- Complete Guide to Knee Liposuction: Cost, Recovery, and Results
- The Benefits of Knee Fat Surgery
- Who Is a Good Candidate for Knee Liposuction?
- Finding a Surgeon
- Questions to Ask Your Surgeon
- Liposuction Techniques
- No more kninkles (that’s knee wrinkles): Now there’s a $500 lift that ‘banishes that saggy skin’
- Hollywood’s Knee Anxiety: Ironing Out Those “Kninkles”
- From Demi Moore to Jennifer Lopez, celebs rush to unwind the clock on leg joints, while Beverly Hills derms and surgeons happily offer a plethora of fixes and devices to the age-betraying areas.
- KNEE SCULPTING, IN THE NAME OF FASHION
- “Knee Lifts” are the latest and dumbest trend of Hollywood plastic surgery.
- A Cheat Sheet to Get the Body You Want—Without Surgery
- A Flatter Stomach
- Perkier Breasts
- Shapely Behinds
- Toned Legs
- Sculpted Arms
- Related posts:
Complete Guide to Knee Liposuction: Cost, Recovery, and Results
The Benefits of Knee Fat Surgery
For many patients, the removal of even a tiny amount of fat can make a dramatic difference to the overall aesthetic of the leg, helping it to appear slimmer and more symmetrical. One treatment may be all that is necessary to re-contour the knees; however, many patients choose to undergo inner thigh liposuction at the same time to attain beautifully proportionate results that enhance their overall silhouette.
Some patients may also choose to simultaneously undergo a knee lift, a relatively new procedure that is gaining a cult following among celebrities for its ability to eradicate ‘kninkles’ (knee wrinkles), promote collagen production and tighten loose skin above the knee.
You may notice the following benefits after undergoing knee liposuction, especially if undertaken in conjunction with inner or outer thigh liposuction:
- A more toned-looking leg
- More comfort when walking or running
- Greater confidence wearing clothing that exposes the knees
Who Is a Good Candidate for Knee Liposuction?
If you would like to determine if knee liposuction could be an appropriate option for you, the following criteria outlines the traits of good knee liposuction candidates.
- Have fat deposits in the inner knee area (medial patella) or front knee area (anterior patella) as opposed to above the knee (liposuction performed above the knee often results in wrinkly skin unless carried out in conjunction with a knee lift).
- Have good skin elasticity with no sun damage or sagging. Patients with looser skin can still undergo knee liposuction, but are more likely to experience some form of wrinkling as a result.
- Be arthritis-free in your knees (individuals with arthritis tend to have bumps around the knees).
- Have realistic expectations about what liposuction can achieve and understand that it’s not a replacement for a healthy diet and exercise.
- Be in good health and not suffer from autoimmune deficiency disorders, cardiac disorders, bleeding disorders or hemophilia, as well as have no significant history of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs) or pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the lungs), which may increase the risk of complications.
- Not currently be taking medications that increase the risk of bleeding (such as herbal supplements, aspirin or anticoagulants such as Coumadin) or any drugs that may inhibit the metabolism of Lidocaine, the local anesthetic used in tumescent liposuction technique.
Finding a Surgeon
Choosing a competent and experienced surgeon to perform your knee liposuction procedure merits careful thought and research. You should feel free to ask prospective surgeons a range of questions in order to learn about their perspectives and experiences in relation to patient safety, board certification, surgical expertise and training.
There has been some contention regarding the maximum quantity of liposuction that can safely be performed on a patient in a single day. Across the United States, opinion from professional boards varies slightly, fluctuating between the removal of 4 to 5 liters of aspirate (fat and fluid).
Surgeons who place a strong emphasis on safety agree that it is dangerous to remove more than this recommended upper limit. In the rare cases where there have been serious complications arising from liposuction procedures, many were the result of an excessive amount of liposuction carried out in one day.
If you are undergoing knee liposuction in conjunction with lipo on other parts of the body, such as inner and outer thigh liposuction or abdominal liposuction, be sure to query your surgeon about the upper limit of aspirate they will remove in one procedure, along with their views concerning safety.
Certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is your best bet to ensure safety and satisfaction. Board certification guarantees that your surgeon has surgical specialization, has undergone rigorous training, observes patient safety to the highest degree and also carries out regular professional maintenance in order to achieve this status.
