In Vitro Fertilization: The Great Debate

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In 1978, the first “test-tube baby” was born. Since 1981, more than 5 million babies have been born thanks to infertility research and the science of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Since its infancy, IVF has been highly scrutinized, criticized and has stirred up plenty of moral controversy and debate. While the opposition has softened, with every advancement comes new resistance. To better understand the evolution of IVF, we’ve highlighted some of the benefits and drawbacks, as well as addressing the big questions.

1. Helping Couples Start A Family 

1 in 6 couples need medical help to have a baby. Millions around the world have realized their dream of having a baby through the process of IVF. It is becoming more and more common for women to start a family later in life. In the United States, the average age of new mothers is at an all-time high of 26 years. In 1970 it was 21.4. The average age of first time mothers in the UK is 28.5 years.

As women age, it is natural that fertility rates decrease. The proverbial “biological clock” begins to tick, and fertility rates decrease by 3-5% each year after age 30. After 40, fertility reduces to an even greater extent. Male infertility is also a major contributor. Nearly half of couples who cannot conceive experience infertility as a result of poor sperm quality. For couples who suffer from infertility, IVF is often the best and last solution to start a family. For many, what was once a dead-end road is now full of new possibility.

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2. Scientific & Medical Progress 

Another benefit of IVF comes from a scientific standpoint. IVF involves retrieving and fertilizing a woman’s eggs in a special laboratory before introducing the embryos to the uterus. By studying fertilization and early embryonic development outside the womb, scientists are learning more about the earliest stages of human life and possibly how to prevent certain birth defects. The mind behind the first IVF baby, 2010 Nobel Prize Winner, Laureate Robert Edwards, was extremely outspoken about the far-reaching medical and scientific benefits of IVF.

In 2003 he told the London Times: 

“[IVF] was a fantastic achievement, but it was about more than infertility. It was also about issues like stem cells and the ethics of human conception. I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory…Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children.”

While Edwards was undoubtedly on one end of the spectrum, there is no arguing the scientific and medical ‘miracles’ IVF continues to pioneer. The Human Fertility & Embryology Authority (HFEA), also plays a large role in the development of reproductive medicine. In 2004, HFEA granted the first license to a clinic to screen embryos for diseases they might develop as adults.

3. Too Much Risk  

For those against IVF, objections began well before the first test tube baby, when no one even knew if the science would work. Critics feared the possibility of deformed babies and terminal illnesses. Even DNA co-discoverer, James Watson, warned Edwards, “You can only go ahead with your work if you accept the necessity of infanticide. There are going to be a lot of mistakes. What are we going to do with the mistakes?”

Today we can dismiss many of the most extreme concerns from half a century ago. However, like any medical procedure, IVF doesn’t come without some risk. We know that Multiple Births (Gestation), increases with IVF. If a transfer to the uterus includes more than one embryo, the risk of a pregnancy with multiple fetuses increases. Often this results in a higher risk of premature labor and low birth weight. Even if only one fetus develops, IVF slightly increases the risk of a premature delivery and low birth rate.

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4. Destroying The Traditional Family

Another popular concern was that IVF would ultimately destroy the nuclear family. Many believed that traditional marriage would be replaced by laboratory breeding, or something resembling a science fiction novel. The most conservative feared and opposed the creation of new, non-traditional families, while some feminists worried that the pressure on women to have children would increase. Others worried that so-called, “test tube babies” would be rejected as social outcasts. Biologist, Lee Silver argues:

“Here’s a technology which is almost always used to allow a married man and woman to have a child, to form a family…IVF facilitates a very, very traditional outcome, which is a mother and a father and children.”

Today this concern is diminishing, and so is the concept of ‘traditional’ altogether. With the aid of donor sperm and eggs, and sperm and egg banking (preservation), it is possible for same sex couples, and single women to have a baby. New, ‘alternative’ families are more common and accepted.

5. Playing God 

Not all IVF criticism hangs on bad outcomes. Others considered IVF innately wrong because it is ‘unnatural’. These critics have silenced over time, but many still argue that IVF scientists are attempting to “play God”. In a statement from the Vatican, the Catholic Church states, “Fecundation must be carried out according to nature and through reciprocal and responsible love between a man and a woman.” 

