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Cheater's Guide to a Better Beach Body

A look at cosmetic procedures that can improve your appearance in time for beach season.

Losing Those Love Handles continued...

"Guys come in their 40s to get rid of their little bellies and love handles. And so do women with almost perfect bodies who want some touch-up of love handles, hips, and little tummies," says Lawrence Reed, MD, a New York City-based plastic surgeon. But, he cautions, people who just have skin and muscle and no fat do not make the best candidates for liposuction.

"The biggest complication with liposuction is undesirable cosmetic results," he says. "I have seen ladies who had liposuction and never should have had it because they had no fat, so they are left with dimples and irregularities," he says. The trick? "You have to know when not to do it."

For people who are good candidates, "you should do it at least three weeks before Memorial Day so the bruising will be gone in time for beach season," he says. "You will see a measurable improvement at three weeks, but you don't see final improvements until six months."

Liposuction, like all surgeries, does have its share of risks including infection.

Liposuction Alternatives

Advocates of newer fat-zapping technologies, however, may position the alternatives to liposuction as safer, but the jury is still out on most of them.

There is some buzz about LipoSonix's SonoSculpt and Ultrashape, says Reed. In a nutshell, these technologies use sound waves to break up fat. The fat is then reabsorbed. Neither are FDA-approved or available in the U.S.

"There is no question that Liposonix works," says Reed, who is one of the U.S investigators. "The results I have seen are 30% spectacular; 20% of people have no problems, but nothing that I can see as far as results. And 50% look better, but just OK," he says.

"It will have a role because the technology is good and I think it is safe," he says. "The concern was what happens to the fat. We now know that it doesn't wind up in the heart or vessels because levels of blood fats are not increased, so the safety factor has been good."

Brush Up on Beauty

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