Knowing that your surgeon is board-certified provides you with peace of mind so, in the unlikely event that a serious surgical emergency occurs, you know you are in good hands.
The qualifications for practicing liposuction are not rigidly defined. Many surgeons who excel in liposuction may have received training during their residency as dermatologists or general surgeons.
What’s more important is that the surgeon has extensive experience in performing their preferred liposuction technique(s) – be it tumescent liposuction, ultrasound-assisted liposuction or laser liposuction – is up-to-date with the latest advances in the field (‘dry’ liposuction, for example, is now widely considered outdated) and has an excellent patient safety record.
Ask to see before and after photos of patients who have also had knee liposuction, to get a sense of both how many procedures the surgeon has performed as well as a better idea of realistic results.
Ultimately, the surgeon you choose to perform your knee liposuction should make you feel comfortable and safe. You should expect honesty regarding anticipated results and transparency about any possible complications that may arise.
Check out the surgeon’s reputation: what have others said about him or her? Does the surgeon who will be carrying out the actual procedure spend time with you? Ask about their safety record and whether they have ever had to deal with an emergency situation while carrying out liposuction. Feeling at ease to ask these kinds of questions and receive satisfactory answers is crucial.
Questions to Ask Your Surgeon
Asking more probing questions can help inform you about what is involved in knee liposuction, and also make you cognizant of any risks or complications that may occur.
Here are several important questions you may wish to ask before you commit to undergoing knee liposuction:
- Where do you carry out knee liposuction?
- Is the facility where the procedure is performed medically accredited and recognized?
- Would I need local or general anesthesia?
- Would I need to undergo liposuction on other parts of my legs for the best results?
- Are there any specific risks that I would face as a result of the procedure?
- How long would I need to recover before returning to day-to-day life?
- What kinds of complications could occur?
In the last few years, the types of liposuction available have multiplied at a breathtaking pace. Many patients feel confused when trying to determine the difference between new trends such as Smart Lipo, Ultra Lipolyse or Vaser.
However, the advice consistently communicated by top surgeons is that catchy names, clever marketing or trademarked techniques do not equate to superior methods or better results: what really makes the difference is the competence of the professional carrying out your procedure.
In essence, there are really only four variants of liposuction, all based on an original suction-assisted technique administered through small incisions in the skin. All of these techniques can effectively target fatty deposits in the knees.
Your surgeon will choose a procedure based on their experience and training in that procedure as well as on the capacity of the procedure to reduce fatty deposits and improve the appearance of your knees.
No more kninkles (that’s knee wrinkles): Now there’s a $500 lift that ‘banishes that saggy skin’
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Hollywood’s Knee Anxiety: Ironing Out Those “Kninkles”
From Demi Moore to Jennifer Lopez, celebs rush to unwind the clock on leg joints, while Beverly Hills derms and surgeons happily offer a plethora of fixes and devices to the age-betraying areas.
This story first appeared in the July 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, .
Those eyes! Those lips! That cleavage!” But those knees? You know Hollywood has jumped the shark on its addiction to perfection when the focus has shifted from erogenous zones to a humble utilitarian joint. But when it comes to the town’s actresses, power execs and wealthy wives, what else is there left to fix? Telltale signs of aging competently have been eradicated (sometimes overly so) in the marquee body parts, so science and vanity have moved on to less fetishized, subtler but still age-betraying areas: the hands, neck and, yes, knees.
Now that tabloids and blogs have shown the skin and tissue surrounding the patella are, like the rest of our bodies, subject to discoloration by sun damage, dimpling and fat pouches, it has become clear that not even all A-listers have the bee’s knees. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cher and Sharon Stone have been called out for “kninkles,” or knee wrinkles — and Demi Moore is rumored to have had an $8,000 knee-lift in 2012 to firm and smooth saggy knees.
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Luckily, noninvasive to mildly invasive radio-frequency and laser treatments have created plenty of options for L.A.’s airbrushed aristocracy, says dermatologist Simon Ourian of Beverly Hills’ Epione medical center, who has “noticed a rising demand for knee smoothing.” He recommends radio-frequency (RF) treatments that target fat as liposuction does, but with little downtime and scarring: “UltraShape harnesses acoustic waves of energy that hit fat under the skin in short pulses.” The device doesn’t even touch your knee. The pulses break down fat deposits — a result of laissez-faire diet and exercise — which then are metabolized ($900 to $1,200 a treatment; usually three are needed). Other less invasive options include Vanquish, which uses hot and cold RF waves to dissolve fat in four sessions ($400 to $600 each), and VelaShape III, which melts fat quicker using infrared, RF and massage rollers ($200 to $600 a treatment; three to six do the trick).