Recently, a technique called Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) has been the topic of much debate. PGD allows scientists to test and correct genetic disorders while the embryos are outside of the body, before transfer to the uterus. IVF specialist at the University College Hospital London, Dr Paul Serhalat, addressed the issue:

“Of course some people feel uncomfortable when doctors start to interfere with nature and others wonder where it will end. Where does society draw the line-at the colour of a baby’s eyes?” 

As it stands, choosing the sex of a baby is against the law in the UK. However, it is legal in other countries, such as the United States. HFEA states that the use of PGD may only for certain severe or life-threatening disorders at a limited number of clinics. As of 2008, HFEA also banned sex selection for non-medical reasons.

6. The “New Normal” 

Each year, thousands of babies are born with the help of infertility treatment, such as IVF. Like all new technology or scientific advancements, people are often ‘skeptical’ at best, and fearful at worst. Today IVF is a mainstream medical procedure. Traditional couples, same sex couples, and single women all over the world are pursuing the dream of starting a family and for many, IVF is the best solution. To deny any human the possibility to procreate is a moral controversy in itself. 

Are You And Your Family Thinking About IVF? Let Us Help You Get Started! 

 

5 Best Celebrity Dental Makeovers

Think the rich and famous are born with those beautiful, white, flawless smiles? Guess again. Even some of the biggest stars once had smiles that were…less than camera ready. Thanks to cosmetic dentistry, some gnarly grins have been turned into beautiful, Hollywood smiles. Here are our 5 Best Celebrity Dental Makeovers:

5. Nicolas Cage

Regardless of what you think of his acting skills, Nicolas Cage didn’t always have a red carpet smile. To help boost his imagine (and career), Cage upped his game by getting a full set of dental veneers. Now we’re just waiting for that Travolta, Cage Face/Off sequel.

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4. Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham

Ever wondered why Posh never smiled? After Spice Girls fame and scoring the most famous footballer on earth, Victoria decided it was time to have a smile that matched her royal lifestyle.

poshh 3. Zac Efron

Zac Efron was not always the sexy, talented, presumably shirtless movie star we see on screen today. Cosmetic dentistry helped turn his boyish grin into the flawless smile of a Hollywood heart-throb.

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2. Miley Cyrus 

Miley has literally transformed before our eyes since her sweet, tween days on Hannah Montana. While she’s been busy twerking, partying, and riding naked on wrecking balls, she has also upgraded her smile with a perfect set of veneers.

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1. Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise is the definition of a movie-star, but his smile was nothing short of a “mission impossible”. Thanks to some whitening, straightening and ultimately a full set of dental veneer, Tom is the leading man we know and love.

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We vote Tom as the #1 Celebrity Dental Makeover! 

 

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Patient Profile: Meet Candida- Breast Augmentation

Candida’s Breast Augmentation Journey 

Each year, over 40 million cosmetic surgeries are performed around the world. Of these 40 million, 1.4 million are breast augmentations; the most popular cosmetic surgery among women. Most elective cosmetic surgery is not covered by health insurance, and as the price of health care skyrockets, more patients are choosing to have their medical treatments and surgeries abroad- over 11 million to be exact.

Today you will meet Candida, a Brazilian native and mother of a young daughter, as she talks about her decision to get breast augmentation abroad. Like other medical travelers, Candida’s story begins with a challenge and ends with a solution that provides the best, quickest and most affordable results.dsc_0916-1dsc_0271

Q: What factors influenced your decision to get breast augmentation?

Well, I’ve always had small breast- which I actually liked. I never thought about getting breast augmentation until after having my first child and starting to breastfeed. It’s amazing what a woman’s body experiences after childbirth, and it is not uncommon for the breasts to change size and shape after breastfeeding. Some get larger, some return to their pre-pregnancy size, but for me, mine got even smaller.

