The Surgeon Minute

Surgery-Free: Remove Fat and Shrink Skin with BodyTite

Surgery-Free: Remove Fat and Shrink Skin with BodyTite

Liposuction has been reliably removing unwanted fat since the early 1970s, so much so that the procedure is known unofficially as the gold standard of surgical fat removal. While lipo continues to be honed and evolve for ever-improving results, one thing that procedure isn’t so great at is tightening loose skin. Considering that removing fat, especially larger amounts, will remove volume once covered by skin, that same skin now needs to shrink to resize itself. Because of this, many, many patients see great liposuction results, but find loose skin in it’s wake.

Solving this issue is a priority of plastic surgery, and a non-surgical device may be a worthwhile solution. InMode’s BodyTite has become available to effectively tighten skin, and without surgery. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Q. Cook of Chicago describes his excitement and results with the new device.

Skin Quality and Liposuction Results

The ability of skin to shrink back after traditional liposuction, a quality known as elasticity, varies from person to person. Age, weight fluctuations, genetics, smoking habits and sun exposure all play an important role in determining the elasticity of skin. When a patient has unwanted fat and loose skin, liposuction alone will not achieve the best result.

BodyTite results - Dr. Cook.

Over the years liposuction has been combined with lasers, ultrasound and a myriad of other technologies in attempt to boost the skin’s ability to shrink back following the removal of fat.  None of them have provided the impressive results plastic surgeons are now achieving with BodyTite.

“There’s a lot of people out there that in the past I would have turned down for liposuction,” shares Dr. Cook. “They’re great candidates, except for the fact that the skin’s just a little too loose. It’s basically a bad trade. Sure you’ll get the fat out, but things are going to hang looser. Now, with BodyTite, we’re able to give those people a really nice result.”

How BodyTite Works

BodyTite utilizes radiofrequency energy to cause skin contraction. The device delivers heat through a two pronged handheld probe: One probe enters a small incision and travels into the fat below the surface of the skin. The second probe is parallel to the first probe, and it remains above the skin. Energy travels between the two insulated probes, melting fat within and shrinking tissues and skin from both above and below. The fat, once melted, is suctioned out of the body through a tube attached to the handheld device. 

BodyTite function.

“Radiofrequency energy is flowing just between the tips,” explains Dr. Cook. “As we glide the probes back and forth, the energy is impacting the skin in a way that gives a fairly impressive tightening.”

One major concern with any type of energy-based heat delivery to the tissues of the body is the potential for burns or scars. BodyTite employs a unique computer system to continuously monitor both internal and external temperature. The computer also monitors a third safety measurement called impedance. A built in power cut-off feature enables surgeons to uniformly remove fat and tighten skin while minimizing risks. “It makes it very safe,” assures Cook. “The system is just going to shut down if it exceeds any of those numbers.”

Am I a Candidate for BodyTite?

If you have unwanted fat and slightly loose skin, you may be a good candidate for BodyTite. Since it is a relatively new technology, not every plastic surgeon offers the procedure. The best way to determine if you are a candidate is to schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who offers BodyTite. 

If, on the other hand, you have undergone massive weight loss and would like to address a lot of loose skin on your  arms or stomach, BodyTite is not the right procedure for you. You will instead need to undergo an abdominoplasty to surgically remove skin of the abdomen or a brachioplasty to surgically remove excess skin of the arms.

“It’s great for that subgroup of patients – and it’s a big number of people – who are loose, but not too loose,” says Cook. “Now, in those patients, this offers a very nice option because we can deliver the energy and tighten the skin but also remove the fat. And it’s a very nice balance.”

BodyTite is a great option for removing fat and tightening skin all over the body. Popular treatment areas are not limited to the abdomen or flanks, but also include inner and outer thighs as well as bra rolls.

Big Results, Little Recovery

The dramatic results of a tummy tuck or an arm lift will never be rivaled by liposuction. However, not everyone is willing to undergo the recovery required to obtain the results larger surgeries deliver. One major benefit of liposuction is the little downtime required. BodyTite, when combined with liposuction, also offers a quick return to life as usual.

“Within a few days you’re pretty much up and about when you’re using BodyTite combined with liposuction,” concludes Cook.

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