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

Cheater's Guide to a Better Beach Body

Liposuction Alternatives continued...

In addition, there is no incision with ultrasound procedures. Each session lasts about an hour, and patients can go right back to work after a treatment.

Buyer (or beachgoer) beware, cautions Few. "It is largely under investigation and I don't think we really have a good answer as to what this technology can reliably deliver and who makes the best candidate," he says. "Patients will always want to have a great result and no risk, but it will take time to say who will be best served by this technology."

Fat-Dissolving Treatments

Another technique that's not quite ready for prime time? Fat-dissolving injections, Few says.

If someone could simply give you an injection that would melt away your love handles or thunder thighs, you would be tempted to give it a shot, right? Who wouldn't (especially as beach season approaches)?

Call them fat-dissolving injections, mesotherapy, or Lipodisolve, but don't call them a miracle or a breakthrough. These injections are billed as a simple series of medicated shots which dissolve unwanted, small localized areas of fat. "It is not FDA approved, it's considered investigational, and there is really no good literature to support its use," Few says.

In general, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. "The idea of getting something done that offers everything without risks is appealing, but we need to see the studies showing that it works," he says. The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) recently released a position statement to its members stating that they do not endorse fat-dissolving injections. "Such therapies not only lack objective proof of safety and efficacy, they also lack Food and Drug Administration approval," the group writes.

"Patients seeking fat-dissolving treatments should be educated about the lack of clinical data supporting these treatments and cautioned to wait until there is reliable information to guide their decision," says Alan H. Gold, MD, president of the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF) in a news release. "For now, the only proven method for eliminating unwanted fat cells is suction assisted lipoplasty, a procedure that has a long and successful track record for both safety and effectiveness."

Brush Up on Beauty

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