Breastfeeding for several years, along with post-baby dieting and exercise had a significant influence on their size. For the first time in my life I wanted larger breasts- similar to the size before having children. I had never had cosmetic surgery before, so it was not a decision to take lightly. If I was going to do this, I wanted the best surgeons and the highest quality. I am also a full-time chef, so between being a mother and my busy work schedule, I needed a solution that was simple.

Q: What made you choose to go abroad for your breast augmentation?

Originally I was going to go to Brazil, my home country, for the procedure. However, I live and work in Vienna, so traveling that far was going to be time consuming and pricey. That’s when a friend of mine introduced me to the full-service, online medical platform, Salutara. At the time I was aware of people traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery, but I never knew their were end-to-end services to assist you in the process. Salutara was an excellent resource to compare cosmetic surgery clinics based on price, accreditation, patient reviews and quality. They made the decision-making process quick, and simple, and saved me valuable time by alleviating the headache of doing research on my own.

Read More: 5 Thing To Consider Before Breast Augmentation

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Candida Before Breast Augmentation, Brandeis Clinic

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Candida After Breast Augmentation, Brandeis Clinic

Q: Why did you choose to have your breast augmentation in Prague?

I had previously lived in Prague for 3 years, so I already knew it’s excellent reputation for cosmetic surgery. It is also a four and a half hour train ride from Vienna, so logistically it made sense. Salutara is partners with the Brandeis Clinic in Prague, and immediately put me in direct contact with my surgeon and the clinic staff. No surgery is without risk, and fears are normal, especially when you’re going into the surgery voluntarily. Speaking to my surgeon allowed me to have all of my questions and concerns addressed before the trip. We also discussed in length the type of implant I would get- anatomical (natural) or round- and if they would be subpectoral (under the muscle) or prepectoral (over the muscle). We agreed on Motiva, a round implant under the muscle.

Q:Was cost the most important factor?

I don’t think you can put a price on your health. If a safe surgery and better results meant spending more money, then I would do it. Sure, savings are attractive, especially when they can exceed 80%, but quality always takes precedence. Fortunately the Brandeis Clinic in Prague offers top-notch quality and state-of-the-art technology, so I did not have to sacrifice anything. The quality offered in Prague exceeded that in Vienna, so my decision to travel was easy. The significant difference in price was just icing on the cake.

Q: What were your first thoughts upon arriving at your clinic in Prague?

Throughout the entire process, my communication with Salutara and my clinic was quick and efficient. I was provided with all of the information about the surgery and exams before leaving Vienna. When I arrived in Prague, a member of Salutara was there to greet me and take me to my hotel, despite being very late in the evening. The next morning I went to the Brandeis Clinic where I met my surgeon, anesthetist, and the staff.  As for the atmosphere, it was a beautiful building with modern installations, and located in the center of Prague. From my window I had lovely views that overlooked the cobblestone streets and century-old architecture.

Q: How prepared did you feel before the surgery?

I felt very confident and assured. The clinic was fully equipped, and my surgeon and anesthetist walked me through every detail. I was in good hands. There were absolutely no problems with communication either- which I know is a concern for some medical travelers. They offered english or german and the surgeons and nurses were really nice about providing me details about the whole surgery, care and after care. Breast augmentation requires full-anesthesia and the procedure took a little under two hours. Before I knew it I was waking up in recovery.

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Brandeis Clinic is located in the historical center of the Czech Republic’s capital city, Prague

Q: It has been several weeks since your surgery, how do you feel about the results?

Well, I am still healing and the implants are settling. Surgery recovery is about 2 weeks and full recovery can take up to two months. But, so far I am extremely happy. My breasts look excellent and I am thrilled with the results. I keep asking myself why I didn’t get the surgery done sooner- but better late than never! My surgeon did beautiful work and I highly recommend Prague and the Brandeis Clinic to anyone else considering cosmetic surgery or medical travel. In fact, I am so pleased I have already recommended my surgeon to several of my friends who are now interested in breast augmentation themselves.

Q: What advice would you give to other medical travelers, or those considering it for the first time?

I highly recommend you don’t go it alone. Using a full-service medical platform like Salutara, saves you time, stress and a lot of headaches. And as I mentioned before, savings are great, but they should be a bonus to exceptional quality. 

