The desire for fat reduction is ubiquitous and a large number of methods exist from dieting to surgery to achieve it. While liposuction and bariatric surgery are all effective means of fat removal and weight reduction respectively, they are not equivalent and have very different outcomes. But they do share the similarity of being invasive surgery. And many people understandably want to avoid surgery for fat removal if possible. This has led to a large number of non-surgical devices that are currently available for use.
One of these devices is Exilis, coined as a body shaping and tissue tightening method. Exilis is an FDA-approved devices that employs radiofrequency (RF) energy for the reduction of targeted fatty deposits, skin tightening and sundamaged and wrinkled skin anywhere on the face and body. Radiofrequency energy is a safe form of radio waves that drives heat to fat cells that lie within one inch of the skin’s surface. This heat causes the metabolism of the fat cells to speed up and subsequently shrink. The heat also stimulates the skin to strengthen its collagen structure which provides some improvement in skin laxity.
Because it creates heat that passes into and through the skin, does it cause pain during a treatment? Generally it does not. While the RF energy is heating the skin, the system monitors the skin’s temperature so it does not get too warm and the patient remains both safe and comfortable. A grounding pad is also applied prior to treatment so there is no chance of arcing and causing a burn. Patients usually feel a deep heating sensation as the probe goes over a treatment area. Treatments last around 15 minutes per treatment area and are done in the office. Other than some mild redness of the treated areas for a few hours, there are no sequelae after treatments including any restriction of physical activities.
Which are the best areas for Exilis treatments? Regardless of body area, whether a man or a women, it is important that the amount of fat not be too excessive. While the definition of ‘excessive fat’ varies, a general rule is that if it is much bigger than one or two hand sizes, it will not be as effective as one would like. Most women are interested in face and jowl tightening and fat reduction of the abdomen, arms, flanks, bra rolls and thighs. Men have more restrictive needs involving the abdomen, flanks and chest.
Exilis always involves more than one treatment, it needs a series. The number of treatments will depend on the areas treated and whether fat reduction or skin tightening is the main objective. In most cases, four treatments will be needed spaced one or two weeks apart. The final outcome of the treatments may take two to four months to see the maximal benefits of the therapy.
Despite the appeal of Exilis and many satisfied patients, it is important to realize that no non-surgical fat reducing technology works for everyone. There is always the risk that no or limited results will be seen. For this reason, it is most ideal to go to facility or a plastic surgeon who performs all methods of fat removal and skin tightening. Their recommendation will be noteworthy because they are not captive to the monthly lease payment of an expensive device. They can offer the best treatment method, even if it is a surgical one that the patient is trying to avoid.
Dr. Barry Eppley