Lisa Littlehales discusses the mechanisms and benefits of the new device from BTL Aesthetics for the abdomen and flanks
Previously, when a patient had a large abdomen, the only option for them was liposuction or abdominoplasty, which can both cause pain and discomfort. Additionally, anaesthesia poses a risk on an obese patient, and the chance of scarring and seroma is high. As a result, many plastic surgeons do not want to perform liposuction on patients with a BMI over 28/29.
Vanquish radio frequency, F.D.A. approved, offers an alternative form of fat loss for those who need debulking of the abdomen and flank areas. It is a contactless device that uses selective high radio frequency to generate heat only in subcutaneous adipose tissue. At Beyond Medispa, we have used it successfully in combination with cryolipolysis technology Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting, which can be used to shape after the endpoint is achieved. Previously patients were recommended to lose weight prior to undergoing CoolSculpting, which could then be used to shape and reduce pockets of fat. By using Vanquish, the patient can reach their endpoint much more quickly.
The treatment programme for Vanquish is quick and effective, comprised of four half an hour sessions ideally spaced a week apart, with very little downtime. Patients typically see results at two weeks, and the endpoint is three months after their fourth treatment. The patient is then called back to clinic for reassessment, to either continue with the technology or move on to another non- surgical fat reduction treatment.
Clinical trials demonstrated that the system is safe without serious adverse events and produces consistent, statistically significant reduction in circumference of the abdomen. 20 patients from 18 to 70 years of age underwent the four weekly treatments; results showed the mean circumferential reduction for the abdomen was 4.8cm (measured 5cm above umbilicus), 5.4cm (measured over umbilicus) and 4.9cm (measured 5cm below umbilicus).1 The circumferential reduction was measured at baseline and after the fourth treatment. There were no significant changes in patients’ body weight during the therapy.
Figure A shows a 29-year-old female patient who underwent five sessions of Vanquish, demonstrating uniform reduction of fat by equal diffusion of heat. Anecdotally, one patient has claimed that the treatment has improved her stretch marks, and others have claimed their skin tone has improved: this could be due to thermal injury in the area treated, which has stimulated fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin, improving the quality of the skin. However, there are no studies to support these claims.
Patients are weighed prior to the treatment, and photographs taken. This is essential, so patients’ consent must be obtained. They are placed on their back, and an applicator placed on them to protect the skin. The head of the machine is placed over the abdomen. The patient’s skin temperature needs to reach 40°C for successful treatment.