Energy-based devices have achieved a viable status in the non-surgical elimination of fat. With numerous devices available, the question is what is the right energy-based technology that can achieve the best results. Options include ultrasound, radiofrequency and electromagnetic waves as well as laser and thermal energies.
The use of selective radiofrequency (RF) is an FDA-approved method to reduce the fatty layer just below the skin. Known as Vanquish, its applicator is positioned over the treatment area where it delivers RF-based energy to subcutaneous fat which causes adipocyte cell death. (apoptosis) Vanquish has now been proven to be a fast, safe and effective method to treat unwanted fat without downtime or complications. Many practices combine it with the companion device, Exilis, which is used for overlying skin tightening.
One of the most appealing features of Vanquish is that it can treat a large body area in a short treatment time. For example the entire abdomen from one side to the other can be treated all at the same time. This is very different from CoolSculpting, for example, which can only treat a much smaller area and does not treat skin laxity. This is of particular advantage in older patients who are more prone to developing loose skin with fat reduction.
While cryolipolysis (CoolSculpting) is effective, some patients will be uncomfortable with the treatments particularly at the central stomach area. Vanquish treatments will induce no such discomfort despite that they are treating a much surface area of the body.
Energy-based devices are here to stay in one form or another. With any non-surgical fat treatment method, patient selection and education are crucial. Patients need to be given and have realistic expectations and chosen carefully for the treatments. Non-surgical fat treatments draw a wide range of patients through the door from lean to overweight, all hoping to lose a few inches or more. Vanquish can be very effective at modest fat reduction results and its ability to treat large body areas safely without complications is an appealing aspect of its use.
Dr. Barry Eppley