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Fat Reduction Treatments 101: What Works And What Doesn’t

October 23, 2019
February 8, 2024

Pesky body problems such as a bulging tummy and large thighs may not go away even if you have gone on a weight loss plan and have an ideal number on the scale.

Table of Contents

Fat Reduction Treatments 1

Many of us are already familiar with weight loss techniques that can help lower the number on our weighing scale: count your calories, drink more water, and exercise regularly.

While weight loss is certainly an essential part of achieving our body goal, fat reduction is an even more important factor if you have an ideal silhouette in mind.

Pesky body problems such as a bulging tummy, flabby arms, and large thighs may not go away even if you have gone on a weight loss plan and have an ideal number on the scale. These are fat-related problems that can only be eliminated if you have the right fat reduction plan.

Understanding Body Fat

Fat Reduction Treatments 4

Before we dive into fat-reducing solutions, let’s try to first understand what body fat really is.

The food we consume is broken down and transformed into fatty acids, glucose, or amino acids, depending on what has been eaten. These molecules provide energy for every bodily function, and if the energy isn’t burnt away, they get stored in cells. And guess what they are converted into if they aren’t used right away: yes, fat cells.

Not All Fat Cells Are Equal – Some Are More Stubborn And Resistant

There are two problems to look at:

  • First, fat cells aren’t easy to get rid of because you can’t reduce their number, you can only shrink them (through conventional weight loss methods)
  • Next, the problem at hand isn’t just about getting rid of fat cells to achieve fat reduction, it’s also about removing them at the “right places”, for example, around the tummy, instead of at the chest.

Everyone has problem areas that they may find are harder to slim down. For instance, after you’ve worked hard to lose weight and are seeing a slimmer face or arms, no matter what you do, you still have a visible tummy. It is not uncommon for someone who is “slim” to have problem fat areas that can’t be reduced.

The reason? Our body has a defence mechanism to make sure you won’t burn through all your stored fat and end up in starvation.

Our hormones are responsible for mobilising fat from our fat cells to be burned for energy, and at the same time, they also tell receptors in our fat cells not to release stored fat.

So think of the receptors for the former function as “gas pedals” and receptors for the latter function as “brake pedals”. Some fat cells have more “brake pedals” than “gas pedals”, and that’s when they are inclined to store instead of release.

This is why even when you get lean with the right diet and fitness plan, it is still possible to have stubborn pockets of fat that can’t go away.

Fat Reduction Solution: How Do You Get Rid Of Stubborn Fat?

Unfortunately, because the occurrence of stubborn fat is genetic (you can’t change the receptors that are naturally present in your fat cells), there’s really nothing much you can do about it by making lifestyle changes.

Thankfully, technology in the aesthetic medicine field can help to reduce the number of fat cells in your body permanently, resolving the problems that we’ve been describing.

There are two types of treatments that are designed to help reduce fat cells.

1. Fat Freeze

Fat Reduction Treatments 2

Fat Freezing, or cryolipolysis, is a popular treatment among those looking for non-surgical fat reduction solutions.

Fat Freezing works by delivering a precise, controlled cooling technology onto targeted areas to freeze fat cells underneath the skin, while leaving the skin unaffected. Frozen fat cells die and are naturally metabolised by the body.

While some have achieved optimal results from fat freezing, some unlucky ones end up suffering from a little known side effect called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH). PAH is a side effect, albeit rare, of fat freezing treatment. Those who suffer from PAH will notice that the treated area gets larger weeks after the treatment. The affected mass is usually large, well-demarcated, and slightly tender. This effect doesn’t just feel uncomfortable but look bad too.

This is a risk that many patients are unaware of, but it appears to be getting quite common (this could be because there have been more reports in the last few years).

Dr. Ivan Puah from Amaris B. Clinic shares with us his experience in treating patients who suffered from PAH. He shares his story:

“I was assessing a young lady who had fat freezing, also known as cryolipolysis, on both arms eight years ago, presented with disproportionately enlarged fat ‘lumps’ on both her treated areas soon after. The fat ‘lumps’ had grown in size over the past years, making her arms looked rather strange. It had affected her so much that she dared not wear any short-sleeved or sleeveless attire all these years.
I still remember another patient who suffered from PAH who came with his father for consultation not too long ago. During the consultation, his father mentioned that he was distraught with guilt since his son developed this condition a few years ago, as he was the one that brought him for the fat freezing treatment. His son suffered from depression after that. He blamed himself ever since.”

Unfortunately, PAH, once developed, is permanent and can only be treated with liposuction.

2. Vaser Liposuction

Fat Reduction Treatments 3

If you’re worried about the side effect of PAH, you may want to consider Vaser Liposuction .

Vaser Liposuction is an ultrasonic-assisted liposuction that uses patented ultrasonic sound wave energy to liquefy the fat cells before removal via suction.

It is a minimally invasive procedure that begins with making small incisions on the surgical site and infiltration of tumescent fluid to numb and shrinks the blood vessels in the area.

The doctor then introduces an ultrasonic probe to create high-frequency vibrations that loosen, break down, and melt the fat cells that are then removed using a small cannula.

While Vaser Liposuction is a surgical treatment and is more invasive than Fat Freezing, you may be surprised to know that it has little downtime – most patients can go back to work the next day with minimal risk of bleeding, bruising, and discomfort.

Most importantly, the results are permanent, and on top of reducing fat cells, Vaser Liposuction also stimulates collagen production for tighter skin, which is impossible to achieve with Fat Freezing.

Another key reason patients choose Vaser Liposuction over Fat Freezing is how it can be performed on practically any body part. Fat Freezing depends on whether the “cups” of the device can fit nicely on the body part, so there are restrictions on the areas it can treat.

Liposuction Is 30% Science And 70% Art

Just like how a sculptor uses a chisel to mould material into the desired shape, it takes meticulousness and great aesthetic sense to know how much fat needs to be removed and where it should be removed from.

This is why finding a good doctor for the procedure is the most critical decision to achieve an ideal result that looks natural and pleasing to the eye.

Ask Dr. Ivan Puah About Vaser Lipo And Fat Freezing

Fat Reduction Treatments Dr Ivan Puah

The Ministry of Health in Singapore strictly regulates liposuction. Only a MOH-accredited liposuction doctor can perform this body contouring procedure.


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