Today we have amazing technologies that will help us to ditch those last few pounds and sculpt a lean, fit silhouette. Patients can choose between minimally invasive laser liposuction techniques and nonsurgical, non-invasive treatment options at our offices in New Jersey. We offer all of the top treatments and most effective technologies, available from some of the nation’s top body sculpting doctors. The body of your dreams is now within reach!
- Do I have diastasis recti or am I just fat?
Diastasis recti is not just caused by pregnancy! It can also be caused by too much visceral fat (weight gained around the organs), weightlifting, and rapid weight fluctuations, although these cases are rare. Our doctors will be happy to examine you to determine if you have muscle separation and whether it's a hernia or diastasis recti. This is a normal part of the free consultation we offer for belly concerns.
- Can losing weight help diastasis recti?
Weight loss may improve its appearance, but will not help the muscles to re-attach internally. Strengthening the muscles may also help with any weaknesses in the muscle wall, as well as improve the appearance of diastasis recti, but it cannot repair the tears between the muscles. Only a tummy tuck surgery can repair diastasis recti fully. EmSculpt was shown in one study to help improve diastasis recti by a small amount through strengthening the muscles, but it is not a replacement for surgical repair, nor do we see any treatments or technologies on the horizon or in development that will be able to rival the quality of repair provided by surgery for diastasis recti.
- Does loose belly skin go away?
Some very young, healthy people with great genetics will be able to lose weight or experience pregnancy and not have much loose skin afterwards. But even so, most of us are going to experience loose skin on our belly - it's just a matter of time, or experiencing one of these things: - weight fluctuating several times, especially rapidly - weight remaining higher for an extended period of time - pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies - age-related hormonal changes, especially for women who experience a dramatic drop in collagen production during and after menopause Mild or moderate loose belly skin can be treated with non-surgical or minimally invasive surgical procedures (under local anesthesia with very small scars and quick recovery). Whereas those with severe or significant loose skin may have damage to the skin (often visible as skin that creates tiny series of folds and wrinkles or has extensive stretch marks) that will mean your skin will no longer react to collagen-based tightening treatments and would only improve with surgical removal of excess skin (tummy tuck or body lift surgery).
- Why am I losing weight but my stomach is still big?
Your genetic code tells your body where to store fat - and this can also be influenced by what you eat (which impacts your hormones), diseases and medications, nutrition and stress (which impacts your hormones), and your age (which impacts your hormones). As you can see, this issue tends to be either that your belly is where you've always stored fat first (and it's the last place to lose fat when you lose weight), or it's become a problem as a result of hormonal shifts. Eventually, each of us is going to reach an age where our hormones have permanently shifted and our belly is going to be the first place to store fat - that is the natural evolution of hormones for both men and women, given enough aging. So, what can you do? The answer is the same, regardless of whether your issue of stomach fat is new or whether it's always been your problem area. We can remove the fat cells there, and then you can permanently maintain those results by keeping your weight stable with a maintenance level of activity and nutrition.
At Reflections, we know when you look good, you feel good, and that creates all kinds of positive ripples in your life. When you feel confident about wearing a swimsuit, you take your kids to the shore more often. When you feel sexy in your little black dress, you go out more and enjoy more time connecting with your spouse or significant other. And when you’re confident in your favorite suit, you give a more commanding presence to your work. So we know how important it is to find treatments that will get you back to living your best life, confident and comfortable in your own body.
When it comes to getting a flat midsection, there are three main underlying issues that can be contributing to the problem. Once you understand which of these is the problem, you can start to weigh which treatment options will work for you.
Belly fat is particularly stubborn. It’s a common problem spot for both men and women, for different reasons. Basically, if you think fat is part of the problem, it probably is. But the real, more important question, is what kind of fat is creating the problem? There are two kinds of excess abdomen fat:
- Subcutaneous fat: lies between the muscle and skin and is treatable by cosmetic physicians using the procedures listed below. This kind of fat is soft and squishy and easy to pinch.
- Visceral fat: lies within your abdominal cavity surrounding your internal organs, and is not treatable by any cosmetic procedure. Because visceral fat is stored behind your abdominal wall muscles, it generally has a round, firm feel to it – it’s often referred to as a “beer belly.”
Those who are at a healthy weight tend to have much lower percentages of visceral fat, meaning we can successfully remove more of their unwanted belly fat, and that’s why we’re more likely to be able to treat their concerns with cosmetic procedures.
