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  • Lunchbreak body contouring could make you appear slimmer and more youthful in just a few sessions.
  • VelaShape® is a great solution for those who want to see a reduction in circumferential mass and cellulite, but there are some downfalls, too.
  • The procedure is often compared to CoolSculpting®, but both treatments have their own pros and cons.
  • At the end of the day, VelaShape brings big promise for those who desire quick slimming.

Welcome to the 21st century, where achieving the perfect body may be as easy as popping into your local body contouring clinic on your lunch break. Sounds amazing, right? We think so. But just like all of the other “miracle” procedures popping onto the scene, there’s good, bad and downright ugly associated with body contouring. These procedures sculpt the body via lasers, radio frequency energy and other technologies to smooth out the skin and make you appear trimmer and slimmer.

VelaShape® by Syneron Candela is one of the latest and possibly greatest (we’ll get to that later) non-invasive body-contouring and cellulite treatment options on the market. The makers of VelaShape claim that in just three treatment sessions, patients see a dramatic reduction in circumference and cellulite in the neck, arms, flank, butt, love handles, abdomen and thighs. One of the most promising aspects of VelaShape is that there’s almost no downtime, while the risks are minimal to non-existent.

So how does it work? According to its maker, Syneron Candela, VelaShape uses infrared light and bipolar radio frequency energy to deeply heat the fat cells as well as the surrounding connective tissue and underlying dermal collagen fibers. It also uses a vacuum and massage rollers to stimulate the growth of new, better collagen and elastin, as well as tighten the skin. This body contouring treatment is said to reduce skin laxity, body volume and overall texture and appearance.

Everybody knows that body shaping techniques are sometimes preferred because they’re significantly less invasive, costly and painful compared with plastic surgery. VelaShape hits all the marks in those regards, too. Patients often describe the treatment as feeling like a warm, deep-tissue massage. In other words, it’s being touted as more pleasant than painful, the mechanical massage from the rollers helps to relax patients so they feel more at ease.

VelaShape had some initial difficulty getting off the ground, since its first few iterations required many more treatment sessions (sometimes as many as 10) compared with the latest version, called VelaShape III. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared VelaShape for use as a treatment for circumferential and cellulite reduction, and it’s considered a relatively safe, low-risk treatment option.

Non invasive Fat Removal

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The Procedure

One reason why this body shaping procedure is so popular is in part because it’s low-risk and comfortable for patients, but also because it’s a good choice for those who don’t want to deal with lengthy procedures and downtime. Each VelaShape session takes between 20 minutes and two hours, with treatment times varying based on the area of the body that’s being treated. As previously mentioned, VelaShape claims to provide excellent results in just three sessions, but maintenance is necessary.

The deep heating sensation is considered enjoyable to patients, and there are no needles, incisions or anesthesia required. People generally see VelaShape results in as little as four weeks. Additionally, patients often experience an increase in blood circulation with VelaShape due to the combination of the massage rollers and vacuum suction that stimulates collagen and elastin. All of these factors are making this body contouring option more and more popular among patients and doctors alike.

Who Can Get VelaShape?

Like most cosmetic procedures, VelaShape isn’t right for everyone. Its makers are quick to point out that it’s not a weight loss treatment. Rather, it contours the body and eliminates circumferential mass, making you appear thinner and more youthful. For that reason, it’s only recommended for people with mild cellulite and a body mass index (BMI) of less than 30. Your doctor will assess your BMI in your initial consultation. You can also use the BMI pinch test to guide you.

The Nurnberger-Muller Cellulite Scale is often used to determine the severity of one’s cellulite. VelaShape is recommended for those who fall within the range of Stage 1 and 2 cellulite based on this scale:

  • 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 both when standing up and lying down.

Does It Actually Work?

All of this sounds pretty perfect, right? Not so fast! Let’s get to the cold, hard data to see whether VelaShape is all it’s cracked up to be. Clinical trials show that VelaShape is, indeed, effective in reducing the circumference of the abdomen, flanks, love handles, butt and thighs. Within three months, patients experienced a 1.4-centimeter reduction in the circumference of the abdomen, a .5-centimeter reduction in the circumference of the buttocks and a 1.2-centimeter reduction in the circumference of the thighs.

