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In demand: Nonsurgical fat reduction technologies

Article-In demand: Nonsurgical fat reduction technologies

Hermosa Beach, Calif., plastic surgeon Sheila C. Barbarino, M.D., says it’s evident that while there are those who want and need body contouring surgery, a large and growing number of younger patients want non-surgical alternatives for fat loss.
Dr. Barbarino presented “Safety, Comfort and Efficacy: A Review of Non-Surgical Fat Destruction Technologies” yesterday at the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery’s (AACS’s) 2017 annual scientific meeting in San Diego, Calif. She tells Cosmetic Surgery Times that the presentation was aimed at providing unbiased information for her peer physicians who do not yet offer these technologies, as well as to dig deeper into the available technologies for those physicians who want to explore more in the world of device-based treatments for fat reduction.
Dr. Barbarino offers these top pros and cons about nonsurgical fat reduction technologies:


  • Generally, there is little to no downtime and the technologies are comfortable.
  • The majority are affordable.
  • They’re safe.
  • They are a great option for those who are unable or unwilling to undergo surgery.


  • Outcomes are nowhere close to being as dramatic as surgical fat reduction.
  • Patient selection is key to good outcomes and happy, satisfied patients.
  • Not everyone is a good candidate.
  • It’s important to manage patient expectations regarding the outcomes of non-invasive modalities.

When deciding which technologies to offer her patients, Dr. Barbarino says she follows these rules:

NEXT: 8 Rules for Choosing Which Devices to Add to Your Practice


8 Rules for Choosing Which Devices to Add to Your Practice

  1. Do your homework. Learn about what’s out there.
  2. Understand your own needs. Who will do the treatments? What is your treatment philosophy?
  3. Understand the device. How easy it is to use? How safe is it?
  4. Understand the needs of your patients — the importance of comfort and customizability.
  5. Understand the economics. What are the costs, including of consumables?
  6. Ask to see the research and data to substantiate the claims manufacturers make.
  7. Experience the treatment at therapeutic (not demo) settings. There is a vast difference in comfort at therapeutic settings versus sales demo settings.
  8. Ask to speak to a reference you trust.
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