Fat reduction machine has no visible side effects, no 'downtime'

A machine called Vanquish works on the layer of fat between the skin and the muscle.

Swimsuit season is the time people think about that extra fat around the middle. Exercise and diet are keys to losing weight, but it canâ??t get rid of all the fat, especially a muffin top. This week KRCG is looking at three ways to contour the body.

A machine called Vanquish works on the layer of fat between the skin and the muscle, a place that is difficult to re-shape with exercise alone according to Columbia plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Concannon.

â??Certainly that can strengthen the abdominal muscles,â?? he explains, â??but it won't necessarily remove the overlying fat over those muscles.â??

What Concannon says can make a difference is heating the fat cells. The Vanquish machine uses radiofrequency energy to reach under the skin while the machine never actually touches the body. Patients feel a warm sensation and see red skin for a few minutes after each 45 minute treatment.

â??All itâ??s doing is heating the tissue,â?? says Concannon, â??and heating it to the degree that it's killing the fat cells. So these fat cells are permanently gone.â??

Results should be evident in a few weeks. The office takes measurements and pictures before and after treatment to see a patientâ??s progress. They say most patients feel the difference in how their clothes fit.

But Concannon stresses patients need to have realistic expectations. Vanquish is not a weight loss tool but is for body contouring. Some people might see better results from a more invasive surgery.

Concannon says liposuction is a good tool for localized fat reduction, Vanquish for a more diffused core area. A tummy tuck is more invasive.

â??A tummy tuck is going to deal with a lot more issues, excess skin, stretch marks, muscle laxity,â?? says Concannon.

Like the Zerona technology we profiled earlier, Vanquish has no visible side effects, no â??downtimeâ?? for the patient. Unlike Zerona, which takes 12 sessions a few days apart and goes for $349 on sale, Vanquish is done six times, a week apart. Itâ??s also much more expensive a package of treatments goes for $2500.

There is one more alternative. Friday see how CoolSculpting works to freeze away fat cells.