Fat removal from the belly can be done non-invasively (no needles, no scars, no downtime) with CoolSculpting or SculpSure over the course of a couple of treatments, or it can also be done in a single procedure with liposuction surgery. We offer both laser lipo under local anesthesia and traditional liposuction under general anesthesia.
Loose Belly Skin
Whether from pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or aging, many of us have loose skin on our abdomens. This skin laxity can range from very mild to severe. The most severe cases will require excess skin to be removed surgically by a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty – and are usually marked by stretch marks, an indicator the collagen support underneath the skin has irreparably torn.
For those with mild to moderately loose skin, we offer several treatments that provide skin tightening and firming that can provide an improvement without undergoing tummy tuck surgery, including Exilis Ultra, ThermiTight, and Smartlipo’s Precision Laser Skin Tightening. However, a tummy tuck provides the most complete and dramatic transformation, so it may still be the best choice for your goals.
Separated Muscles: Diastasis Recti and Hernias
Separated muscles are the issue you’ll be least likely to accurately self-diagnose.
The most common types of muscle separation or tear are hernias and diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal muscles along the midline that often occurs during pregnancy. Diastasis recti is commonly to blame for lower belly pouch in thin women who have previously had children.
Both diastasis recti and hernias can only be repaired through surgical means, and these repairs are most often incorporated into a tummy tuck procedure. EmSculpt and certain ab exercises have been shown to create small improvements in the visible appearance of the abdomen with diastasis recti, but you cannot reattach the muscles or repair the separation without surgical intervention.
Compare Treatment Options for Belly Fat and Loose Tummy Skin
EmSculpt and Hi-Def Liposuction are the two gold standards for defining abs. We do not offer Hi-Def Liposuction at our practice at this time.
EmSculpt is a unique technology that actually helps to build bigger and stronger muscles, while also reducing the layer of excess fat covering these muscles, making for a lean, athletic result. If you’ve been struggling to see tone and definition from your workouts but are already in pretty good shape, this is the procedure for you!
Another interesting property of this treatment is its ability to actually heal diastasis recti, without surgery. EmSculpt is completely non-invasive, meaning there are no needles, no surgery, no numbing, and no downtime. This makes it the perfect treatment for busy moms who are suffering from abdominal muscle separation, as well as athletes who don’t want to take time off from training to have a procedure.
Best for: Defining your six-pack for a “shredded” look.
Liposuction is the most complete fat removal treatment, but some people feel surgery is not an option for them. In that case, we recommend either SculpSure or CoolSculpting (there are other potential treatments for fat removal from other areas – but they do not work as well for the belly specifically).
Liposuction has gained immense popularity in the past few years because of advances in technology that allow for better results, safer procedures, and shorter recovery. We provide liposuction under local anesthesia, for a gentler, more affordable procedure with better results.
Best for: Those with up to 5 liters of extra fat and a desire to sculpt away all of their unwanted fat in a single procedure.
CoolSculpting is the most popular non-surgical fat removal procedure.
In 2017 CoolSculpting started rolling out a new, improved system of cryolypolisis, or fat freezing technology. The new system, called CoolAdvantage, features:
- Shorter treatment times (35-45 minutes per cycle vs. 60 before)
- More tissue treated per session
- New FDA clearances for skin tightening for some treatment areas (the industry widely expects FDA clearance for all treatment areas to be announced in the near future)
Best for: Making a dent in that “spare tire” OR small, pinchable belly pouch
CoolSculpting has curved handpieces that rely on suction to draw tissue into the handpiece for cooling. So the best results are seen in patients with round rolls of fat. Each treatment removes up to 25% of fat, so plan on having 2-3 treatment cycles, spaced 4-6 weeks apart to see best results.
Women can use CoolSculpting for contouring the small curves that create a more feminine silhouette, too.
SculpSure makes use of the same laser wavelength first introduced in the SmartLipo Laser Lipo system to melt unwanted fat without surgery. Reflections was the first practice to offer SculpSure after it received FDA clearance in 2016.
Our patients love that SculpSure is:
- Non-surgical and non-invasive (no needles, no surgery)
- Downtime-free (go right back to work and working out with no downtime)
- Permanent removal of fat cells, just like liposuction
Best for: Melting that last small layer of fat on the belly and men with larger “beer bellies”
SculpSure uses flat laser applicators to melt unwanted fat. In order for the treatment to work, the fat needs to be fairly flat. Since men tend to be less curvy (and flatter), this tends to be a better treatment option for them than CoolSculpting, but each individual is unique and will be guided towards their best treatment options during their free consultation.