The VelaShape III is a third-generation device that works faster and deeper than previous radio-frequency devices.
Dermatologist Peter Kopelson attacks knee fat with two noninvasive modalities: Kybella (a newly FDA-approved fat-liquifying injectable; from $2,000) and the Titan infrared device ($1,200 for a one-time treatment). Kybella initially was approved to dissolve double chins, but Kopelson says: “We can use it to treat localized areas like the insides of the knees. If any loose skin remains, Titan heats, firms and tightens skin.” He adds that this produces youthful knees, “a perfect complement to toned calves and Louboutins.”
To reverse elasticity loss from sun and age, Ourian uses Coolaser, which he helped develop. One to three sessions of quick, minimally painful pulses ($2,000 to $4,000 each) lessen any (God forbid) fatty appearance. He also can inject placenta stem cells mixed with your blood (from $2,000), a treatment used on burn victims, as a one-off to produce collagen rapidly, but the procedure is mildly invasive.
To go further, “the erbium ($500 to $700) or CO2-type lasers ($1,500 to $2,000) produce a tightening effect,” says plastic surgeon Leif Rogers, who believes the more invasive RF devices work even better: “Thermi is a probe under the skin that heats; you have to be numbed, but it’s only one treatment ($3,500 to $4,500). You don’t see results for three months, but you will be very happy.” The South Korean company Lutronic has a RF device that uses a tiny grid of micro needles. A doctor can fine-tune how deep to go (usually 3.5 millimeters) to produce collagen ($1,500 to $2,000). Warns Rogers, “Lutronic and Thermi do break the skin, so they are a little more invasive.” In other words, table the bikini for a few days.
Knees before and after radio-frequency treatments by Ourian.
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For discoloration and scars, Rogers recommends bleaching creams over lasers, which require repeated treatments: “Hydroquinone is the most effective. I prescribe 4 percent, but you can go to 20 for severe darkening.”
Celebrity trainer Ashley Borden (clients have included Reese Witherspoon, Taraji P. Henson and Ryan Gosling) advises this trick to reduce fat knees: “rolling out,” or stretching leg muscles over a foam roller. “The muscle above and around the kneecaps is tight, so more fat gets collected there,” she says. “Rolling out opens muscles and gets blood flow to the top of the knees. You have to be consistent, but you will see a result right away.” For the lazy, there’s always concealer: Makeup artist Scott Barnes (Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson) mixes Dermablend Leg and Body Cover ($31) with his Body Bling Original bronzing lotion ($42). “It makes knees appear thinner and covers a multitude of sins,” he says, including spider veins and bumpy skin.
So far, men’s legs have not become objects of obsession. Outside of the NBA and Wimbledon, you don’t see a lot of them — though star basketball players like recent NBA draftee Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have caught the anxiety bug, donning high socks, tights and compression garments to cover unsightly knees.
As for the ladies, there’s always a very simple, easy solution: pants.
KNEE SCULPTING, IN THE NAME OF FASHION
Tell someone you’re getting a $500 “knee job” and they might think you’ve got some kind of kinky habit. They might not realize you were just keeping up with the latest fashions.
As hemlines go up, up, up, so are requests for special knee-shaping operations at the offices of cosmetic surgeons.
Females who are acutely fashion-minded but lack patellas cute enough to warrant blowing a week’s salary on a new Ungaro gold lame’ miniskirt are contacting doctors specializing in liposuction (fat suction). In this medical procedure, fatty tissue is sucked out of the body through a cannula, a long thin plastic tube attached to a vacuum machine.
Housewives, executives, and even body-perfect models are opting for the procedure. Knee jobs and thigh lifts are the rage among European fashion models, says New York model Sharon Summerall. “The pressure to look good is so tough,” says Summerall. “Skirts are so short now they just barely cover you. Everything shows when those tungsten lights flash in the studio. A lot of the girls think the surgery will be good for their jobs.”
