Thermal freezing is a non-invasive treatment that uses precisely controlled cooling to eliminate fat that is resilient to exercise or diet. The machine handpiece works by gently drawing fatty areas into a patented 360 degree applicators and cooling the area to a temperature of minus nine degrees that causes fat cell death (apoptosis) while keeping normal cells intact. Built in safety sensors maintain a constant target temperature that prevents unwanted side effects. About 20 to 30 per cent of fat cells are naturally destroyed and removed from the target area.
The procedure takes about 45 to 60 min, depending on the area treated.
According to recent studies, 80 per cent of patients treated are happy with the result at six months. Two treatments are more effective than one. Post-treatment massage increases fat absorption and it was observed that there was 68 per cent more absorption of fat at two months, and 44 per cent more absorption of fat at four months.
Side effects include numbness in about 73 per cent of patients in the first three weeks, decreasing to about 44 per cent after about four months.
With the latest machine, skin colour changes are minimal.
From thermage to laser to ultrasound, non-surgical face and necklift machines aim to tighten skin. The latest is ultrasound uses highly focussed ultrasound energy to heat targeted areas to coagulative temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees, to alter collagen and facilitate tissue contraction. It works at 1.5 to 4.5 mm depths for improvement at multiple layers of the skin.
Patients notice immediate results with progressive improvement up to three months after the treatment. The result is maintained to about a year after the treatment.
Some machines are also able to target thicker skin at about six to nine mm depths to treat other parts of the body.
Breast implants are a common topic in the media if there is a manufacturing issue related to choice of silicone or contamination. They still come available in smooth, textured and polyurethane coating. The result depends on the patient’s original body shape, desired look, shape and profile of the implant. All implants have the potential for requiring further surgery at some stage.
Scar tissuing occurs to some extent with all implants, least with polyurethane coating. This may require a new implant after removal of the capsule but there is no guarantee it will not happen again. Implants can displace over time, due to muscle activity, and also when the breast soft tissue changes with weight change and pregnancy. Slight asymmetry between the two breasts is not uncommon and not always correctable.
Fat injections for reconstructive breast surgery after removal of breast tissue is commonly practised, but fat injections for cosmetic breast enhancement still has concerns for the profession, in terms of future detection of breast cancer, so is not supported by medical indemnity organisations.
Fat injections are now commonly used as a volumiser for faces, buttocks. Harvesting techniques to enhance fat survival continue to improve and results have become more predictable for our patients.
Plastic surgeon Dr Sawjin Tew has worked on the Northern Beaches since 2001 and has privileges at Manly District Hospital, Mona Vale Hospital, Warringah Day Surgery, Castlecrag Private Hospital and North Shore Private Hospital. Phone 94112266 or visit drtew.com.au