Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a my first baby six months ago. Now I am not really happy with my belly. I have gained some weight that I never had before and can’t seem to get it off. What can I do that will not involve much time off work? I have read about Smartlip which seems like the best option and would not involve being off work.
A: Based on your pictures, you would be an excellent candidate for liposuction done under general anesthesia to really thin down your abdomen and waistline. There is always a misunderstanding that many patients are not aware that ‘Smartlipo’ is real surgery and is just another form of liposuction. While it can in the right patient be done under local or sedation anesthesia, it is still an invasive surgical procedure. It is not some external device that magically melts fat. The best results with Smartlipo are like any other method of liposuction…having it done under general anesthesia (if you want the most fat removed possible) and does involve some recovery.
For a treatment that requires recovery at all, you can consider a non-surgical approach like Vanquish. It will not produce the same result as any form of liposuction but does not involve surgery. It is done a series of office treatments, usually once a week for four to six weeks.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I was interested in getting a consult for myself for the Vanquish vs. Exilis for several areas. I was also going to potentially buy a gift for my significant other as he is very concerned about abdominal fat. He also is considering Liposuction, so I looked that up. In your article about Liposuction you indicated that non-surgical, non-invasive fat removal methods are often not realistic and over hyped. Now, I am not sure whether to pursue the consult for the Exilis and/or Vanquish.
A: Any non-invasive body contouring procedures can not be compared in results as to what surgery can do. (e.g., liposuction) They rarely are even close. In general, there is a often a disconnect between patient expectations and what these types of treatments can do. Between a patient’s hopefulness and device marketing (by both manufacturer and practitioner), there is ample opportunity for patients to be disappointed. This does not mean that these devices are not beneficial and can not create moderate body contouring results, but each patient needs to be assessed individually to determine how non-surgical vs. surgical ROI (return on investment) compares. That requires a thoughtful and honest discussion which I regularly do for many potential patients seeking such treatments. I own both Vanquish and Exilis, so I have great insight into their potential value, but I also have no interest in patients making a ‘poor investment’ either if they are not good candidates for them. I would recommend that you and your husband come in and talk to me about it.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I have a consult scheduled with you in the next few weeks for a breast lift and removal/replacement implants. I was also wondering if you could answer some questions about the differences between Exilis, Vanquish, Venus Freeze, Cool Sculpting and I-lipo. A friend of mine has tried the I-lipo. I have read about all of them online. Hard to tell what the “best” option for a little targeted fat loss and skin tightening would be. Maybe they are all good options.
A: In today’s world of non-invasive/non-surgical body contouring, there are a number of devices that are currently available for some degree of fat loss and a little bit of skin tightening. (and I want to emphasize the phrase ‘a little’) All available devices are based on some form of penetrating energy from ultrasound, infrared, radiofrequency and thermal sources. They all claim effectiveness but whether one is better than the other can never be proven since there are no comparative clinical studies of them. I have used most of these devices and, in the properly selected patient, can offer some reasonable results. Currently we use Vanquish and Exilis for the best non-invadive body contouring results, They are best used in those patients who are never going to have surgery to those that want to give it a try with actual surgery as a final treatment if needed.
Dr. Barry Eppley