How can aesthetic practitioners help their patients with weight loss?

It’s January, it’s a brand new year, and it’s that time when everyone is making resolutions, big and small.

According to a poll by market research consultancy ComRes, the top three most common new year’s resolutions are: exercise more (38 per cent), lose weight (33 per cent), and eat more healthily (32 per cent).

With one third of us resolving to lose weight in January, it is timely that National Obesity Awareness Week, aimed at raising awareness of obesity and helping improve the nation’s health, takes place this month.

For those looking to trim down and get in shape, there are a number of non-surgical treatments available to help tackle stubborn pockets of fat. So this new year, which fat reduction treatments could you offer to help your patients with weight loss?

Non-surgical fat reduction

Cryolipolysis

 Cryolipolysis, also known as fat freezing, has become a popular non-surgical method for reducing unwanted fat, with more than 450,000 procedures performed worldwide according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

A cryolipolysis applicator – a suction cup with cooling panels – is placed on the area of concern and cools the region to around four degrees Celsius to break down fat cells. These fat cells are then disposed of by the body’s lymphatic system. The results are gradual and can begin to show from around four weeks post-treatment, with optimum results apparent by four to six months following the treatment.

Laser Treatment

Instead of freezing fat cells, a 1060nm (nanometre) wavelength laser can be used to heat fat cells and achieve the same desired result. With applicators placed over the treatment area, the laser is used to heat fat to the point of irreversible damage. Cooling is used during the entire 25-minute treatment to ensure patient comfort, while the laser cycles on and off, raising the temperature of the fat cells.

Just like fat freezing, the fat cells are removed away by the body’s lymphatic system over a matter of weeks, with results seen as quickly as six weeks following the treatment and optimal results around 12 weeks post procedure.

Ultrasound

Unlike fat reduction procedures that use heat or cold, ultrasound treatment involves using pulsed ultrasound energy to selectively destroy fat cells. The ultrasound energy diffuses through the skin, creating rapid pressure changes that cause the fat cells to break down.

Treatments are said to be most effective on the abdomen and flanks, with patients requiring one to three treatments, spaced two weeks apart, and visible results appearing gradually within six to 12 weeks.

Who is suitable for treatment?

All of these treatments are suitable for a majority of patients, with some obvious exceptions such as pregnant or very overweight patients. However, there is one misconception that patients must be aware of – the extent of fat that can be treated.

Those with body fat that covers most of their bodies won’t see the best results, as the treatments should only be used to target problem areas that won’t budge with normal dieting and exercise. They are also unsuitable for those looking for fast results; these treatments target adipose tissue – loose connective tissue composed of adipocytes which stores energy in the form of fat – and it can take several weeks for the body to dispose of the fat through its waste system.

But for those patients who are suitable candidates, consider whether you offer them appropriate fat reduction treatments to help with their weight loss. With this issue so high on so many peoples’ agenda at this time of year, it is definitely worth taking the time to review your treatment menu to identify whether you can add further value.