Second, ask questions! As many as you can think of. This is when being in direct contact with your surgeon is crucial, another benefit of using a medical platform. Cosmetic surgery is not something to take lightly, and important health questions (specific to you) need professional answers. Finally, if your schedule and allows it, take advantage of the city you’re traveling to. For instance, in Prague I recommend you take at least one day before your surgery to be a tourist and enjoy the most beautiful city in Europe. I also recommend spending a full 2-3 days (depending on your surgery) post-surgery to recover. This will make the trip home more comfortable.

 Thanks, Candida!– Your Team At Salutara

 

Thinking About Medical Travel? Check Out: Medical Travel: How To Prepare For Your Trip Abroad

How Many People Had Cosmetic Surgery In 2015?

The numbers are in- and they might surprise you. Just how many people got cosmetic surgery in 2015?

On July 26, 2016, the ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) released the results from its annual global survey. Compiling data from a questionnaire sent to approximately 35,000 plastic surgeons worldwide, more than 21 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures were performed in 2015. This is an increase of over 1 million cosmetic procedures from 2014. According to a press release from ISAPS, they reported that Botulinum Toxin (BOTOX®), continues to top the chart as the most popular cosmetic procedure for both men and women. A total of over 4.6 million procedures were performed worldwide. Another popular injectable, Hyaluronic Acid, increased 6.5% from 2014 to 2015. Once again, breast augmentation continues to be the most common surgical procedure among women, increasing 10.4% from 2014. Eyelid surgery remains the most prevalent for men.

Top 5 Surgical Procedures: Women

In 2015, women had more than 18 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures. This is an astounding 85.6% of the total procedures worldwide. The top five surgical procedures were:

  1. Breast augmentation (1,476,498)
  2. Liposuction (1,181,074)
  3. Eyelid surgery (988,620)
  4. Abdominoplasty (703,361)
  5. Rhinoplasty (534,523) shutterstock_311958785

Top 5 Surgical Procedures: Men 

Contributing to 14.4% of the total, men had more than 3 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures in 2015. The top five surgical procedures performed on men in 2015 were:

  1. Eyelid surgery (276,082)
  2. Liposuction (213,514)
  3. Gynecomastia (212,328) 
  4. Rhinoplasty (195,764)
  5. Fat grafting (92,311)

Top 4 Surgical Procedures: Total

Of the more than 21 million procedures performed in 2015, 9.6 million were surgical. The most popular (total) procedures were:

  1. Breast Augmentation (up 10% vs. 2014)
  2. Liposuction (up 2% vs. 2014)
  3. Eyelid Surgery (down 11% vs. 2014)
  4. Abdominoplasty (up 11% vs. 2014)

Top 5 Nonsurgical Procedures: Total 

The remaining 12.1 million procedures in 2015 were nonsurgical procedures. Worldwide, the United States took the lead with 2.6 million procedures. The most popular procedures were:

  1. Botulinum Toxin (down 4% vs. 2014)
  2. Hyaluronic Acid (up 7% vs. 2014)
  3. Hair Removal (down 14% vs. 2014)
  4. Photo Rejuvenation (new to 2015 survey)
  5. Nonsurgical Fat Reduction (new to 2015 survey)

 Cosmetic Surgery By Country

According to ISAPS, the country with the highest number of procedures was the United States, setting the bar high at 1.4 million surgical and 2.6 million non-surgical procedures in 2015. The United States also has the largest number of active plastic surgeons with 6,500 followed by Brazil (5,500) and China (2,800). Coming in at a close second to the U.S. was Brazil, with a reported 1.2 million surgical and 1.1 million non-surgical procedures. Rounding out the list for the most procedures was South Korea, India, Mexico, Germany, Colombia, France, and Italy.

According to the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons), this is a 2% increase from 2014. In addition to continued growth over the last year, statistics indicate a shift in the types of procedures patients have chosen since the start of the new millennium. In a statement from ASPS President, David H. Song, he said,

“While more traditional facial procedures and breast augmentations are still among the most popular, we’re seeing much more diversity in the areas of the body patients are choosing to address…Patients have more options than ever, and working closely with their surgeon, they’re able to focus on specific target areas of the body to achieve the look they desire.”

