Losing weight and achieving the ideal body shape is an important goal for many people. However, it can also be a difficult one to attain, no matter how resolved you are to try and keep up with your diet and fitness regimes.
In recent years, more and more people have been opting for body contouring , a cosmetic procedure that removes or destroys fat cells from your body.  But body contouring is not the same as losing weight.
Instead, body contouring sculpts the silhouette of your body by targeting persistent excess adipose tissues for removal, helping you to achieve a more desirable figure. 
Today, liposuction is still the most common choice when it comes to body contouring procedures , but non-invasive body contouring alternatives are also becoming increasingly sought-after. Read on for the full run-down on non-invasive body contouring procedures in Singapore!
How does non-invasive body contouring work?
As its name suggests, non-invasive body contouring is non-surgical, i.e., it does not require the patient to go under the knife. Rather, through the use of low temperatures , electromagnetic fields , or radiofrequency , fat cells are broken down or dissolved, and essentially destroyed.
After removing excess fat cells, the remaining fat cells in your body do not regenerate or replace themselves.  However, they can still expand or shrink—like when your weight fluctuates—but you will have fewer fat cells than you did before. This is how patients look thinner afterward!
What are the types of non-invasive body contouring procedures?
Also known as cryolipolysis, or fat freezing, CoolSculpting is a procedure that uses controlled cooling to crystallise subcutaneous fat. 
Subcutaneous fat is the type of fat that lies right beneath the skin  — yes, the bulge you feel when you poke or pinch at your belly! CoolSculpting works by destroying these superficial fats, following which, the dead cells are then removed from your body via a natural elimination process 
On the other hand, ReduStim focuses more on removing dangerous visceral fat , the kind that surrounds our intestines and organs. Although visceral fat only makes up about 10% of our total fats, it is responsible for many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, making ReduStim a popular treatment among both men and women.  
ReduStim uses alternate low-frequency electromagnetic fields and controlled micro-pressure to decrease adipose tissue.  It also acts on the lymphatic drainage system to eliminate toxins from the body and prevent water retention.
- TruSculpt flex
TruSculpt flex is a muscle stimulation treatment that aims to tone or build muscles.  Using direct electrical current, truSculpt flex replicates crunching, squatting, and twisting muscular action, with electrodes that can work on up to eight areas at the same time. 
Yes, imagine working out your muscles without actually moving! Don’t mistake a 45-minute session of muscle stimulation on truSculpt flex to be the equivalent of working out at the gym, as the results of muscle stimulation are much more pronounced and long-lasting.
Building muscle can also help your body burn fat by converting fat molecules into glucose for your muscles to use. The more muscle you have, the more glucose you will need, and the more calories your body will burn to perform basic metabolic functions! 
Non-invasive body contouring vs liposuction
But how do these non-invasive methods compare to liposuction?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that suctions out body fat via a hollow tube called a cannula. Patients that undergo liposuction need to be anaesthetised and have small incisions made on the targeted areas. 
The recovery process may take up to six weeks as swelling will occur. In fact, it is not uncommon for patients to feel like they have become larger right after their liposuction due to fluid retention and swelling.  The final result of the procedure will likely only really show one to three months later!
Conversely, non-invasive body contouring methods typically require neither anesthesia nor incisions, and demand less downtime. It is common for patients to return to their normal activities immediately (though some swelling and soreness may be felt.) 
To that end, liposuction produces more dramatic and lasting results compared to non-invasive body contouring. Liposuction can remove up to five litres of body fat in a session — whereas non-invasive body contouring does not measure fat loss in such explicit and precise terms. 
Rather, we look for more subtle signs like a reduction in your waistline. While both procedures are intended to give permanent results, non-invasive body contouring methods may require maintenance treatments past your initial sessions.
For liposuction, however, patients typically only require one surgical session, and the result should be long-lasting with proper aftercare like maintaining a good diet on their part.
But as you may expect, liposuction tends to be costlier, too. As a general estimate, a liposuction procedure in Singapore may cost around $15,000 to $25,000, with the procedure usually performed on at least five parts of the body.
The cost of non-invasive body contouring varies between procedures but generally falls below $1,000 per session. (You can find more details about the individual prices of each type of procedure later below!)
How should I choose which non-invasive body contouring procedure to undergo?
If you’re still interested in non-invasive body contouring, then how do you go about selecting which procedure to undergo? Start by considering if you are trying to reduce subcutaneous fat (CoolSculpting), visceral fat (ReduStim), or stimulate muscle growth (truSculpt flex).
Each procedure comes with different expectations, risks, and costs. We have broken these distinctions down for you below. However, you should ultimately consult a doctor who will be able to assess and advise you on the most suitable treatment for your needs!
How effective is non-invasive body contouring?
Studies back that non-invasive body contouring is effective at helping patients reduce fat.
ReduStim, for instance, was found to reduce patients’ waistline by over 6cm after 12 sessions in clinical trials.  Similarly, for CoolSculpting, studies identified a 25% loss of fat on average in patients’ treated areas after the procedure.  Lastly, truSculpt flex boasts an average of 30% increase in muscle mass in patients. 
How much does non-invasive body contouring cost?
Prices will differ from clinic to clinic and depending on the number of body areas being treated per session. Here is a gauge of how much each procedure may cost in Singapore. But your healthcare provider should be able to give you an upfront quote when you consult them!
Average Cost in Singapore
$600 - $900 per session
$200 per session
$400 - $600 per session
Am I a suitable candidate for non-invasive body contouring?
It is important to note again that non-invasive body contouring helps you to lose fat — not weight! These procedures are designed for patients already at or near their ideal body weight that would like to remove specific, isolated bulges of fat that do not go away easily even with dieting or exercise. 
