Cosmetic procedures get results without surgery

FRESNO, Calif.

Victoria Lettas of Fresno walks into Athenix Body Sculpting Institute hoping to walk out with smoother skin. The 37-year-old busy mother is a marathon runner, but after pregnancy, Victoria says her body changed and didn't change back -- from stubborn spot of cellulite. "No matter how much I run or how far or how hard I train for a race, I still can't get rid of it."

Victoria doesn't want surgery. Instead, she gets Velashape, a non-invasive treatment that uses radio-frequency, infrared light and massage.

After a few sessions, Victoria noticed a big difference. "It actually feels kinda of good, like a massage."

Velashape clients relax on a table for the treatment, but that's their only down time. The procedure is FDA cleared and claims to minimize the size of fat cells to produce long-lasting results without surgery.

A new report by the American Society for Aesthetic Surgery says nearly 23-percent of Americans would get plastic surgery if cost and down time were not an issue. At the same time doctors say non-surgical procedures are on the rise. Especially with visible results as shown in these before and after pictures of Velashape provided by Athenix.

The facility says Velashape costs about $1,500 for six sessions -- versus thousands of dollars for cosmetic surgery.

Patients like Victoria who want noticeable results but want to stay out of the operating room have a number of choices from techniques like minimally-invasive micro-body contouring, to non-invasive therapies like Velashape, that get them out the door and on with their day.

"It makes me feel good. It's painless procedure, doesn't hurt at all."

Fresno Surgeon Dr. Javad Tavassoli says whether patients choose surgery or a non-invasive treatment, their preparations for a procedure should be the same. "That's up to the medical team or the physician to ultimately explain the options and explain the results and the potential risks and complications of procedure so that they're educated and understand," said Dr. Tavassoli.

Sandy Bremner, 58, from the Bay Area, came to Fresno to have a procedure known as the Ultrasound Facelift. Using ultrasound technology that's been in use for decades, a revolutionary new machine called Ultherapy is being used to tighten the face without surgery.

"I have some areas on my face where gravity is pulling," said Bremner.

Fresno cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Mark Chin offers this new treatment which he says, reaches the deep layer of skin that would undergo a surgical facelift.

"It actually heats up the skin and causes the tissues to tighten," said Dr. Chin, "Over the next 2 or 3 months, you'll actually improve by making more collagen."

Pictures provided by Dr. Chin show improvement in facial lines and tightness. Ultherapy can cost a couple thousand dollars compared to up to $20-thousand for a surgical facelift. But with any treatment, doctors say having realistic expectations can give you the result to want. That's more than skin deep.

Both Velashape" and Ultherapy implement techniques that have been used for decades in medicine. The machines have been cleared by the FDA for cosmetic use.

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