New stats from the ASPS also revealed that 2015 was another “year of the rear”, as procedures focusing on the bottom dominated surgical growth. In 2015, buttock implants were the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery in the United States. Overall, numbers showed that on an average day, one buttock procedure was performed every 30 minutes.

What Do Men (And Women) Really Think About Cosmetic Surgery?

In 2016, a record 18.5 million women underwent some kind of cosmetic surgery worldwide.

From invasive surgeries, such as breast augmentation and liposuction, to more minor, noninvasive treatments, such as Botox and hair removal, the trend of self-improvement is steadily on the rise.

In the 21st century, cosmetic surgery is as a run-of-the-mill as a trip to the dentist. However, discussing the “work you’ve had done”, can still feel rather taboo. Women, especially, make a point to keep their nips and tucks under wraps, even going as far as to hide it from their spouses and children. In an interview with The Telegraph, plastic surgeon, Dr. Bryan Mendelson, commented that nearly 99% of his patients don’t tell their better halves, and that most women decide to go under the knife without consulting their nearest and dearest.

But why? Are women ashamed to of their cosmetic surgery? Are they worried about the reaction from others? Is our media’s critical portrayal of cosmetic surgery to blame? To shed some light on this dilemma, it is important to first understand the motivation behind cosmetic surgery.

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Dr. Mendelson elaborated,

“People have surgery not to impress others, they do it to impress themselves. For many people, it’s about getting their confidence back…People aren’t doing surgery to win someone’s hand in marriage, they’re doing it for their inner self. There comes a time, in your 40s and 50s, when someone tells you ‘you’re looking tired’. You were feeling OK until someone said that. But now when you look in the mirror you no longer see your vibrant self.”

If this is true then why are women afraid their partners and family won’t be supportive?

He continued, “Patients’ husbands tend to freak out about surgery, saying ‘I love her the way she is, why would she risk doing that? “The fact is it’s about self-esteem. They’re doing it for themselves.”

What influence does the media have on the publics perception of cosmetic surgery?

Dr. Mendelson insisted that, “The way the media portrays cosmetic surgery sensationalizes people who look ridiculous after an operation…The vast majority of people who undergo surgery have something subtle done. They don’t want to tell people as they don’t want to be treated differently. It’s like make-up, they don’t want people to notice what they’ve had done. They’re doing it purely for themselves and their own self-esteem.”

But should women (and men) assume the response from their counterparts will be negative? New research actually reveals the opposite.

In a recent poll from Daily News and Analysis, they asked men if women who get cosmetic surgery put them off. What the results revealed was that more and more men are comfortable with the idea of women enhancing their looks- nearly 50%. The other half preferred a more natural look, but agreed that if a women would like to enhance her looks to feel more beautiful and confident, then why not.

In fact, in 2015 over 3.1 million men worldwide underwent some kind cosmetic surgery or anti-aging procedure as well. The most popular treatments? Eyelid surgery and Liposuction.

Read More: Cosmetic Surgery, Is It Normal? 

The truth of the matter is, cosmetic surgery is quite common, and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For men, and women alike, it is important to talk openly with your partner about their motivation and desire for cosmetic surgery. In an interview with ELLE UK, pop-singer Kylie Minogue summed up the new attitude toward cosmetic surgery best,

“I’m not against surgery, I haven’t gone down that route yet and I don’t know whether I will but I’m not against it. The only time it isn’t amazing is when it’s not well done or someone takes it too far. But I look at someone like Jane Fonda. I’m a super-fan of hers. She doesn’t apologize [about her surgery] and she shouldn’t have to. We put makeup on every day, we tint, pluck, wax, we do anything to make ourselves look as good as we can and I think it’s pointless being hypocritical about something that if it’s done well can be really good.”

What Are The 4 Most Popular Liposuction Methods?