Most of the fashion designers are focusing on shorter skirts, including Yves Saint Laurent, Bruce Oldfield, Rifat Ozbek, and Katharine Hamnett. Dallas designer Michael Ballas, whose fall collection includes skirts as short as 17 inches, says he’s heard of several models (none of whom would admit it) who’ve had their knees and thighs “sculpted” to accommodate the scantier fashions.
No one, it seems, wants to be caught with her hems down in the coming months. But revealing one’s knees, no matter how much Jane Fonda-ing one’s been doing, can be traumatic, these women say if those stubborn little pockets of cellulite make one’s knees look more like canned hams on dowel rods than just charmingly dimpled little punctuation points on beautifully slim gams.
“I’ve had cellulite since the age of 10, and, even after running five miles a day, there was nothing I could do about the size of my legs,” says Sharon Vannucci, 39, assistant director, Research and Development (laboratory operations), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Alexandria resident had her knees done along with her hips and thighs. “I wanted to do it before I was 40, so my husband gave me the liposuction operation as an anniversary present.”
Today, she’s thrilled with her “new” legs. “It’s easier to buy clothes now. You get tired of wearing A-line skirts your whole life.”
Vannucci is one of thousands of women this year who have had the special knee operation. Liposuction is becoming one of the most popular forms of cosmetic surgery. An estimated 150,000 liposuction operations of all kinds — for protruding abdomens, heavy thighs, hips and fannies — are performed each year, of which a small percentage (5 percent or about 7,500) are “knee jobs,” estimates liposuction surgeon Dr. Lawrence McKnelly.
But “knee jobs” are becoming increasingly popular, says McKnelly, who claims that his Alexandria practice on knees alone, has more than doubled this year, to about 50 operations. “Many women have something like a small hen’s egg on the inside of the knee,” he says.
It is almost exclusively women who have their knees done, says McKnelly, whose patients are women between the ages of 20 and 50. “Men mostly have love-handles done.”
Dallas cosmetic surgeon James H. Fowler says he’s seeing an increase, if not an actual rush, in requests for knee-shaping liposuction at his North Dallas Cosmetic Surgery Center. “Many patients are requesting liposuction on their knees and some include knee suctions with regular sculpting liposuction on the legs and buttocks,” says Fowler. He says that the operation lasts one to 1 1/2 hours and is regarded as day surgery, with the patient recovering in a few days or weeks, depending on the extent of the liposuction.
Julius Newman, president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons and founder of the American Society of Liposuction Surgery, Inc., is the Philadelphia surgeon who coined the term “liposuction” back in 1982. Newman, who each week performs 10 to 12 of the procedures, also known as suction lipectomy, says he, too, has seen an increase in the number of women asking for knee and leg contouring.
“If your knees and ankles are fat, liposuction is the answer,” says Newman, who is also chairman of the department of cosmetic surgery at Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia. “And if your legs are too skinny, you can fatten them up with fat recycling.”
That’s right. Fat recycling. That means a doctor can suck up those nasty lumps of lard and replace them wherever you actually need them. Patients are having fat implanted in their faces to fill out wrinkles and funneling it into their knees to change them from knobby to nicely rounded.
“Of all the procedures, liposuction on knees is one of the most gratifying,” McKnelly says. “You can see results immediately, there’s very little discomfort and the recovery time is rapid.”
After the fatty tissue is sucked out through small incisions in the regions that are being sculpted, the patient then wears a girdle or other tight-fitting pressure garment for several days to allow the skin to re-adhere where the fat has been removed.
Because knee jobs require only the small, facial-quality canulas, and therefore use smaller incisions, Fowler says most patients experience only a deep soreness, like a heavy bruise, after the procedure and most return to work and normal activity (though no heavy exercise is allowed) after one day’s bed rest.
“It’s one of the safest techniques I do,” says Newman. “In small areas it’s not painful. But if you’re having larger areas done, like the buttocks or the tummy, there will be more discomfort.”
Liposuction removes fat cells from areas women consider to be “problem” areas, according to McKnelly, which “they can’t exercise off.”
But experts insist liposuction is not a substitute for dieting and exercise. “It’s a contouring technique,” says Newman, “and is not to be used for weight loss.”
Women may be listening more to fashion than caution.
“As a model, every single day you see incredible bodies, you’re surrounded by them and you start to think that perfection is the norm,” says Summerall, who has appeared recently in Femme, Italian Vogue and Cosmopolitan. “Every girl is thin and stunning, with perfect breasts and tight bottoms.” Although Summerall says she hasn’t yet had the surgery done, “As I age and start to drop, I might change my mind.”