Many patients tell us they just can’t see themselves ever having a major surgery like a tummy tuck with the general anesthesia, long recovery, and big scars. The following treatments use heat energy to stimulate new collagen growth, causing the skin to both tighten and firm naturally. However, they do provide less of a dramatic result than a tummy tuck does.
Smartlipo is one of the most-trusted laser liposuction brands, but its most recent upgrade includes a new wavelength of laser that tightens and tones the skin after the fat is removed for a 1-2-punch that makes for amazing results. This liposuction treatment, just like all of our liposuction options, is performed under local anesthesia. Busy patients love that they can get back to work in about 1-2 days and back to working out in a week.
ThermiTight uses radiofrequency to heat the skin from below and create both firmer and tighter skin. Patients love that this procedure can be performed without any sedation (just a few numbing injections), meaning they can drive themselves home after this procedure if they so choose. Usually, patients take only 1 day off from normal activities after having ThermiTight for their loose belly skin. It doesn’t offer any fat reduction, but for fit moms and patients with weight-loss success stories, ThermiTight offers noticeable results without the downtime or cost of a traditional skin removal surgery. Results come from the growth of your own new, tighter collagen – so it’s very natural and extremely long-lasting.
Exilis recently upgraded their radiofrequency skin tightening system to include ultrasonic tightening as well. This new treatment offers significantly shorter treatments with much more profound results. This is the one treatment our patients can’t stop raving about. If you only have a few weeks and want to look great for swimsuit season, and don’t want to spend a ton of money, we think Exilis Ultra will make you very happy.
Best for: those with mild to moderate skin who want to avoid surgery, want results fast, or are on a tight budget.
“I have NEVER felt so confident in my life and so excited to start this new chapter. Did the cost set me back a little? Yes. But you can’t put a price tag on true happiness and it was worth every penny. ”View My Story
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The truth is, to achieve their dream results, most people are going to need some combination of treatments, whether that’s laser scar treatments after your tummy tuck so that your scar is well-hidden, or a series of EmSculpt to create some ab definition after you remove the fat with CoolSculpting. Our full-stack offering of all of the best treatments, provided by a team of skilled physicians, is what allows us to achieve consistently great results for each individual.
- Cutting-edge technology with a proven track record of creating real results
- More lasers and technologies than any other practice in New Jersey or New York – which means that you’ll never have to settle for a technology that “kinda fits” the things you want and need
- New Jersey’s Top Cosmetic Physicians with specialized training and extensive experience in both surgical and nonsurgical body contouring
- Reputation for honest assessment and recommendations – we aren’t afraid to say “no” to a procedure that we know isn’t right for you
- Free consultations with our physicians so that you can make an informed decision, whether or not you choose to treat with us.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What's the fastest way to get rid of stubborn belly fat?
The fastest way to see a big result is liposuction. It’s the most complete fat removal technique, allowing us to remove the most fat and sculpt a completely new silhouette.
- Why is my belly fat stubborn to begin with?
There are two potential reasons your belly fat may be stubborn:
- Genetic predisposition: Women are more likely to have fat that’s extremely difficult to lose in their lower abdomen (many call this a belly pouch), whereas men tend to hold stubborn fat in their love handles, and some men have a harder time losing the visceral fat that’s below their abdominal muscle. This gives them a very large circumference, though it may not feel so squishy because it’s underneath the muscle layer.
- Hormones and medical conditions: One of the reasons we require blood work from our patients is to ensure nothing more serious is going on health-wise, as that can lead to fat that’s very stubborn on your abdomen or elsewhere. For women, PCOS is a common culprit, as is normal menopausal weight gain.
- Why do I have loose belly skin?
Loose skin has lost the strength and support of the collagen network that exists at the deepest layers of the skin. This can happen from normal aging (we lose 10-20% of collagen per decade after 30) or by over-stretching the collagen layer and creating rips in it. When those rips are through-and-through, they show up as stretch marks. Overstretching makes it very difficult to repair the collagen, and that means once skin has been damaged to a certain point, skin tightening procedures (which all work by stimulating remodeling and repair of the collagen support structures) will have a limited impact. That’s why some people genuinely need to have loose skin removed, such as with a tummy tuck procedure.
- Is it possible to regain weight after treating belly fat?
Think of fat cells like storage containers. When you lose fat naturally, you’re emptying out what’s inside those containers, but the cells remain, ready and waiting for you to eat just a little extra, so they can fill back up. Once you’ve filled up all the space in your existing fat cell “containers,” your body will make more fat cells, so it can store the extra fat. Of course, making new cells uses more energy than storing fat in existing cells.