Thinking about liposuction? So are nearly 1.4 million other people each year. Liposuction is the 2nd most popular cosmetic surgery worldwide and has risen to fame for helping patients remove unsightly fat, often stubborn to exercise and diet, and reshape the natural contours of the body. Popular areas include the inner and outer thighs, stomach, hips, back, neckline and upper arms.

Since its debut in 1974, the cosmetic procedure has evolved above and beyond the wildest dreams of its earliest surgeons. Just like people, today liposuction comes in all shapes and sizes, giving patients more choices than ever when it comes to selecting the method that is right for them. And while more choices are better than none, it can be overwhelming when undergoing such a procedure. So to help simplify, we’ve put together a breakdown of the 4 Most Popular Liposuction Methods.

1. Tumescent Liposuction  

An innovative extension of traditional liposuction, tumescent is the most common and popular method worldwide, and is used in virtually every form of liposuction today. It is an invasive procedure and typically performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the size of the target area. The procedure itself takes between 1.5-2 hours and the tumescent technique uses several litres of a saline “wetting” solution, which is injected below the skin and into the fat. This decreases blood loss, facilitates anesthesia and creates space between the muscle and fatty tissue, allowing the cannula to move more freely. Fat cells are then permanently removed (suctioned out) through small incisions with the use of a microcannula attached to a high-power vacuum.

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A microcannula attached to a high-power vacuum suctions fat from under the skins surface.

Following surgery, patients are hospitalized for 1 night and fitted with elastic, compression undergarments which are worn for up to 8 weeks. It is recommended that patients do not perform any strenuous activity for at least 2 months. Final results can be seen within 3-4 months after surgery. Swelling and bruising are quite common during the recovery period.

2. VASERlipo®  

Vaserlipo® is a semi-invasive method, performed under general anesthesia. An average procedure lasts about 1-2 hours. Similar to tumescent liposuction, the target fat is injected with a with a saline “wetting” solution. The next step utilizes ultrasound technology, and ultrasound waves are emitted externally to the fat cells. The waves liquify the fat cells and after the target areas have been treated, are extracted from the body.

Vaserlipo® is popular among patients and surgeons because it minimizes the internal impact on surrounding tissues and nerves, and any excess swelling, bleeding or discomfort. Because the ultrasonic extraction method only affects the fat cells, recovery is quick and virtually painless. Patients are generally in and out on the same day and able to return to their everyday activities immediately- no compression garments necessary. The results are permanent and are typically visible immediately following the procedure.

3. SlimLipo

SlimLipo is a semi-invasive treatment performed under local anesthetic. The procedure itself takes approximately 2 hours and utilizes laser technology to directly target fat and protect the surrounding tissues and nerves. An ultra-thin, flexible cannula is then used to ensure minimal pain and reduce the risk of bruising and swelling by 79%, compared to more traditional methods. Up to 6 liters of fat may be removed during a single session, and the laser wavelengths promote tightening of the dermis (undersurface of skin), reducing wrinkles and cellulite. It is also popular for smaller areas which require more precision, such as under the chin.

After surgery, patients are fitted with special drawstring undergarments, which promote the proper reshaping and tightening of the skin. Immediately following they are able to return home or to work. Physical limitations may be determined by the surgeon on an individual bases, while final results can be seen within 1-3 months.

Read More: The Pros And Cons Of Liposuction 

4. Zeltiq Coolsculpting®

Zeltiq CoolScultping® is the newest, non-invasive method of liposuction which uses a handheld device to precisely freeze and permanently destroy fat cells below the surface of the skin. The treatment of one area lasts only 1 hour and is completely painless. Protected by a special gel membrane and device settings, only fat cells are targeted and all other tissues, organs and nerves remain unaffected.

CoolScultping is suitable for almost every part of the body, including the abdomen, inner and outer thighs, hips and buttocks. The only limitation is that the target area must be an appropriate size to fit the vacuum aspiration instrument (CoolSooth®). The biggest advantage of this method is its speed, simplicity and zero-recovery time. As soon as the procedure is complete, patients are able to return home or to work and resume their daily activities. Most patients only require a single treatment and effects are noticeable immediately. Full results are seen within 3 months.

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