Elaine Liner is a Dallas writer. Resources
If you’re considering having your knees sculpted for the sake of new fashions, (or you just don’t like the shape of your knees) it’s wise to be cautious in finding a doctor. Check out the qualifications of any doctors who advertise that they perform the liposuction technique.
American Society of Liposuction Surgeons — provides printed materials explaining the procedure and a list of certified doctors in your state, (215) 896-6677.
American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons — provides a referral list of qualified doctors in your city, (800) 221-9808.
A random survey of half a dozen board-certified cosmetic surgeons around the country reveals that the costs range from $500 for a simple, isolated knee job, to $5,000 for a complete lower-body sculpting including thighs, buttocks and stomach. This price generally includes the surgeon’s fee and the cost of the anesthesiologist.
“Knee Lifts” are the latest and dumbest trend of Hollywood plastic surgery.
According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, actresses are heading to their favorite plastic surgeon in order to get knee lifts in order to get rid of “knee wrinkles” also known as “kninkles”.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cher and Sharon Stone have been called out for “kninkles,” or knee wrinkles — and Demi Moore is rumored to have had an $8,000 knee-lift in 2012 to firm and smooth saggy knees.
Apparently, actresses are less likely to land a movie role if they have bad knee caps. Unlike other body parts, our knee caps are subject to discoloration by sun damage, fat deposits, and dimpling which is a no-no in Hollywood.
Demi Moore was rumored to have had done a few years ago. Moore’s alleged knee lift caused quite a frenzy at the time, but Roth says the surgery is still pretty rare, mostly because the risk of scarring is so high.
Jaguar PS / .com
Here’s the typical treatment for kninkles.
“UltraShape harnesses acoustic waves of energy that hit fat under the skin in short pulses.” The device doesn’t even touch your knee. The pulses break down fat deposits — a result of laissez-faire diet and exercise — which then are metabolized ($900 to $1,200 a treatment; usually three are needed). Other less invasive options include Vanquish, which uses hot and cold RF waves to dissolve fat in four sessions ($400 to $600 each), and VelaShape III, which melts fat quicker using infrared, RF and massage rollers ($200 to $600 a treatment; three to six do the trick).
If you are worried about your knee caps then, we suggest you start working out those little patellas of yours. According to Everyday Health, here’s how you can save your knee caps from being the topic of the week on TMZ.
Saggy-looking knees are a common complaint among women, especially with age. Loss of collagen can cause the skin to loosen and droop, making legs appear wrinkled and old. Moisturizer and regular exercise can help maintain elasticity, but a few people are seeking out a more extreme option: knee-lift surgery, a procedure that actress Demi Moore was rumored to have had done a few years ago.
But, if you are interested in the cosmetic procedure you better start saving up. It costs approximately $9,000 to get both knees lifted.
A Cheat Sheet to Get the Body You Want—Without Surgery
Want bigger breasts but don’t want implants? How about a tighter tummy without liposuction?
New cosmetic treatments—many of them non-surgical—mean more options than ever for men and women who aren’t completely happy with their bodies.
Here are the latest, most effective, easiest, laziest—and sometimes craziest—procedures to transform trouble spots.
A Flatter Stomach
The midsection is prone to three frustrating but common conditions: excess fat, loose skin, and stretch marks. Some ways to address them, from most to least invasive:
Most Dramatic: Tucking It In
Only one procedure—a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty—can fix all three problems common to the belly. “It’s the only proven way to address fat, saggy skin and gaps between the abdominal muscles, which contribute to that bulging look,” says Rondi Walker, a plastic surgeon in DC. “But if you’re close to your ideal weight, have good skin tone, and just have some excess abdominal fat, you can get good results with liposuction, which only addresses the fat.”
Abdominoplasty costs $4,000 to $15,000, depending on the extent of the procedure, while lipo runs $5,000 to $10,500. With lipo, expect up to four weeks of recovery time versus up to eight for a tummy tuck (which also comes with a long horizontal scar along the bikini line).
The Non-Surgical Approach
For those who have less fat to remove—or are willing to trade dramatic results for an easier, less expensive option to lipo—a new procedure called Vanquish goes one step beyond non-invasive: It never touches your body. An applicator that hovers over the skin delivers radio-frequency (RF) energy that heats fat cells to 120 degrees, killing them.