They are not substitutes or a quick solution to a poor diet and fitness regime. As such, if you are thinking about undergoing non-invasive body contouring, set realistic expectations for your treatment outcome.
That said, here is a comprehensive table which explains which group of people benefits most from the respective treatments
Areas it can target:
Adult men and women close to their ideal weights (BMI < 30) looking to remove stubborn pockets of fat
Abdomen, flank, inner thighs, outer thigh, submentum, upper arms
Unsuitable for pregnant women.
If you suffer from any medical conditions, let your doctor know so they can advise if you are a suitable candidate for these treatments.
Abdomen, outer thighs, knees, calves
Adult men and women close to their ideal weights (BMI < 30) looking to build or tone muscles
Abdomen, buttocks, thighs, arms
How long do non-invasive body contouring procedures take?
For CoolSculpting, each session lasts between 35 to 70 minutes. A single session of treatment may be enough, but more may be required to see the desired results, depending on the areas being treated. It will take four to six months afterward for the targeted fat cells to completely be removed from the body and for best results to show. 
For ReduStim, a minimum of 12 sessions is needed. Patients are recommended to undergo two sessions per week — amounting to six weeks of treatment in total. Each session lasts around 30 minutes. After the treatment programme, patients are advised to follow up with maintenance sessions, once or twice a month. Supplementary treatment sessions are available, too, depending on the satisfaction of the patient.
For truSculpt flex, results may be seen within four sessions, spread over two weeks. Each session lasts around 45 minutes. As with the other procedures, subsequent treatments may be recommended depending on your final goal!
What can I expect during the non-invasive body contouring procedure?
As mentioned, non-invasive body contouring does not require patients to be anaesthetised or go under a knife. You will be in a relaxed, lying position, before being connected to the body contouring machine. Patients generally report zero to tolerable levels of discomfort during the treatment. , 
Here is a summary of what you can expect to experience during the sessions:
CoolSculpting: A gel pad and applicator will be placed on the treatment area and you will feel a cold, tugging sensation in the beginning. Following this, the tugging sensation will decrease as the area starts to feel numb while treatment is underway.
ReduStim: Patients don a bodysuit that is connected to the ReduStim medical device, from which electromagnetic waves are generated that encourages the breakdown of fat cells. The bodysuit will cover you from the feet up to the abdomen and you will experience waves of compression and decompression. On top of the emission of biomagnetic fields, upward pressure will also be applied to facilitate lymphatic drainage, which helps to naturally eliminate toxins and broken-down fat cells.
truSculpt flex: Electrodes will be placed on the areas patients want to target. You will then feel a gentle muscle contraction sensation that gradually becomes more intense — something like the voluntary contractions during physical exercise! There are three modes to this treatment that will generate different sensations :
In prep mode, you will feel a twisting motion, where your muscles get stretched and warmed up for more intense contractions later;
In tone mode, your muscles will be contracted, held until exhaustion, then relaxed, to build strength;
In sculpt mode, you will experience fast, deep, and sequential muscle contractions to build muscle mass and raise your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Is there any downtime after non-invasive body contouring?
Typically, there is little to no downtime expected after non-invasive body contouring procedures. Patients may resume their daily activities right away.
How permanent are the effects of non-invasive body contouring?
The results of non-invasive body contouring are meant to be permanent. But as mentioned, you may choose to have follow-up sessions after your treatment to help in maintaining the effects.
More crucially, do note that it is important to keep up with a healthy diet and fitness regime even after these sessions. You should continue to maintain your weight, and avoid stressing your body with a poor diet, or it will be difficult for the results of body contouring to be maintained for long.
How safe is non-invasive body contouring?
CoolSculpting and truSculpt flex are both FDA-approved treatments , —meaning to say, clinical data on these procedures have been reviewed to display that the benefits outweigh any known risks.
Furthermore, CoolSculpting devices are equipped with built-in safety features. Should its sensors detect that your skin has gotten too cold, the procedure will be automatically halted and terminated early. 
ReduStim, on the other hand, has acquired a CE certification, attesting that it conforms to the EU’s tight regulations on product safety.  Fret not that these methods are generally safe.
However, you should only engage a certified professional that you trust to operate these devices! Improper placements of the applicators can interfere with its effectiveness, or worse, hurt you.
As with all procedures, non-invasive body contouring comes with potential side effects and risks, too. Though they have been minimal, they can still happen. It is important that you communicate with your doctor before and after your treatment to understand and manage any effects you may experience.
Here is a table of the possible side effects these techniques may bring about:
Redness, bruising, swelling, numbness, tingling, darkening (should resolve within a month)
Possibly increased fat growth at the treated area—but this is very rare, with the incidence rate lower than 1%. 
No significant side effects 
Soreness, sensitivity, tingling
With advancing technologies, liposuction procedures are not the only options available to get rid of fats today! Given the researched safety and efficacy of non-invasive body contouring procedures, it is quite understandable that more and more people are seeking them out, especially if you are not looking for drastic changes, but just dealing with certain areas of persistent fat.
But remember to only engage a certified professional that possesses quality equipment and has undergone appropriate training to work with these machines. Apart from the three brands of machines we have talked about in this article, there exists many more in the market, including some very shoddy ones.
If you are seeing unfamiliar names, take some time to look them up, check for certifications, and speak to your doctor. They should be able to help you to identify a suitable method that can meet your needs! Your safety and trust should always come first.
If you have any questions or would like to book a consultation, visit aesthetic doctor Dr Chua Cheng Yu's profile.