Beyond faces: Body makeovers gaining popularity

December 4, 2014 by
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7449010_mlDermatologic surgeons are seeing unprecedented interest in non-surgical body contouring and skin tightening, particularly from women, according to Elizabeth L. Tanzi, MD, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C.

Interest at her practice has increased 22 percent in the past year, she said, adding, “Fortunately, non-surgical, minimal-recovery treatments can achieve significant results.”

This major focus on the body – not just the face – is here to stay, affecting not just 20-somethings but also those in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and older, Dr. Tanzi said. “We are bombarded with fitness messages. Magazines and the Internet are filled with photos of beautiful, fit stars and ‘hot mama’ actresses, who seem to be setting a standard other new mothers want to meet.”

Many women have been pro-active about taking good care of their faces, she said. “Now they’re saying, ‘The face is looking pretty good. Now let me take care of my body.’”

Because time is precious, “We focus on non-surgical, minimal-recovery procedures that get some really nice results. What’s more, we can do a great deal of improving in one session.”

The first step generally is removing pockets of fat, via either ultrasound or cryolipolysis. The non-invasive procedures involve little to no recovery time and result in permanent fat removal and impressive results, she said.

Dr. Tanzi often recommends cryolipolysis, which freezes and eliminates unwanted fat cells in the abdomen and flank areas. “It can remove the largest amount of fat in a non-surgical way,” Tanzi said. “We can do large areas in half the time as we used to, and we can use several applicators at one time. We can ‘tweak’ problem areas. It is very versatile.”

Zeltiq Aesthetics created the CoolSculpting brand of cryolipolysis and has been inventing new applicators and hand pieces to treat more areas of the body, she said

Skin tightening follows fat removal. Devices use radiofrequency or high-intensity focused ultrasound to deliver heat that stimulates collagen production to tighten and smooth skin. The treatments are safe and, as with reducing fat, require minimal or no recovery time, Dr. Tanzi said.

She usually treats patients using ultrasound therapy. In addition to tightening skin in the abdomen – which is a prime area of interest for most women and especially new mothers – the ultrasound therapy also can be used on the neck and under the chin.

Dr. Tanzi said she recently began to use the procedure to smooth wrinkles and lines on the décolletage, or upper chest. Ultherapy treatment by Ulthera Inc. was approved for this use by the federal Food and Drug Administration in July.

“Treatments can be done on the lunch hour and show results within three months,” she said.

The new focus on the body as much as on the face is a “bit of a cultural shift,” said Dr. Tanzi. “And given how well the treatments work and how easily women can incorporate them into their lives, this trend will continue.”


ASDS is the largest specialty organization exclusively representing dermatologic surgeons who have unique training and experience to treat the health, function and beauty of the skin. ASDS members are pioneers in the field. Many are involved in the clinical studies that bring popular treatments to revitalize skin and diminish wrinkles to the forefront. Their work has helped create and enhance many of the devices that remove blemishes, hair and fat, and tighten skin. Dermatologic surgeons are also experts in skin cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Visit ASDS at:

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