When you have a fat reduction treatment, whether that’s by liposuction, CoolSculpting, SculpSure, Kybella, or any of the other methods we offer, you’re removing those fat cells along with the fat. It’s important that we say “that we offer” because there are treatments out there that work by temporarily causing your fat cells to release their stores and then trying to get your body to flush just that stored fat. This can work, but it’s generally not as effective and not as long-lasting because the second you overeat, those cells fill back up.
So, can you overeat after we’ve removed these cells, and do so in a way that’s going to get your body to build some new fat cells? Yes, you can. Fat cells tend to multiply, so the area where we’ve removed fat cells with this treatment is less likely than other areas with a higher amount of fat cells to be the place your body decides to grow those new cells – that’s why you’ll sometimes hear that people gain weight in weird new places after lipo, especially after liposculpting where they’re removing nearly every single fat cell in one area (we secretly suspect that’s why Kim K can gain weight but never on her tummy!).
- What is non-invasive fat removal for belly fat or loose skin?
Non-invasive means nothing enters the body – so no needles, no numbing, no surgery. When we talk about non-invasive fat removal, the two top treatments are SculpSure and CoolSculpting. They remove the most fat (20-25% per treatment) in the most comfortable manner.
When we talk about non-invasive skin tightening, there are more options, including Exilis Ultra (the new upgrade on this machine has really made it the standout favorite among our patients), Ultherapy, and Thermage.
Additionally, EmSculpt provides muscle tightening and toning non-invasively, which is important if you’re looking to repair diastasis recti or to get six-pack abs.
- How long will it take to see results?
Lipo under local anesthesia is the fastest in terms of seeing results. Patients will see an immediate result that will improve over the next six months. However, the majority of that improvement is seen by the end of one week, making it a great choice for those looking for fast, big results.
Traditional liposuction and tummy tucks have more intense recovery, although they can be more appropriate for patients with severe skin laxity and large amounts of fat to remove. Because of that recovery, patients should not expect to be showing off results before 2-4 weeks after surgery.
Non-invasive fat reduction procedures take 6-12 weeks to show results, whereas skin tightening procedures, which rely on collagen creation, need longer – about 3-6 months.
- Is it possible to have both stubborn belly fat and excess skin?
Yes. Even though excess skin can be the easiest to identify on your body, stubborn fat may be underneath it, only adding to the complexity of the body contouring process. However, with the right combination of treatment options, the trained cosmetic physicians at Reflections can suggest the right course of action.
- Does the amount of belly fat I have affect my treatment options?
Yes – the amount of belly fat not only affects which treatments you may be a candidate for, but also which treatments will be best to help you reach your goals, especially when accounting for cost, downtime, and time to see results.
Those with more significant fat stores are generally more likely to choose liposuction because the number of non-invasive treatment cycles it would require to remove as much fat as a single liposuction procedure makes lipo the much less expensive option and also means patients will achieve their desired results much faster with lipo.
- Can loose skin be dangerous to keep?
Yes – loose skin, especially when that skin is weighed down by fat, can create health problems. The most common complication is skin infection. When the skin is folded over on itself, bacteria multiply. When that skin rubs against itself, it can create small abrasions where that bacteria can enter the skin and create an infection. These kinds of infections can be extremely difficult to heal.
Generally, this is only a problem for patients who are severely overweight or were at one time, or who have compromised immune systems.
- Is there a threshold to treating belly fat?
All fat can be removed by these types of procedures, but those who are significantly overweight may be disqualified from certain procedures due to their increased risk of complications (for example, anesthesia in a patient who is severely overweight should be avoided).
- Can I still have abs if I remove stubborn belly fat?
Removing fat is the first step to making your abs visible. There are two other factors to consider: skin and muscle tone. Loose skin will often camouflage your abs, and a lack of strong muscles may make it even more difficult to define your abs. We do find using EmSculpt to build muscle definition, in combination with lipo or a non-invasive fat reduction technology like CoolSculpting or SculpSure, is effective at both toning and revealing abs.
- What if I want to have children in the future (and I'm a female)?
None of these treatments will in any way reduce your ability to have a normal, healthy pregnancy in the future.
- What if I'm a new mom or recently gave birth?
As long as you’ve finished breastfeeding, you can safely have a fat reduction and skin tightening treatment. We typically recommend women wait at least 6 months after giving birth to have a treatment, as many women naturally and easily “bounce” back during this period, and we want to give your body the proper chance to heal itself first.
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Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.