November 30, 2023 4:23 pm

The body contouring business is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. This expansive and innovative field is one that takes some understanding but can be extremely rewarding as well. Since you’re interested in this business, we’ll be going over some of the basics of the body contouring industry, specific types of body contouring procedures, the pros and cons of each, and more.

What is Body Contouring?

Body contouring is an extant and emerging branch of medical treatment meant to change the shape of the body favorably. It revolves more around aesthetic appeal than health necessarily. This includes various cosmetic procedures designed to improve the look and shape of the body. Many of these procedures revolve around fat reduction, including cryolipolysis (commonly known as Cool Sculpting).

Is Body Contouring Safe?

There are so many different types of body contouring, and it is impossible to generalize them in this way. Generally speaking, most of these cosmetic procedures are safe to perform, though they oftentimes carry their own potential side effects. There is no such thing as a risk-free cosmetic procedure, but the ones listed in this article are popular and frequently performed by licensed physicians.

Types of Body Contouring

There are various types of body contouring, with distinct benefits and shortcomings to each. We believe that you will see, upon reading this article, that not all body contouring methods are created equal and that some carry more risk than others. Here we will go in-depth into the different methods of body contouring and their specific cost/benefit analyses.  There are four main types of body contouring: injection lipolysis, radiofrequency lipolysis, cryolipolysis, and laser lipolysis.

Injection Lipolysis

In this procedure, the chosen area for treatment is marked off, and the patient is prepared for the procedure. Then a substance called deoxycholate or phosphatidylcholine, or a mixture of the two, is injected into the body fat on the chosen area subcutaneously (under the skin). The deoxycholate or phosphatidylcholine is a lipolytic agent or a chemical that causes fat cell disruption and eventually death. This eliminates the adipose (fat) deposits in the area treated and achieves the body sculpting goal.

Unfortunately, this method of body sculpting can have some very severe side effects. Side effects include but are not limited to scarring, skin discoloration, and knots under the skin. Additionally, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has cautioned against the use of such procedures in the past.

Radiofrequency Lipolysis

In this cosmetic procedure, radio waves are used to heat fat deposits in the body until they are destroyed. Similarly to other procedures, the patient is first prepared, and the area to be treated is marked off on the body. Then a device is applied about one centimeter from the skin that releases radio waves into the area to be treated. These radio waves pass through the skin without any disruption occurring and heat up the fat cells under the skin until they are destroyed, and the fat deposits in the area are reduced.

This procedure is permanent for the fat cells in question, as after the procedure, the adipocytes (fat cells) are dead and gone. Typically, a cooling device is utilized at the same time to keep the skin at a comfortable temperature during the procedure. This procedure has relatively mild side effects, with tissue tenderness on the area treated, as well as redness of the skin, being the most common ones.


With this cosmetic intervention, the skin cells are left intact as extreme cold is used to obliterate the fat cells in the treated area. As with other cosmetic procedures, the patient is prepared, and the area to be treated is marked off. Then the area to be treated is placed in a sort of clamp and exposed to extremely cold temperatures through the clamp. This cold will kill the fat cells in the treated area. Patients may experience some discomfort when exposed to the cold temperatures, although this abates relatively quickly.

As with other body sculpting methods, the goal of this procedure is to produce positive aesthetic changes in the body through the elimination of adipose (fat) deposits. This treatment, however, has some known side effects that you’d certainly rather avoid. For example, paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is a potential side effect of cryolipolysis that results in the number of fat cells in the area treated multiplying rather than receding. For this reason, this method is not as foolproof as some of the alternative methods, such as laser lipolysis.

Laser Lipolysis

This procedure, also referred to as “laser lipo,” involves the application of a low-intensity laser to the fat areas you wish to lose. Lasers can generate singular-directional light and heat to a minimal area. With laser lipo, the technician will target the cell with the laser. The laser penetrates the skin, reaches the targeted fat cells, and bores a tiny pore into the cellular membrane. In addition to creating the small hole, the laser emulsifies (melts) the lipids inside the cell, which allows them to seep through the pore.

The body’s lymphatic system then naturally disposes of the lipids. Emerald Laser by Erchonia works differently from other laser lipolysis methods. Emerald’s system uses ten 532 nanometer lasers to target fat cells. While the system allows the cells to drain, they remain intact. Other laser systems destroy the fat cells, which can lead to fatty deposits developing in other areas of the body.

Additionally, Emerald Laser is relatively painless when compared to other laser systems. Most patients don’t feel anything at all. Laser lipolysis is a minimally invasive weight loss method that targets body fat exclusively. It is innovative and relatively new. Laser lipolysis by Emerald Laser is the first FDA-approved laser lipolysis process.

Body Contouring as a Business

This business is a subcategory of the broader medical aesthetics industry, and it bears many similarities to the broader field at large. A medical degree is not required to work in the body contouring business, and there are plenty of technical and supporting roles for even the specifically doctor-performed components of this industry. These include positions as nurses, surgical technicians, and anesthesia technicians, as well as the standard positions associated with any sort of business. There are individuals specializing in advertising, business, and, more specifically, the medical aesthetics industry.

More and more body contouring procedures are being performed in more casual and less medical environments. What was previously only done in hospitals is now being done in ordinary doctor’s offices, and what was previously only done in doctor’s offices is now being done in spa-like facilities. The rise of medspas and beauty bars is indicative of the future of the medical aesthetics industry as a whole and body contouring specifically.

People are generally uncomfortable with excessively “medical” environments. People tend to associate medicine with being ill or otherwise unwell. The body contouring business is trying to divorce itself from this reputation by making its procedures available in more appealing locations. With this shift in focus, the body contouring industry is expanding into less traditional spaces that are less medical in nature.

Entering the body contouring business still requires considerable expertise as well as a certain amount of medical background that is impossible to divorce from the field. However, this does not mean that you cannot enter the business in another way, as a provider.

Emerald Laser

For the latest and greatest in laser lipolysis technology contact Emerald Laser, and they will get you in touch with a certified provider!