Every year liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the U.S. It is excellent for removing unwanted pockets of fat that don’t respond to exercise or dieting. How do you make liposuction even better? Add radiofrequency energy to liquefy the fat and heat the dermis to contract and firm the skin.
That’s BodyTite™ — radiofrequency-assisted liposuction (RFAL). Dr. Fisher performs BodyTite™ in her Palo Alto practice.
What is BodyTite?
BodyTite™ has dual benefits — it is a body contouring procedure that at the same time provides significant skin contraction. The BodyTite™ system uses a cannula with an internal electrode that is inserted as in normal liposuction. Attached to the cannula, but resting atop the skin, is a metal wand that features an external electrode. The radiofrequency energy is emitted from the cannula tip and it passes to the external electrode, heating the fat and surrounding tissues without damaging those tissues. While this is happening the cannula suctions away the liquefied fat. The RF energy that liquefied the fat has heated the dermis, the skin’s second layer, causing the skin to contract and tighten. This helps the skin firm down to its new slimmer contour.
Would I be a Good Candidate For Radiofrequency Assisted Liposuction?
No matter what kind of shape you’re in, pretty much everyone has some unwanted pockets of fat that are almost impossible to target with diet and exercise. To qualify for BodyTite™, Dr. Fisher wants the patient to be at or near his or her ideal body weight. The best results come with patients who still have good skin elasticity.
What Areas Can be Contoured With BodyTite?
BodyTite™ can be used anywhere regular liposuction can be done. It is actually less traumatic on the treatment area because the cannula doesn’t need to be moved as aggressively as in regular liposuction. It is perfect for the stomach area, love handles, thighs, upper arms, and even the bra line on the back. Dr. Orna Fisher also offers FaceTIte for the lower face and neck.
Can BodyTite Tighten Crepey, Sagging Skin without Fat Removal?
BodyTite is a great technology for tissue shrinkage and would improve your areas of concern to give an overall less loose appearance of the tissues. However, this technology does not treat crepey skin and skin surface redundancy, wrinkles, or stretch marks.
You definitely would not need additional liposuction and BodyTite would be used alone. It is really important to manage your expectations though. Your skin surface concerns will not be addressed by this technology.
What Are The Benefits of BodyTite’s RFAL?
Combining RF energy and liposuction in the BodyTite™ system has numerous advantages over traditional liposuction:
- Superior body contouring — Because the RF energy liquefies the fat that is then instantly suctioned away, contouring is smoother and avoids the lumpy, irregular appearance that can follow liposuction.
- Skin contraction — The heating that melts the fat also causes a “wound” response in the dermis layer of the skin. This causes the skin to contract down and the body produces new amounts of collagen (the skin’s structural support protein) to send to the perceived “wound.” Traditional liposuction doesn’t cause the skin to contract.
- Controlled directional energy distribution — Because the RF energy transfers from the cannula through the tissue up to the external handpiece, the direction can be precisely controlled. This maximizes the RF energy utilization, while ensuring there is little risk of thermal damage to surrounding tissues. This allows Dr. Fisher to be more precise targeting and removing fat.
- Decreased downtime — Liposuction involves tissue trauma, as the cannula is moved back and forth under the skin to break up fat pockets. By using RF energy to break down and liquefy fat, the cannula with BodyTite™ gentle extracts the fat. This creates far less bruising, swelling, and downtime.
How is BodyTite Performed?
Dr. Fisher first injects the target area with a tumescent solution consisting of epinephrine, Lidocaine, and saline solution. This numbs the area and constricts the blood vessels, making for less blood loss and bruising. The incisions to insert the BodyTite™ cannula are tiny, around 3mm in size. They don’t require stitches to close, usually just a bandage. Once Dr. Fisher inserts the cannula, the radiofrequency energy is emitted by the cannula tip under the skin. The energy travels from the cannula electrode to the outer electrode on the wand sitting atop the skin, liquefying fat in the area. The cannula then suctions away the heated liquefied fat. Dr. Fisher works across the target area in this fashion until the desired fat reduction and contour improvements have been achieved.
Is BodyTite Painful?
There is no pain with a BodyTite™ session. We locally numb the treatment areas and then inject a tumescent solution that contains anesthetic. You won’t feel anything. Afterwards there is some soreness, but it is not acute and is easily manageable.
What is Recovery Like After Radiofrequency Assisted Liposuction?
After your procedure, Dr. Fisher will have you wear compression garments on the areas treated with BodyTite™. These usually need to be worn for two weeks to help your body adapt to its new slimmer contours. Most patients can usually return to work in a couple days. There can be some slight bruising and swelling that can linger for a couple weeks. Pain is minimal and can be managed with ibuprofen.
Can I Drive Myself Home after BodyTite or Take Public Transportation?
BodyTite (RFAL Radio frequency assisted liposuction) is not generally done strictly under local anesthesia. Usually there is at least an oral sedative taken. Depending on the size of area(s) treated and location, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia may be required. Although minimally-invasive via small skin incisions, BodyTite is still a surgery. A ride home by a responsible adult is a requirement. Driving yourself or public transportation is not okay if there is any level of sedation involved.
How Many BodyTite Procedures do I Need?
This is a single procedure. You don’t need multiple sessions to achieve substantial body contouring. Of course, after you see your results, you may want to treat additional areas in the future.
Can The Energy in BodyTite be Used to Only Tighten The Skin?
While BodyTite™ is most effective as for RF-assisted liposuction, the directional radiofrequency energy can be used on areas such as the breasts, bra rolls, inner thighs, knees, and other areas for skin tightening without liposuction.