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The nurse's role in body contouring

Article-The nurse's role in body contouring

Nurses play key roles before, during and after patients undergo noninvasive body contouring procedures, according to Anne Chapas, M.D., senior author of the presentation “Body Contouring Nursing Considerations,” at yesterday’s American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery 2015 annual conference in Kissimmee, Fla.

“The number of noninvasive procedures that people are pursuing for body contouring has been growing exponentially over the last 5 years. In contrast, our plastic surgery colleagues have told us and we know from their surveys that the number of liposuction procedures has decreased,” says Dr. Chapas, who is an instructor of dermatology, at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and has a private practice in New York City.

Nurses have important roles in educating and communicating with patients who have noninvasive body contouring using technologies, such as cryolipolysis, ultrasound or radiofrequency, she says.

While there are nuances in the ways in which nurses would communicate with patients depending on the procedure type, there are general nursing roles when patients at Dr. Chapas’s practice have noninvasive body contouring treatments.

In the pretreatment phase, nurses help to manage patient expectations and reassure patients that results from these technologies happen gradually.

“Most of these noninvasive technologies will take about 2 to 3 months to have an effect on someone’s size or shape, so it’s important to set that expectation up at the beginning,” Dr. Chapas says. “It’s also important to talk to people about the fact that these are not weight loss tools. People should be at or near their ideal weight in order to achieve the most benefit from these treatments. And nurses really have a big role in talking with patients about what their lifestyle habits are and how to maintain their weight before, during and after treatment.”

Nurses have important roles in taking pretreatment and posttreatment measurements and photographs. It’s important to have a standardized process in place in order to have an effective follow up when body contouring patients return for evaluations, according to Dr. Chapas.

Intraoperatively, she says, nurses talk with patients about what to expect, pain-wise, and help with communications during treatment, so that physicians can manage any patient discomfort.

Postoperatively, nurses educate patients about common and expected side effects, as well as post-treatment care, says Dr. Chapas.

“I really think helping patients achieve their ideal results is based on a variety of factors, including choosing the right patient for each of these technologies. But also, making sure that the patient has realistic expectations about what they’re going to see during and after is really important for successful treatment,” she says. 

Dr. Chapas reports no relevant disclosures.

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