The procedure is painless and can treat a larger area than most other RF devices. If you want to target the entire abdomen instead of just love handles, this procedure can do it.
“A patient can expect up to 60 percent of fat cells destroyed after four treatments,” says Nia Banks, a plastic surgeon in Lanham. “However, people who practice light to moderate exercise and maintain a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, have the best outcome.”
Four to six treatments are recommended, one to two weeks apart, to destroy fat cells permanently. Cost: $500 to $750 a session.
The Quick Fix
Loose abdominal skin—whether from aging, pregnancy, or weight loss—can prevent even the most toned abs from looking firm.
“Skin becomes less stretchy due to the gradual loss of collagen and elastin—like a tablecloth that is too big for the table,” says Chevy Chase dermatologist Tina West. “In the past, the only option was a tummy tuck, but you’d trade loose skin for a scar from hip to hip.”
In appropriate cases, West now recommends Ultherapy, an ultrasound procedure that stimulates collagen and elastin growth for two to three months following treatment, resulting in firmer skin. It’s the only non-invasive procedure approved by the Food and Drug Administration to lift skin that’s above the eyebrows, on the neck, under the chin, and on the décolletage, although it’s commonly used on other areas as well.
There’s no downtime, and treatment typically takes 30 to 90 minutes—just one session is needed for most patients. Those with too much excess skin might not be good candidates. Cost: $1,200 and up.
Fading Stretch Marks
A stretch mark is a scar in the skin, so it can be hard to treat. Dr. Banks says that fractional-laser treatments such as Fraxel and Fractional CO2 can stimulate collagen and elastic-fiber growth to fill them in and minimize their appearance. If the marks are pink or purplish, a laser can also diminish the color, making them less noticeable. Multiple treatments are usually required. Cost: $1,500 and up.
Prefer a less invasive approach? Some doctors recommend prescription tretinoin, or Retin-A, to fade stretch marks. It’s most effective when applied to fresh marks that are still pink or red.
Washingtonians like big titles and big houses—but not big breasts, apparently. Women here who have work done tend to skew conservative (read: smaller) when it comes to implant size. “Women want to address sagging, the silhouette, the overall look—they’re looking for rejuvenation more than just augmentation,” says Navin Singh, a plastic surgeon with offices in McLean and Chevy Chase. “It’s about shaping as opposed to stuffing.” Here are the latest options:
The New Shape of Breast Implants
The big news in implants is that fake is going natural. “A more naturally sloped look is popular right now, especially with the new, shaped implants,” says Banks.
The idea is to appear bigger and perkier without announcing that you’ve had work done. Instead of the rounder, fuller look (and added cleavage) of traditional implants, “teardrop” versions are tapered to mimic the silhouette of an actual breast. Mentor MemoryShape silicone implant has been dubbed the “gummy bear” because it’s filled with thicker gel and maintains its shape longer than traditional implants. Allergan’s Natrelle 410 implants are designed to be softer so they feel more, well, real. The surgery is very similar to what’s done for rounder counterparts, but the price is a bit higher: $6,000 and up.
Bigger Breasts Without Implants
If you want to go up only about one cup size and prefer not to have implants, fat grafting is an option. Assuming you have enough extra fat in another part of the body, a surgeon can remove it from, say, the stomach, by liposuction, and use it to plump up your breasts.
Unlike implants, fat is a natural filler, so you’re not introducing a foreign substance into the body. There’s minimal scarring, as opposed to the larger scars of traditional augmentation surgery. It also eliminates the need to replace an implant later.
“Typically, 30 to 40 percent of the fat will be safely absorbed and flushed by the body, but the rest will survive permanently,” says Dr. Singh. “If a woman likes how her breasts looked when she was pregnant or breastfeeding, this gives the same effect of filling out the bra in a more natural-looking way—and of course, the feel is soft since every woman’s breasts are typically 70 to 80 percent fat.” Cost: $6,000 to $7,000.
If buying a sexy new dress and a cleavage-hoisting bra isn’t enough to get you through your high-school reunion or an ex’s wedding, you can essentially rent implants for the night. InstaBreast is a procedure that involves injecting the breasts with a saline solution that plumps them up the same way an implant would. Originally developed so women could figure out what size they wanted before making a surgical commitment, it’s now being chosen by some women who want a Cinderella moment—and are willing to pay $2,500.
