

bodymeasure1. MYTH: There’s now a permanent cure for cellulite.

REALITY: There’s no permanent cure for cellulite, which is present in all females from age 11–99. It’s due to estrogen. There are exciting things on the horizon, but they’re not here yet.

2. MYTH: Laser liposuction is the best form of liposuction today.

REALITY: Not true. It hasn’t even been proven to work as effectively as traditional liposuction. The best and most advanced liposuction remains “UAL,” which gives the best contour and results with the least downtime. We’re working on this technology at UT Southwestern, trying to develop standardized techniques that may yield more consistent and reliable results.

3. MYTH: Fat can come back after liposuction and “reverse” the procedure.

REALITY: Fat doesn’t come back in the same areas unless you gain over 30 percent of your body weight after liposuction. Then you can actually grow new fat! Long-term results in body contouring demand that you change your lifestyle. With regular exercise and proper diet, you shouldn’t see fat reappear in the liposuctioned areas.

4. MYTH: Non-surgical fat removal doesn’t really work.

REALITY: Yes, it does. While it’s not a replacement for liposuction, in some patients there may be some benefit to both external ultrasound treatments as well as low-level laser treatments. This is an area of intense research at UT Southwestern, and we anticipate more advances in the future. It has good science behind it as well. In research done at UT Southwestern we’ve shown that by using focused ultrasound beams you can remove a modest amount of unwanted fat in certain areas. This is a very exciting new field. Remember that diet and exercise are required in order to achieve optimal results using these non-invasive treatments just as they are with surgery.

5. MYTH: Extreme makeovers as seen on TV are commonly done and are very safe.

REALITY: It’s a total misconception that you can perform total body contouring and breast augmentation and teeth whitening in one setting. In general, this isn’t safe or recommended for most patients.

6. MYTH: Skin tightening lasers work well and will replace facelifts in the future.

REALITY: There isn’t a predictable and reliable way to tighten the skin non-invasively. However, we do have advances in laser resurfacing that allow us to treat fine and moderate lines of the face with less discomfort and recovery.

7. MYTH: Fractional laser skin resurfacing tightens the skin non-surgically.

REALITY: Despite lots of advertising to the contrary, fractional lasers aren’t skin-tightening devices. However, they can be a good choice to correct sun damage, discoloration, fine lines and even acne scars. A small percentage of patients may achieve some skin tightening, but this isn’t a predictable benefit. While fractional lasers offer minimal downtime, other types of lasers can offer more visible results. The rule of thumb is: the shorter the recovery time, the less improvement you can expect.

8. MYTH: Mesotherapy is an easy and safe way to spot-reduce fat and lose weight.

REALITY: Mesotherapy isn’t approved by the FDA. It can be dangerous and very painful and yields little or no results. Also known as “the French Method,” Mesotherapy uses multiple needle injections to deliver small amounts of herbal and vitamin compounds to the middle layer of the skin. Touted as a minimally invasive procedure that treats everything from cellulite to sagging skin to excess weight, most of Mesotherapy’s claims are completely unfounded.

9. MYTH: Cosmetic laser vaginal rejuvenation can tighten / tone / shrink the vaginal walls.

REALITY: This is primarily marketing hype and doesn’t work. Period. Cosmetic surgical labiaplasty is different and is effective for reshaping or reducing the external genitalia.

10. MYTH: Liposuction or a tummy tuck can jumpstart me to eat better and exercise.

REALITY: Eating right, exercising and lifestyle changes are imperative to optimizing success in body contouring. This must begin before surgery.

11. MYTH: Exercising is the most important component to a weight-loss program.

REALITY: That’s incorrect. While exercising on a regular basis helps tone your body, it’s your daily diet that will determine how effectively you lose weight and then maintain it. A balanced diet will allow for a slow and steady weight loss. Fad diets often yield only temporary weight loss results.

12. MYTH: Herbal diet medications are safe and effective for weight loss.

REALITY: Herbal medications and supplements are completely unregulated by the FDA, so you never really know what you’re going to get. They can often contain “stimulants” which may react adversely with other medications or your body.