For years I have been searching for the best minimally invasive therapy which would be able to not only remove fat stores, but also tighten loose skin after weight loss or liposuction. I also wanted a slightly more aggressive approach for wrinkle reduction and the capacity to treat face and neck wrinkles and loose skin in one treatment. I have explored Laser-assisted liposuction, which is somewhat invasive, although less so than traditional liposuction. It is also rather costly and has often resulted in uneven skin appearances after treatments. Radiofrequency (RF) ablation has been used for many years as an alternative to invasive surgery. Radiofrequency skin tightening entered onto the scene approximately a decade ago and has been progressing by leaps and bounds. The earliest RF devices included Velashape and Velasmooth and Thermage. These systems are “non-disruptive” in that adipocyte cell membranes and function are not disturbed. They temporarily enhance metabolism to increase breakdown of triglycerides from the fat cells. Although temporary, they can result in 2-4 cm reductions in abdominal-hip measurements, 2-3 cm reductions in thigh measurements with an average of 20-60% improvement in the appearance of cellulite, and when appropriately selected, consistently high customer satisfaction ratings. The down-side is that the effects are temporary since RF is “non-disruptive”.
Over the past few years several other non-invasive body-contouring treatments have come on the market which do permanently damage the adipocytes and result in long-lasting fat and cellulite reduction:
- Cryolipolysis, or freezing of the fat cells, (Zeltiq aka “Coolsculpt”), results in gradual resorption of fat over time. While this is a relatively effective treatment, it can be a bit time-consuming and costly. Each application takes one hour per treatment and each site costs about $500-$750 due to the built-in cost of the treatment to the doctor which is upwards of $250-$275. Each treatment results in up to 20% reduction in fat at that site. A typical abdomen requires two treatment sites and love handles require an additional two sites. “Saddle bags” on the thighs may also be treated, but there are currently no treatments available for necks, arms or smaller body areas. In addition, following treatments some patients complained of loose skin.
- Cavitation, or high-frequency ultrasound, (Ultrashape), which does result in measurable results, but tends to be costlier due to the disposable ultrasound pulse costs.
- Thermal disruption by high-frequency ultrasound, (Liposonix), which has had limited success due to the severe bruising, swelling, and pain associated with treatments which often required narcotics and benzodiazepines to treat. Results were often not visible for 3-6 months, and the costs were also higher due to disposable costs.
- Creation of a temporary “pore” in the fat cell for egress of triglycerides (Zerona). This modality requires 6-12 treatments every other day for 2-3 weeks and also has a high incidence of non-responders as well as a high cost of disposables.
The world of radiofrequency skin treatments has entered a new realm with the Invasix technology “TiteFX” and “Fractora”. These revolutionary devices were developed in Israel and went through rigorous FDA screening before release in the U.S. The TiteFX combines radiofrequency ablation with bio-electrics, which is brand new in the field of ablative therapy and uses controlled, suction-coupled, radiofrequency heating and high voltage ultra-short electrical pulses for non-surgical body contouring and long-term localized fat reduction. The combination of radiofrequency with the electrical pulses results in a process known as electroporation, which results in death of the adipose cells, and thus permanent fat reduction. The “Fractora” is the fractional ablative attachment for radiofrequency skin resurfacing to treat acne, wrinkles, pigmentation problems in patients of any skin color.
The Invasix TiteFX boasts permanent fat and cellulite reduction with a large volume of adipose tissue impacted, a high degree of safety and minimal patient discomfort, a high degree of efficacy and reproducibility and ease of use in multiple body areas. Previously difficult to treat areas such as knees, necks, upper arms and back fat are as easily treated as abdomens, buttocks, and thighs. If you would like more information or to find out if one of the Invasix treatments is appropriate for you, please call the office to schedule a consult. We will be having a New Year’s Special, so beat the rush!