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What is Body Contouring or Skin Tightening? Latest FACTS

What is Body Contouring or Skin Tightening? Latest FACTSThere has been a big explosion of body contouring/ skin tightening devices that make exceptional claims. What is the truth? And how does the technology work? Is it real and is it worth the cost? Should I just go and get surgical liposuction? These are the questions that I will definitively answer.


Fat and Cellulite Explained


Visceral vs Subcutaneous Fat

There are 2 types of fat:

1. Visceral fat is found in the peritoneal cavity around organs.
2. Subcutaneous fat is deposited under the skin.

Diet and exercise has a big influence in the control of both. Devices and surgery can only treat subcutaneous fat. Genetically, humans evolved to deposit fat to use as energy in times of need. In the past, we exerted ourselves to find food. Now we don’t need to do anything more than call Menulog and the food is delivered to us. Also, as we age our metabolism slows down and we retain fat more easily. For men, it is in the mid-section and for woman is around the thighs and buttocks.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool used by healthcare professionals. The calculation is weight in kilos divided by height in metres squared. Use the calculator below to find out your BMI.

BMI For Adults Widget


Healthy weight = BMI 18.5 to 24.9

Overweight = BMI 25 to 29.9

Obese = BMI 30 and above



Cellulite IllustrationCellulite is the visible appearance of dimples in the tissue that appear almost exclusively on women. Cellulite can occur on women that are considered fat or skinny. The chambers of the fat cells are divided by septae (walls of connective tissue). The reason the dimples appear is upward force is exerted on the skin by the deposit of fat and fluid swelling while the septae is pulling down on the skin. Ageing also weakens the tightness of the skin giving the lumpy appearance on the surface known as cellulite. This presents itself mainly on the buttocks, thighs and abdomen.


Cellulite Classifications

Stage 1

No dimpling while the patient is standing or lying down, but the pinch test reveals the “orange peel” appearance.

Stage 2

“Orange peel” dimpling appears spontaneously when standing up but not when lying down.

Stage 3

“Orange peel” dimpling appears spontaneously when standing up and lying down.


Cellulite Classification


Candidate for Body Contouring Treatments

Body contouring devices are very effective for people that in the range from BMI rated healthy weight and/or stage 1 cellulite. People with a healthy weight still have problem areas where fat is hard to shift.

People in the BMI rated overweight range and/or stage 2 cellulite need to set the expectation that body contouring treatments alone will not make a difference. Results will only be visible if the person has made a decision to change their lifestyle with a good diet and regular exercise.

People in the obese range and stage 3 cellulite will not see results with body contouring treatments. Even surgical procedures are not recommended because the person may see only a slight immediate change but the fat will just return in a short period of time.

The truth is, there is no 1 device or surgery for fat management. If a healthy diet or regular exercise is not part of the solution the fat will return. Any person that wants a solution that replaces healthy diet and exercise is unrealistic. Devices are to compliment a healthy lifestyle and not to be used as weight loss.


Body Contouring Treatment Options

Body Contouring Treatment is an umbrella term that covers all solutions that aims to reduce the volume of fat and cellulite. It is important to understand their distinct differences on how they work. There is in fact 2 types fat destruction and fat reduction. 

Fat destruction is normally performed by freezing the fat or high-powered ultrasonics. Freezing fat starts the necrosis (death) of the cell. Ultrasonics force cavitation the fat cell walls. Both methods permanently remove the fat cell. However, it is possible to gain back the weight if lifestyle doesn’t change as the remaining fat cells can compensate and enlarge to take the place of the fats cells that were removed. This form of device doesn’t tighten the skin after the fat is destroyed. It can leave skin loose. Also with freezing fat, unless the operator is very careful, areas of fat can be missed and can leave lumpy fat between the applicators. 

Fat reduction is via the use of radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) energy to heat the fat cells to reduce the size of the fat cell. The heating of the fat cells encourages the cells to release the triglycerides (stored energy) into the body system to be released via the waste system. The deep heating also stimulates the formation of new collagen and elastin in the skin. This creates skin tightening reducing volume of the area and improving the skin structure and texture. 

Cellulite reduction occurs once the fat is reduced by the RF and IR energy. This modality helps tighten the treated tissue area by creating a new collagen and elastin structure. Manipulation of the tissue is also required to encourage lymphatic circulation to reduce the fluid in the area. Only RF and IR and tissue manipulation can treat cellulite. 


VelaShape III - Fat Reduction

VelaShape III is the 3rd generation FDA approved body contouring device that uses 4 mechanism of action.

  • IR - infrared red
  • RF - radio frequency
  • Pulsed vacuum
  • Mechanised tissue manipulation

The IR & RF raises the temperature of the tissue in the treated area. The surface is 42 to 44 degrees which means the deep tissue is over 50 degrees. The heat triggers the fat cells to release the fat as triglycerides that the body processes. The heat also triggers new production of collagen and elastin. This tightens the skin which has the benefit of a reduced circumference. The pulse vacuum with the tissue manipulation helps increase circulation of the area. This motion reduces fluid to further reduce the volume of the area and for women, reduces the appearance of cellulite.

How much does it cost?

Areas are divided in sections that take 15mins each and start from $127 (as at January 2018). As a guide, the lower abdomen (one section) takes 15mins and love handles (2 sections) takes 30mins. 

How long do the results last?

You can experience a reduction of 3cm if you are treating the waist area and a visual reduction in cellulite for women after you complete a 4 treatment course with 2 – 4 week intervals. The maximum results are noticeable 12 weeks after the last treatment as the body is still producing collagen and elastin months after the treatment.

How long the treatment lasts is completely dependent on the individual. If you make no change except use VelaShape III then the fat or cellulite will return within weeks. If you change your lifestyle then the results are long lasting.  Many people do a maintenance treatment every 3- 6 months as one thing that is unavoidable is age. Our body’s metabolic system just slows down due to age.

Is it an alternative to surgery?

In reference to fat reduction, the results can be up to the standard of liposuction for people with a healthy weight BMI rating who lead a healthy lifestyle. The main difference is VelaShape III provides a real solution for people that don’t want to or can’t go under the knife. Some people with small pockets of fat would not even be a candidate for liposuction due to the danger of tissue and skin damage. 

In reference to cellulite reduction, the results are a superior solution to surgery. Surgery is limited when you use cannulas to disrupt the fibrous septae. It is very challenging to carefully cut the septae without doing damage to the muscle and skin. The septae can reattach after surgery so the results are minimal. Add the cost to the minimal results then surgery becomes a very poor solution for cellulite reduction.



VelaShape III is a cost effective and results-focused treatment for body contouring and cellulite reduction. There is no discomfort and the results are long lasting as long as the person is dedicated to making a change in their lifestyle.

Remember body contouring treatments like VelaShape III is not a weight loss alternative. It is an additional tool along side a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. But if VelaShape III is used as part of a holistic solution it is a very successful treatment to enhance the body shape. 

To find out how to look and feel better with VelaShape III call 02 8020 5805 or click book now.

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