Alas, much like Cinderella, you’ll have to watch the clock as your boobs turn into the opposite of pumpkins. “Saline absorbs very quickly, so you’re not looking at 24 hours—within an hour, your breasts will start to deflate,” says Singh, who considers the procedure a gimmick. “They’re a great choice for a supermodel who needs to get through a photo shoot, but that’s about it.”
Side effects may include bruising at the injection site and lots of trips to the ladies’ room as the saline leaves the body through urine. Stretch marks may also appear if the skin is significantly stretched.
Possible good news: The inventor of InstaBreast is said to be developing an injectable solution that will last two to three weeks.
The Exercise Option for “Lifting” Breasts
You can also perk up your breasts by doing specific weightlifting exercises that help improve posture.
Cheryl Davis, a certified personal trainer in Alexandria, recommends push-ups, pull-ups, seated cable rows, and exercises that target the lower back to give a lifted appearance. She doesn’t suggest doing chest presses on a flat bench. “If you’re doing flat-bench or decline chest presses”—in which the bench is tilted so your head is below your waist—“it’s likely to flatten the part of the breast where you’d want fullness,” says Davis.
For working the chest, she says, stick to incline bench presses. Position the top part of a weight bench at a 30-degree incline. Lie back and put your elbows at a 90-degree angle, in line with your shoulders. Press up-ward with the dumbbells—use a weight that’s challenging—and push them slightly over your head instead of straight up over your chest. Bring your hands back down, and complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps with 90 seconds of rest between each set.
Blame Kim Kardashian. Enlarging the backside is now an increasingly requested cosmetic surgery—though there are other ways to get a lift.
Most Dramatic: No Butts About It
One way to fill out a flat or saggy posterior is a Brazilian Butt Lift. Performed on its own or with buttock implants, it provides double benefits: A surgeon removes unwanted fat from elsewhere in the body (commonly the hips, thighs, or belly) and uses that fat to smooth, shape, and elevate the derriere.
“Unless you’re very thin, you can get a lot more volume with fat transfer as opposed to implants, and the results are excellent when performed on someone with flat buttocks,” says Banks.
The procedure is lengthy—two to three hours—because the relocated fat needs to be put in drop by drop so it can survive. Expect bruising and swelling plus four to six weeks of wearing a compression garment. Cost: $8,000 to $10,000.
The Exercise Option for a Shaplier Bottom
A round, lifted rear requires targeting all three of the main glute muscles, preferably at the same time. “Squats and lunges of all kinds—using a barbell or dumbbells, wide or narrow stance, deep, partial, and plyometric—are all great for shaping the butt,” says trainer Cheryl Davis.
Her favorite lunge is a walking dumbbell lunge with a single-leg deadlift. Start by standing in a neutral position holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lunge forward with the right foot, placing most of the weight in that heel, then bend both knees until they form 90-degree angles. At the bottom of the lunge, squeeze through the glutes to return to standing, then shift the weight into the right foot, keeping the knee straight. Lift the left leg off the ground while lowering the dumbbells and torso toward the ground until the upper body is parallel to the floor. Return to standing and repeat on the other leg. Davis suggests three sets of ten reps on each leg, using a weight heavy enough to make the last two reps on each leg a challenge.
Although there are still few cosmetic treatments available to sculpt legs, these are some options for thighs, knees, and calves:
Worth the Shot?
A gold standard of fat removal continues to be laser-assisted liposuction, but there’s a new—albeit controversial—injectable that’s reported to dissolve fatty bulges in the legs, stomach, hips, and back. Aqualyx contains desoxycholan acid, a bile acid similar to what the liver naturally produces to aid the digestion of fat. The substance locks onto fat-cell walls and forces the cell to release stored fatty acid, which is then metabolized by the body.
If you’re generally fit but have spots of stubborn fat, such as outer-thigh bulges, Aqualyx can be injected into these areas, often combined with a local anesthetic such as lidocaine for a more comfortable experience. The treatment is relatively painless—patients feel a warm sensation, some itching, and slight burning. Expect some swelling and redness for one to three days.
“Most people need three to five sessions, at four-week intervals, to see a change,” says Banks. “But it depends on the size of the fat deposit, and every individual will have their own response to the solution.”