Another thing that makes VelaShape so desirable is that it can be used in a range of areas of the body, according to Dr. Reza Tirgari of Avalon Laser in Southern California. “It’s uncommon that so many problem issues can be addressed with just one treatment method,” notes Tirgari. “VelaShape has proven itself valuable at targeting many of the most common concerns that clients face. It is also non-invasive, quick and painless compared to many other methods on the market.”

In another study, VelaShape was used as a post-pregnancy treatment for reducing cellulite and laxity in women who had recently given birth. The study found that the average reduction was approximately .7 centimeters, and that subjects and their physicians saw significant improvement in skin laxity and tightening. It also concluded that the experience was well-tolerated with minimal pain, and that there were no major safety concerns associated with the procedure or recovery.

The Cons: It’s Not Permanent

Nevertheless, there are still a few drawbacks. Dr. David Greuner, the Surgical Director of NYC Surgical Associates, warns that VelaShape isn’t right for everyone. “One of the biggest issues with VelaShape is that results aren’t guaranteed and they vary from person to person depending on frequency and duration of treatment, as well as the fat cell density.”

Dr. Greuner also emphasized that VelaShape results aren’t permanent. “Another con with VelaShape is that the results don’t last and may be undone, especially if you don’t incorporate a healthy diet and exercise,” he said. “VelaShape is not permanent and requires regular maintenance and ongoing sessions, every one to two months. Due to the ongoing maintenance required, VelaShape can become quite costly.”

So the bottom line is this: VelaShape can certainly provide you with temporary positive results, but it will cost you. There’s no shortage of VelaShape reviews online, and while they can help you get a good grasp on whether or not this treatment might be right for you, it’s important that you always speak to a board-certified plastic surgeon about your personal scenario before committing to any body shaping procedure.

SculpSure vs. Coolsculpting

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Comparing VelaShape With Other Body-Sculpting Options

The latest version of the VelaShape treatment is often compared to another body-contouring system, CoolSculpting®, since both treatments are non-invasive and claim to quickly provide cellulite and circumferential reduction. The primary difference between CoolSculpting and VelaShape is that CoolSculpting uses an FDA-cleared freezing technique (rather than radiofrequency energy) to zap fat.

Compared with CoolSculpting, VelaShape is proven to reduce cellulite for a longer period. Clinical studies show that those who underwent the VelaShape procedure reported that their cellulite was reduced for a year or longer. CoolSculpting, on the other hand, may only get rid of your cellulite for a few weeks. What’s more, patients who undergo CoolSculpting tend to see more bruising and discomfort after treatment. With that being said, CoolSculpting may last longer in terms of circumferential reduction.

VelaShape is also often compared to Endermologie, which is still considered the undisputed pioneer of cellulite treatments. This cellulite reduction treatment uses physical stimulation (a mechanical massage, similar to VelaShape’s) to tone the body and remove cellulite. Like VelaShape, Endermologie requires no downtime. However, this procedure tends to require more sessions, with the standard being a single 30- to 60-minute session once or twice per week for several weeks. Both are effective, but Endermologie is more likely to provide long-term results.

There’s A Downside To Everything

The primary downfalls of VelaShape — or any body contouring treatment, really — are that it’s meant to be a supplemental treatment, and it’s not permanent. What’s more, this type of treatment is only ideal for certain trouble areas and isn’t the best choice for people who have all-over fat or a high BMI.

One of the biggest issues associated with VelaShape is that results are not permanent. In fact, results from VelaShape vary from person to person, according to clinical trials, and fat can return depending on the treatment area. The bottom line is that VelaShape only provides a temporary reduction in fat and cellulite, which cannot compare to traditional fat removal methods like liposuction or a tummy tuck. VelaShape doesn’t remove fat cells, but instead reduces the amount of fat inside the cells, or shrinks them. Therefore, it’s possible for the cells to collect fat again over time.

For this reason, many plastic surgeons and specialists recommend that you schedule follow-up visits every two to three months after your final initial treatment for optimal results. Maintenance treatments can help prevent the treated area from gathering more fat. They can also help ensure that your treatments last as long as possible. Some plastic surgeons recommend VelaShape alongside liposuction, tummy tuck and additional body-contouring procedures.

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