FDA: Non-Invasive Body Contouring May Still Bring Risks

The Federal Health Administration (FDA) announced on December 7 that body sculpted procedures advertised as non-invasive are still vulnerable to risks, and may not even be long-lasting like it claims. To ensure safety after such procedures, you must be aware of potential risks and damages.

Non-invasive body contouring, or non-surgical body contouring, is thought to be a method of "sculpting" your body without actual surgery. The Federal Drug Administration, however, says these non-invasive procedures can still convey risks.

What is non-invasive body contouring?

Non-invasive body contouring, or body sculpting, refers to the process of shaping parts of your body. In today's busy society, non-invasive body contouring gained popularity for its quick time and somewhat easier recovery.

Most patients notice some differences after a couple of sessions. It can eventually sculpt your body's silhouette by removing some fat, toning your muscles, correcting the image of cellulite, and more. Body contouring can have many effects according to your liking, and is advertised to quickly change the appearance of your body to your desire by removing the appearance of cellulite.

Cellulite is a normal skin condition that creates lumpy, uneven flesh on certain parts of your body such as thighs, hips, and more. Cellulite is more common in women and some individuals try to rid the appearance of cellulite by exercising portion control, or even creams. There is no specific cause of cellulite and can involve genetics, weight gain, or aging. There is usually no risk associated with cellulite, and it is entirely normal for individuals to have cellulite and bumpy areas in the skin.

These contouring procedures are not expected to bring perfectly desired results 100 percent of the time, and the results may only be short-term. As it is "non-invasive," the procedure does not remove any tissue from the body and is different from a surgical body contouring procedure. Surgical body contouring involves the cutting of actual skin, while non-invasive body contouring is done by specific devices. The technology devices are designed to make the appearance of cellulite better, without changing your body shape significantly.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a non-invasive body contouring can vary greatly, depending on the surgeon's experience, office location, and more. Individuals can expect to pay somewhere around $1,600 to $4,200 for a course of treatment.

What are the risks?

Although non-invasive body contouring is quite popular among individuals to sculpt their bodies, the FDA says that it comes with risks like any other medical procedure. Some risks can only last for a small amount of time, but some complications can linger on for longer, or even become permanent that necessitate surgery. You must conduct your research and communicate with medical professionals to learn more about the process and learn about potential effects on your own body.

Some complications include pain and discomfort, redness, swelling, bruising, and nodules. Non-invasive body contouring works by using a device directly on the skin's surface. They do not require incisions of the skin and have various types of technology machines. It can be either thermal, meaning it cools or heats your tissues, or non-thermal.

The cooling method involves freezing the fat by utilizing cold temperatures. The machine sucks in the targeted area with an applicator, and then gets cooled for one hour. Body fat is sensitive to cold temperatures, which is how the fat cells get removed. The fat absorbed from the cells is then gradually emptied by the body's immune system, typically requiring a period of two or three months.

This process slowly sculpts your body and allows targeted areas to appear less fat. If you suffer from certain conditions, including Raynaud's disease, pernio, cryoglobulinemia, and chilblains, you should not have a fat-freezing procedure.

Some risks involved with fat-freezing procedures can include redness, swelling, pain, and skin discoloration. These are common risks that usually disappear with time. If, however, you have long-lasting numbness, nodules, or freeze burns on the skin, you may need to seek medical intervention.

Some least common yet more complicated risks involve hernia and Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH) which may require surgical procedures.

Aside from freezing your fat, there is also the option to heat your fat cells. The heating process works by damaging the fat cells in the fat layer underneath the skin. Radiofrequency energy, light-based energy, or ultrasound methods can be used for the heat process.

Non-thermal procedures include photobiomodulation, magnetic field, or massage and vibration methods. Photobiomodulation, which is a low-level light therapy, works by using very low doses of visible light. This process allows the cell to change the way it operates, allowing short-term reduction of fat in the targeted area. Pulsed magnetic fields work by prompting small electric currents in the muscles.

The periodic muscle contraction during the process works to improve your muscle tone and firmness. The mechanical method, which is massaging or vibrating away the skin and fat, involves a handpiece that rolls over your skin to improve the appearance of cellulite in the desired area.

Although non-invasive body sculpting does not involve incisions or surgical procedures, you must consult with a medical professional and know the different risks associated with the procedure. Everyone’s body is built differently, and it is important to know your body system before hopping on a trend that can potentially bring risks.

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