Body sculpting or body contouring refers to several different methods to shape the body. In its highest form, the term may refer to surgical elective plastic surgery techniques to alter the physical shape including liposuction, fat transfers and even implants. However, it is typically used to refer to non-surgical options.
The potential complications, downtime and costs related to surgical procedures make non-surgical procedures a very attractive option for many people looking to improve their physical appearance with less risk. These can be attractive options for folks that are relatively healthy and in shape but to improve the physical shape of targeted areas that are resistant to diet and exercise.
Body sculpting can include various modalities to encourage lipolysis or the breakdown of fat. Modalities include cold (cryolipolysis), heat treatments (laser), ultrasound (cavitation) and radiofrequency for skin tightening. Mechanical forces are also often used with bodywork to assist with breakdown of fat, reorganization of fascial tissue, improving cellulite appearance and lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling through the stimulation of the lymphatic system. Many practitioners will incorporate a mix of modalities as different bodies will require different techniques and different times.
Often these body sculpting treatments require repeated visits for a course of treatment to achieve desired results. Results can be enhanced by continuing to address healthy eating, exercise and sleep/recovery. With body sculpting, there are typically very few side effects and downtime. However, each modality has its own set of contraindications and should be discussed with your provider. Not everyone can use every modality.
Open wounds, active infection, recent surgery with continuing altered sensation, implants, and mesh implants will delay or negate the use of some or all of these higher-level modalities. When in doubt it's best to wait until at least 3-4 months after surgery to use thermal modalities that use heat, extreme cold or aggressive force especially if your sensation continues to be altered. Manual lymphatic drainage however is a gentle treatment that can be extremely beneficial during those first few days/weeks after a procedure to improve healing and bruising.
Common areas for body contouring and body sculpting treatments are typically stubborn pockets of fat that have been resistant to diet and exercise. They may include under the chin, belly, bra rolls, hips and inner thighs. Best results will be achieved with repeated sessions combined with improved focus on diet, exercise, water consumption and improved sleep. If you are already focused on a healthy lifestyle then body contouring may be a key component to getting the results that have been evading you and reaching your body goals with a renewed boost of motivation by the results you see in the mirror.