Do you remember when I told you about my consultation with Dr. Petropoulos last month? She’s a cosmetic surgeon located north of Boston and when I met with her, she introduced me to Botox. While I was talking with Dr. Petropoulos, I mentioned how unhappy I was with my saddle bags and asked her what I could do about them.
For those of you who aren’t sure what I mean by “saddle bags”, they are these thick fat deposits on the tops of the outside of my thighs. Sadly, I inherited mine at birth and like every other female in my family, I have spent many hours trying to exercise them away – and honestly, no amount of exercise makes fat that dense go away. It just doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve been trying for years.
*Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary services in exchange for sharing them here. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.
After Dr. Petropoulos looked at my saddle bags, she said that what I really needed was Liposuction in the area to get rid of the fat completely. I am not against having liposuction done, but we decided to try to tackle them with a combination of two procedures that they do right in the office. We did a combination of ThermiSmooth™ and BodyFX™.
For a series of five weeks, I met with Dr. Petropoulos’ Medical Esthetician, Jeanine Oteri, who performed the treatments. But what exactly are these procedures?
ThermiSmooth™ is a non-evasive procedure which uses radio frequency for improving skin laxity. ThermiSmooth™ is performed using a specially designed hand-piece, which delivers precise heating to the skin’s surface. The idea is to heat the cells and stimulate the body’s own collagen production
The procedure itself is really easy. Jeanine told me that many patients compared it to getting a hot stone massage and I can confirm that now that I have been through five ThermiSmooth™ treatments. After applying a small amount of coupling gel to the area being treated, the ThermiSmooth™ hand piece is applied to the skin’s surface in that area.
The ThermiRF™ system is set to a specific temperature (anywhere between 42°C – 45°C depending on how much the patient can handle) and then the person doing the treatment will move the hand piece in a circular motion while gradually heating up the skin in the area being treated. The skin’s temperature will slowly rise during the treatment, which is reached after just a few minutes. Once the desired temperature is reached, the area will be treated for about 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the area. Treatments are then repeated several times to achieve the desired result.
Many people use it for problem areas on their face (eyes, cheeks and around mouth) or their neck. It’s a very gentle procedure, it’s non invasive and best of all, there is no downtime.
BodyFX™ offers a permanent solution for fat reduction and body contouring. The BodyFX™ radio-frequency technology provides precise and optimal heating of the skin for reduction, contraction and body shaping which that results in permanent fat cell death, fat reduction and cellulite improvement. Best of all, it’s non-surgical!
The negative pressure massage applies gentle vacuum pressure allowing for maximal depth treatment. It can be preformed right in the doctor’s office and it requires no topical or local anesthesia. The BodyFX™ applicator is simply placed over the area of unwanted fat/cellulite and the treatment is begun.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to treat an area of unwanted fat and/or cellulite. Common areas treated include the lower or upper abdomen, buttocks, thighs, the bra line, the inner knees and the upper arms. There is no downtime after having a BodyFX™ treatment and like the ThermiSmooth™ procedure, it will require multiple treatments to get the desired effect.
Let’s talk about the ThermiSmooth™ first. Like I was told, it actually was like getting a hot stone massage. While the applicator was heated to a pretty high temperature, it was never uncomfortable. Since I had my outer thighs treated, I laid on my side while the treatment was performed. It took about 20 minutes on each side and about half of that was waiting for my skin to heat up to the temperature it needed to be. It went quick, though, and I didn’t experience any kind of discomfort from this procedure.
As for BodyFX™, that’s a different story. I read up on the procedure before I had my first treatment and was under the impression that this was a painless procedure. That was not the case! It wasn’t excruciating, but it was highly uncomfortable – especially during the second half of the treatment when the temperature was higher. If you’ve ever had a tattoo, I would compare the pain of this procedure to that. If you’ve never gotten a tattoo, I would probably compare the pain to a moderate sunburn. So, like I said, it wasn’t excruciatingly painful, but it wasn’t pleasant. Like the ThermiSmooth™ treatment, each side took about 20 minutes.
Did they work?
The answer to this is yes and no. I had a total of five of each treatment. I was actually scheduled for a sixth, but canceled the appointment because it was snowing that day & the roads weren’t great where I live.
If you recall, I mentioned that Dr. Petropoulos said that what I really needed was Liposuction to completely get rid of those pesky saddle bags, so honestly I had no expectations of either procedure working because of how big the fat deposits were. I am happy to report that as of today, they are about half the size that they were before I got the treatments. And I am really happy with that. Jeanine told me way back in November when I went for my first treatment that the radio frequency works for up to six months, so there is a chance that my saddle bags will get even smaller over the next few months (fingers crossed). But even if my saddle bags don’t shrink anymore, I am really happy with the result of the treatments I had – even if they aren’t completely gone. These procedures are both totally worth it.
And who knows, maybe I will sign up for the actual lipo procedure one of these days. I have a long list of procedures I would love to have done, so I am going to start working on that this year.
I am not a doctor. I am just sharing my own personal experiences with these treatments and yours may differ from mine. If you are considering having a procedure done and you live in the Boston area (or beyond), please consider giving Dr. Petropoulos a call. She is highly talented and had the experience & knowledge that truly makes her one of Boston’s best plastic surgeons.