Ridding your body of excess fat in all the wrong places gets easier every day. Liposuction is still the treatment of choice if you want striking and dramatic results without the wait.
There are other options, too. Noninvasive fat reduction is a safe and effective alternative to liposuction. It involves no surgery, no downtime, and you won’t feel like you were hit by a bus.
What Is Noninvasive Fat Reduction?
Nonsurgical fat reduction incorporates treatment modalities like ultrasound, radio frequency, infrared light and vacuum massage. Noninvasive treatments are performed by a dermatologist to remove smaller fat pockets from anywhere on the body. A handheld device or a syringe is then used to target and banish fat cells permanently.
The handheld device is positioned on or just above the skin. It delivers cold, heat or sound waves directly into fat cells without damaging the surrounding tissues or affecting other parts of the body. Incisions are not necessary.
The shots deliver an acid that’s similar to bile, and the acid dissolves the fat cells. This procedure has been approved by the FDA for use in treating a double chin.
Liposuction is the treatment of choice for body fat in the wrong places. When performed by an experienced cosmetic surgeon, liposuction is an effective and adaptable solution for fat that won’t let go.
This is an appropriate treatment for excess body fat removal in those with an otherwise stable body weight. Liposuction is ideal for removing larger fat pockets. For smaller areas, one of the nonsurgical fat reduction options may solve the problem without surgery.
Is Noninvasive Fat Reduction Safer Than Liposuction?
Noninvasive fat reduction is not a surgical procedure, so it’s less risky than liposuction. Although it delivers reliable results overall, it can sometimes cause skin irregularities like lumps and discolorations.
The results are less striking than those obtained with liposuction. The effects are subtle, and it takes a few weeks before you can clearly see the changes.
Does Fat Cell Removal Cause Weight Loss?
We are all born with a limited number of fat cells. Whether you gain weight or lose it, your total fat cells will remain constant. Fat removed during liposuction and noninvasive fat reduction is gone for good. Like brain cells, fat cells don’t grow back,
The number of fat cells in your body does not determine whether or not you are fat. Instead, when you gain weight, existing fat cells expand and get plump. That, in turn, makes you look heavier.
When you lose weight, the same fat cells shrink. The shrunken cells make you look smaller. Weight loss can reduce the volume of fat cells in the body, but it won’t make fat cells go away.
Noninvasive fat reduction removes some fat cells, but not all. Whenever you gain weight, your fat cells will expand, and you’ll look heavier. However, the treated areas will have less fat than the untreated areas.
Weight Loss Programs Versus Fat Removal Treatments
Liposuction and noninvasive fat cell reduction are not long-term weight loss solutions. Rather, these treatments are used to fine-tune, tweak and enhance the results of an ongoing weight management program.
Noninvasive fat cell reduction won’t remove large pockets of fat. However, it’s an effective way to eliminate small, stubborn areas that persist in spite of a healthy diet and regular workouts. It can also be used with patients who can’t tolerate surgery.
Overweight and obese patients will derive more benefit from a long-term weight loss program than from fat cell removal. A bariatric procedure like gastric bypass surgery can give you the results you want without the liposuction.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
Most patients need at least two sessions to achieve optimal results. An experienced dermatologist can achieve a high degree of accurate fat reduction with virtually no complications after treatment. Each session can take from 30 to 90 minutes or more.
There are five nonsurgical fat reduction procedures:
- CoolSculpting (cryolipolysis) destroys fat cells by freezing them. Two sessions are usually required.
- Kybella (lipolysis) liquefies fat using sound waves and ultrasound therapy. Up to three sessions may be necessary.
- Vanquish (radiofrequency lipolysis) increases the skin temperature at deeper levels without epidermal or dermal ablation. State-of-the-art radio frequency technology breaks down fat on the belly, arms and thighs.
- SculpSure (laser lipolysis) uses laser energy to heat and disrupt fat cells without affecting the surrounding tissue.
- Fat removal injections dissolve excessive fat beneath the chin. Treatment involves two sessions six to eight weeks apart.
The results of noninvasive fat reduction appear slowly. Treatment with a device can produce results in a few weeks. However, it could take up to six months before the effects are fully visible. If you receive injections to reduce double chin fat, it can take up to four months before you see a difference.
You might have minor swelling, bruising or discomfort in the treated area. Some patients experience transient burning or stinging. It’s similar to the pins-and-needles sensation you get when your foot falls asleep.
Patients receiving fat reduction injections for a double chin may develop pronounced swelling in the area under the chin for up to two weeks. The skin can feel lumpy or hard, but downtime is rarely necessary.
Noninvasive Fat Removal Advantages vs. Disadvantages
- No surgery
- No downtime
- Less expensive than liposuction
- Little bruising, swelling or pain
- Complications are unlikely
- Fat reduction occurs slowly over weeks or months
- Several treatments may be required for optimal results
- Access to fat cells may be limited
- Modifications may be necessary as treatment progresses
- Doesn’t remove large sections of fat