Not everyone is a fan. “Because it is injected subcutaneously, Aqualyx isn’t well controlled as to how far it diffuses, and I see the potential for areas of skin depressions,” says plastic surgeon Rondi Walker.
The procedure is said to be popular in England (where it costs the equivalent of $400 to $600), but it’s just hitting the United States and is not FDA-approved.
Quick and Easy
Age, sun exposure, and years of wear and tear can cause the skin on your legs to sag.
“Ironically, the more toned and fit you are, the more the skin on the upper thighs hangs, because there’s less fat to fill it out and support it,” West says.
Ultherapy, the ultrasound procedure, was recently shown to provide significant tightening of the skin on thighs, with improvements that continue for up to six months. A recent study also showed dramatic tightening in the knee area. Cost: $2,000 to $3,500.
The easiest way to make legs look younger? Use both a moisturizer and a bronzer—darker, hydrated legs appear firmer.
One product to try is Murad Body Firming Cream ($45), with vitamin C, soy, and shea butter. We can’t say we saw a 40-percent increase in firmness within 15 minutes of applying it (as the brand claims its studies show), but there was definitely an improvement. Maximize the effect by applying an imperfection-covering bronzer such as Lorac TANtalizer Body Bronzing Spray ($32), which offers streak-free color.
As more celebrities sport buff arms, the number of upper-arm lifts, or brachioplasties, has risen by more than 4,000 percent since the year 2000, from around 300 to more than 15,000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But surgery isn’t the only way to get toned arms.
The Big Fix: Clipping “Bat wings”
Upper arms are yet another area where we’d all be better off with thicker skin. Combine thin skin with age-related muscle loss—plus the fact we don’t use our triceps often during day-to-day activities—and you can develop dreaded “bat wings.”
When a large weight loss has left a lot of excess skin, you can’t get rid of that no matter how often you hit the gym. “A brachioplasty is the only way to reshape the underside of sagging upper arms due to excess skin and fat,” says Banks. The downside: The scar is noticeable—running from elbow to armpit. Cost: $5,000 to $7,700.
When arm jiggle is due more to fat than to loose skin, some physicians recommend ultrasonic or laser-assisted liposuction, which liquefies and removes excess fat—and may tighten skin by heating the tissue. Cost: $4,000 to $8,000 for both arms.
Quicker, Easier Options for Arms
For those with a mild to moderate amount of bothersome arm fat, CoolSculpting, an FDA-cleared process, freezes fat cells to eliminate them without causing damage to surrounding cells or tissue. While it reduces fatty tissue by about 20 percent, it won’t improve skin laxity. Results are visible within three weeks but most drastic after two months. Cost: $3,000 for both arms.
If the issue isn’t fat but a bit of jiggly skin, some doctors recommend Ultherapy ultrasound treatments (mentioned previously for firming loose belly skin). Radio-frequency options such as PelleFirm and Protégé Elite can also be used on arms to tighten skin; they use heat to stimulate collagen production. Ultherapy requires one treatment (at about $2,000) for both arms; the RF procedures require three to four treatments, two weeks apart ($400 to $500 each).
For a mild, temporary skin-tightening effect available over the counter, it’s hard to beat Bliss Fatgirlslim Armcandy ($38). The product, applied with a massage applicator, includes lactic acid (which exfoliates smooth skin) and caffeine (which the company claims helps firm and tone).
The Exercise Option for Toning Arms
To sculpt arms, says personal trainer Cheryl Davis, you have to work the muscles both in front (biceps) and back (triceps). She suggests performing two exercises back to back, with no rest in between: incline bicep curls and overhead arm extensions.
Start with an incline bicep curl: Stand with your back against a wall, holding dumbbells down at your sides. Next, walk your feet forward so that only your back is against the wall and the rest of your body is at a 45-degree angle. Curl both dumbbells up, keeping your elbows and upper arms against your sides. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then return the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat 15 times.
For the overhead arm extension, stand up straight and hold one dumbbell in both hands directly over your head. Slowly lower the dumbbell toward the back of your head, as if you’re trying to touch your shoulder blades. Return the dumbbell to the starting position, squeezing through your triceps once the dumbbell is directly overhead. Repeat 15 times. After a brief rest, perform two more sets of both exercises.
This article appears in the February 2015 issue of Washingtonian.
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