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Surgery or exercise to get in shape for summer?

Tuesday 27 Nov 2012 1:15 p.m.

Would you go under the knife or is exercise enough?

Would you go under the knife or is exercise enough?

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People are turning to cosmetic and surgical treatments to look their best as summer approaches, but old-fashioned exercise is still as popular as ever.

So what are the trends for getting in shape this year?

Summer plastic surgery

Plastic surgeon Dr Glenn Bartlett says the New Zealand Institute of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery in Remuera always gets more clients close to summer.

“Things get busier towards the end of the year, once the weather warms up.”

He says breast implants, liposuction and other body contour procedures are the most often requested treatments at this time.

“People are thinking about more revealing clothes and shedding pounds they’ve put on during winter.”

Dr Bartlett says that sometimes exercise isn’t enough to get in shape, and that is when liposuction might be appropriate.

“There are some people who have body shapes that will not change despite the amount of exercise they do, [such as] people who are quite slender on top but have great big fat thighs.”

But he says liposuction is not a weight loss technique, and he does not recommend it for overweight people.

“If you have an isolated area of fatty deposition that is disproportionate to the rest of your body, liposuction is good for that.”

But he says exercise is still the key to getting in shape.

“The best way to lose weight is nutrition and exercise.”

Dr Bartlett recommends people interested in having a procedure should talk to a qualified plastic surgeon in New Zealand. He warns people to be wary of going on holiday for treatment.

“There seem to be a lot of complications with those procedures.”

Alternative fat-reducing treatments

A new US Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment called Coolsculpt claims to kill the fat by freezing it, and does not require surgery.

It does not yet seem to be available in New Zealand, but there are some other non-surgical treatments available in New Zealand which claim to reduce fat.

Terra Nova clinic in Auckland offers a fat reduction treatment called RF Thermage, which says it uses a radio frequency to generate heat deep in subcutaneous fat tissue to break it down, which then leaves the body through the normal waste process.

The clinic’s website says it reduces both fat and cellulite, and clinic owner Julie says the treatment is always popular.

“It’s popular all year round actually. It’s not particularly summer-seasonal or winter-seasonal.”

She says people usually need multiple treatments, and often begin them sometime before summer.

“We do have a bit of a peak in July, August.”

But Julie stresses it is not a weight loss treatment, it’s a fat reduction treatment and clients are also given a nutrition analysis when they come in for a consultation.

The clinic recommends people getting RF Thermage also get Lumologie treatments, designed to reduce cellulite.

Keris Advanced Beauty Clinic, also in Auckland offers a treatment they call Fat Cavitation, which also claims to use radio waves to destroy fat. An employee says about three in 10 customers request the treatment and it works very well.

However dermatologist Dr Mark Gray from the Skin Institute in Auckland recommends people thoroughly research any treatments they are considering before committing.

He says people should be wary of radio frequency treatments if they are not being administered by a medical professional.

“It’s a tricky piece of equipment to use and there have been a lot of adverse reactions.”

Dr Gray also says that the results from the treatments are often minor, and none of them compare to surgical procedures like liposuction, despite sometimes high costs.

“Most people entering into these treatments are very disappointed.

“There is a case of buyer beware.”

Good old-fashioned exercise

Despite the availability cosmetic body shaping tools, exercise is still very popular.

Les Mills personal and team training manager Brendon Harris says coming up to summer every year, people become motivated to get in shape.

“Our membership definitely does increase at this time of year,” he says.

“For group fitness classes this is the busiest time of the year.”

Mr Harris says one of the most popular training techniques currently is high-intensity interval training, which is an intense workout over a short time allowing busy people to get their fitness fix.

“It’s bouts of really hard work with small bouts of relaxation.

“Many athletes have been doing this for a long time.”

He does not think treatments like liposuction are usually necessary, and recommends people get a friend, support person or personal trainer to help them stick to their fitness goals.

“When you’ve got someone to help with support it really helps.”

And he says people shouldn’t underestimate the difference good nutrition will make for people to lose those last problem areas.

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