If Spot Reduction Is A Myth, What Works Then?

Amaris B.

Archive Date:

October 8, 2020

​We all have some extra flab in particular areas of our bodies. Whether it’s the lower arms, tummy or thighs, these pesky bits of fat often don’t budge with the regular exercise or diet. And, if you’re thinking about spot reduction, no, it won’t cut it, either.

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Blog last updated on:

January 4, 2023

We all have some extra flab in particular areas of our bodies. Whether it’s the lower arms, tummy or thighs, these pesky bits of fat often don’t budge with the regular exercise or diet. And, if you’re thinking about spot reduction, no, it won’t cut it, either.

Spot reduction

It’s a misnomer that you can target fat from certain areas of your body and remove it by working specific muscles – for example, targeting the abdominal muscles to lose flab around the midsection. In most cases, this kind of fat-loss method simply isn’t successful.

According to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, after six weeks of intensive ab workouts, participants found that their midsections hadn’t slimmed down. A related study also found that 12 weeks of one-armed workouts resulted in less loose skin in the trained arm, but zero fat loss.

Although there are toning and skin-tightening benefits in targeting a single body part, it won’t help slim that area down. When you work out, your whole body from top to toe benefits from the exercise. In a nutshell, spot reduction is a myth.

What are the alternatives?

Instead, spot reduction is only possible with targeted fat removal surgery. Two examples of this are VASER Liposuction and VASER Hi-Def Lipo, both available at Amaris B Clinic in Singapore.

VASER Liposuction

First introduced here in 2008 by Medical Director Dr Ivan Puah and two other doctors, VASER Lipo is a popular body-sculpting treatment that helps to remove stubborn fat that wouldn’t otherwise budge with dieting or exercise. The procedure targets only areas with unwanted fat; it conserves other critical connective tissues, nerves and blood vessels and leaves them undisturbed.

What does the procedure involve?

Dr Puah first uses tumescent fluid (local anesthesia) to numb the targeted area, to increase comfort and help with a smoother recovery. He then inserts the VASER probe, which emits high ultrasonic frequencies to vibrate air bubbles; this breaks down the fat tissues for extraction. Next, the microcannula is carefully manoeuvred to remove the liquified fat via suction, sculpting the body shape for a contoured appearance.

Compared to non-surgical fat-reduction technologies such as fat freezing, which yields only 10 to 15 percent of localised fat and requires multiple sessions, VASER Lipo instantly removes more than 90 percent of localised fat in one session. The treatment also has an additional skin tightening benefit as collagen production is stimulated during the process.

Who is an ideal candidate?

VASER Lipo is suitable for both women and men with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 17 to 28. You should maintain an ideal weight range, avoid going on yo-yo diets, practice a healthy lifestyle, and have a realistic expectation of the results. Note, too, you should avoid the procedure if you have major pre-existing medical conditions.

Men who are bothered by pseudogynecomastia, which is a clinical condition where excess chest fat is accumulated and present, will also benefit from the treatment.

VASER Hi-Def Lipo

While VASER Lipo primarily removes the deep layer of fat, VASER Hi-Def Lipo requires more attention to detail. It’s not just fat removal; in fact, it begins where standard liposuction ends. This more advanced form of liposuction precisely removes fat from specific areas of the body such as the abdomen, flanks and chest (for males), while leaving a thin layer of fat over the underlying muscles to create a more athletic look.

Doctors performing VASER Hi-Def Lipo need to be skilful and experienced with an artistic eye as they are working on both the deep layer and superficial layer of fat to sculpt the muscles.

Dr Puah has more than 15 years of liposuction experience; he has developed his own body sculpting approach called the MDC-Sculpt Lipo technique. This technique can result in a more desirable cosmetic outcome, as the fat removal is thorough, scarring and post-operation bruising are minimised, and accurate sculpting can be done to create a “six pack” or “11 line” muscle definition.

Who is a suitable candidate?

“VASER Hi-Def Lipo is designed for customised and precise sculpting technique rather than debulking,” says Dr Puah. “So, the ideal candidate should be someone with good muscle tone, and without a lot of fat or loose skin. They should already be close to their goal weight and have some definition in the abs.

This procedure is therefore ideal for those who consistently work out four to six times a week but fail to achieve the ‘washboard’ appearance, which generally can only be seen if you have very little body fat.”

If you’ve been working hard at the gym and cutting calories but are yet to see the abs definition you’re hoping for, VASER Hi-Def Lipo may be a solution (though not a shortcut). This minimally invasive body-sculpting treatment can help you create a more athletic look by revealing the underlying muscles hidden by fat layers.

Health benefits you may not know of

The aim at Amaris B. Clinic is not just to provide body sculpting solutions; it’s also to give patients a headstart to better long-term health. Fat removal in the form of liposuction or VASER Lipo is more than just vanity.

Several clinical and scientific papers have found various health benefits. These include: lower fat in blood due to a 25 percent reduction in triglycerides; increased metabolism; lower body fat; and lessened risk of cardiovascular diseases.

For long-lasting results

According to Dr Puah, maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to achieve lasting results from your liposuction procedure. Here are some of his lifestyle tips.

  • Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables from each colour group – they’re loaded with essential nutrients and vitamins.
  • Watch how much you’re eating. If you’re bored or busy, you tend to consume more.
  • Eat more protein and healthy carbs to fill up.
  • Exercise regularly to burn more!

Who should I go to?

Not only does Dr Ivan Puah treat patients who require a bit of nip-and-tuck via VASER Liposuction and VASER Hi-Def Lipo; he also regularly sees patients who require secondary liposuction correction cases, as well as those suffering from gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts).

Surgical body contouring and fat-removal procedures are carried out in Amaris B Clinic’s MOH-accredited Operating Theatre. There’s also a panel of anaesthesiologists to take care of you during the surgery while you’re under light sedation (not general anaesthesia). They’ll ensure that you’re comfortable, relaxed and safe. Postoperative care is not compromised either, with a comprehensive post-surgical care team attending to you after.

In order to perform VASER Liposuction, doctors have to receive substantial surgical training in liposuction and be VASER-certified. With more than 15 years of liposuction experience under his belt, Dr Puah is VASER-certified and also accredited by the Minstry of Health (MOH) to perform liposuction.

He’s the only doctor in Singapore to have received dedicated surgical training in gynecomastia surgery in San Francisco, and has undergone training conducted by the pioneers of VASER, Dr John Millard and Dr Alfredo Hoyos. Dr Puah is the chairman of Lipo Peer Review Committee in Singapore.

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