It’s natural to want to look great and feel comfortable with your body shape. An attractive body shape looks healthier, is able to fit into clothing better, boosts self-esteem and may even enhance your career prospects.
Unfortunately, even with a healthy, active lifestyle with good eating habits and adequate exercises, there are times when it is difficult to achieve a healthy weight and satisfactory body contour. Ageing, illness, pregnancy or stress may make it even more difficult to fight the flab, leading to insecurities about physical appearance.
Even after working hard to get in shape and shedding the pounds, excess skin or stubborn fatty deposits may remain, producing unsightly bulges. You can’t exercise away loose skin, and sometimes fat clings to problem areas no matter how many squats, lifts and bench presses you do.
Many patients may need assistance to truly achieve a sculpted silhouette.
Cryolipolysis uses non-invasive controlled cooling technology to produce sub-zero freezing temperatures, just low enough to freeze fat cells but not skin, muscle and nerves. The frozen fat cells are naturally processed, eliminated and eventually flushed out through the lymphatic system. Once these cells are gone, they shouldn’t reappear or migrate to another body area.
enCurve is a non-contact field radiofrequency (RF) system that generates a constantly oscillating electromagnetic field at a specialised frequency of 27.12 MHz. The high-frequency oscillating field generates heat concentrated mostly in the fatty tissue, but also heats the overlying skin.
This heating causes the fat cells to go into natural and gentle programmed cell death, known as apoptosis, that allows the body to excrete the lipids contained. The heat also stimulates collagen production, tightening the overlying skin.
High-intensity ultrasound energy is focused precisely on the targeted fat layer, creating a rapid rise in local temperature at the targeted area without harming surrounding skin, tissue or organs. HIFU relies on the fact that above a threshold of 56 degrees C (for > 1 second), irreversible cell death occurs. The heat produces a dual tissue response within the treatment area - permanent destruction of targeted fat cells and contraction of surrounding collagen that helps improve tissue laxity. The body naturally removes the destroyed fat from the treatment area, reducing the size of a fat deposit.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy uses a hand-held device to transmit focused shockwave energy deep into the tissues, this improves cellulite by:
A tiny probe inserted under the skin is used to conduct laser energy or radiofrequency energy that is absorbed by the skin and surrounding tissues, stimulating collagen contraction and production to tighten loose skin, reshaping sagging areas.
Various prescription medications are available that work by the following mechanisms:
In Dr Wan’s opinion, it is important to be alert for medical conditions that could be contributing to the excess weight, such as an underactive thyroid gland, medications such as corticosteroids (which may be present in adulterated supplements or traditional medication), or hormonal conditions such as andropause or polycystic ovarian syndrome. Underlying medical causes for obesity should be thoroughly investigated and treated.
Provided there is no underlying medical condition causing weight gain, the correct way to lose weight is a combination of diet and exercise. A healthy, balanced low calorie with reduced fat and sugar intake combined with an appropriate resistance training and cardiovascular exercise regimen helps to promote weight loss and prevent weight gain as well as improve overall health.
Obesity is a chronic disease that can be difficult to treat. Prescription medications should be considered for suitable patients to help lose weight, especially patients who have not been able to achieve significant weight loss despite putting in adequate effort into diet and exercise. Many patients have already tried diet and exercise before seeking medical help and Dr Wan feels that medical assistance should not be withheld from appropriate patients since weight loss will improve their overall health.
Combination of various weight loss medications with different mechanisms of effect usually yields better effects with lower chances of side effects.
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Weight-loss medications should not be solely relied upon for weight loss but should be used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes. Dr Wan does not advise the long-term usage of weight loss medications as there may be side effects and without making appropriate lifestyle changes, patients tend to regain the lost weight after stopping the medications. Weight-loss drugs aren't the easy answer to weight loss, but a useful tool to help make lifestyle changes needed to lose weight and improve health.
Non-surgical body contouring procedures aren’t intended to be weight loss solutions and should be not used as such. These techniques reduce or remove stubborn pockets of fat and loose skin to contour and shape different areas of the body. Ideal candidates are close to their desired weight and want to eliminate stubborn pockets of fat or loose skin that are resistant to diet and exercise. With most body contouring procedures, your body mass index shouldn’t be over 30.
While they should not be used to achieve weight loss, body contouring and weight management should be concurrent processes that go hand in hand to help achieve the desired body shape. Starting body contouring treatments while using weight management techniques to lose weight allows fat to be preferentially mobilized from problem areas. Conversely, if proper weight management practices are not instituted, body contouring techniques would still work but the overall weight gain may mask the effects leading to unsatisfactory results.
The number of fat cells in our bodies typically becomes a fixed number sometime in our teenage years. Losing or gaining weight generally does not increase or decrease the number of fat cells but instead changes the size of fat cells. When weight is gained, fat cells get bigger. After dieting and weight loss, fat cells get smaller but the number of fat cells stays the same. Body contouring procedures can actually reduce the fat cells in treated areas by about 20% to 25%.
In Dr Wan’s experience, each patient has a unique body shape and it is necessary to customize each treatment course for the most optimal results. It is not possible to fix all problems with a single tool such as cryolipolysis, hence Dr Wan has built an arsenal of multiple body contouring devices using various advanced technologies, so that each patient can receive the most suitable treatment for their specific problem. Combination treatment with different modalities usually produces superior results. For example, Dr Wan may combine weight management using weight loss medications with enCurve for circumferential fat loss and tightening, cryolipolysis for fat bulges and shockwave therapy to smooth out the contours.