We can all agree that liposuction is a widely popular cosmetic procedure for reshaping and contouring the body.
Most commonly, it is used to eliminate undesired fat deposits from areas such as the flanks, abs, thighs, hips and chin.
However, not everyone that wants to shape or enhance their figure wants to undergo liposuction. Right?
Besides being a relatively costly procedure, traditional liposuction is highly invasive. As a result, more and more people are choosing minimally-invasive liposuction and non-surgical liposuction alternatives, such as the popular CoolSculpting treatment, over traditional liposuction.
If you’re looking to get rid of small pockets of fat, non-surgical liposuction alternatives will allow you to experience somewhat similar benefits as traditional liposuction without the unnecessary effects associated with its surgical counterpart including:
- No incisions
- No scars
- No pain
- No recover period
Note that non-surgical liposuction alternatives do not offer immediate dramatic results like traditional or minimally invasive liposuction. It generally requires up to 8 sessions scheduled over a period of time. Results can be noticed between treatments and continue to improve over the following 4 to 12 weeks.
What Is Non-Surgical Liposuction?
It is important to note that there is no such thing as non-surgical liposuction.
As mentioned in our other article titled “Types of liposuction”, all liposuction techniques utilize some kind of thin hollow tube – called a cannula — that is inserted through an incision in your skin to suction out the fat.
Since incision and surgery is one and the same, the term non-surgical liposuction is considered by some as an oxymoron and should instead be replaced with either the term “non-surgical liposuction alternatives” or just “liposuction alternatives.”
Non-surgical liposuction alternatives could also be replaced with non-traumatic liposuction because the latter eliminates the most traumatic part associated with traditional liposuction.
A typical liposuction procedure involves two key processes:
- Making the fat loose
- Suctioning the fat out of the body
The fat loosening process is the part that causes most of the trauma and complications in traditional liposuction procedures because the fat is manually or mechanically loosened before being suctioned by the cannula inserted via an incision in the skin.
Because this method involves moving the cannula back and forth to mechanically break up the fat cells, it can cause higher risk of tissue, nerve and blood vessel damage, which result in bruising and prolonged, painful recoveries.
Consequently, most non-invasive liposuction alternatives are less traumatic. They consist of devices that use highly innovative ways to dissolve or destroy fat cells. Some treatments claim to improve skin laxity (sagging skin) and several prevent tissue and blood vessel damage.
How Do Non-Surgical Alternatives Work?
In a nutshell, non-surgical liposuction alternatives aim to heat or freeze fat cells in order to destroy or dissolve them.
Treatments are applied directly to the skin over the region being treated to target the fat cells beneath your skin.
The dissolved or destroyed fat cells are then eliminated from your body via your body’s own mechanisms of eliminating waste and metabolizing fatty compounds—mostly via the lymphatic system.
In some instances, a bit of cardio exercises following treatment is recommended to boost the elimination of fat. In most cases, you can get right back to work afterwards and expect to feel comfortable.
These treatments don’t require anesthesia, meaning the recovery time is minimal if any at all. The procedures can be completed in as little as 30 minutes or during your lunch break.
Are You A Candidate For Non-Surgical Liposuction Alternatives?
Unlike traditional liposuction, non-surgical liposuction alternatives are fairly safe. The risks vary depending on the treatment type. Consult with your cosmetic doctor for specific risks details for the specific device used in his practice.
Typically, you are an ideal candidate if you have unwanted fat in areas of your body such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, chin or any other region of your body that requires improvement through reshaping.
Ideally, you are physically fit, emotionally healthy and in good overall health.
Benefits of Non-Surgical Liposuction Alternatives
- Completely non-surgical fat removal techniques
- No downtime
- No pain or recovery period
- No anesthesia
- Incredibly affordable
Non-Surgical Liposuction Alternatives
Procedures commonly classified as non-invasive liposuction include:
Zerona, Thermage, SmoothShapes, Liposonix, Accent ultra, Med Contour, UltraShape, VaserShape, Exilis, Lipo Ex, Tripollar, Trilipo Maximus, Velashape II, Venus Freeze, VelaSmooth, i-Lipo, i-Lipo Ultra, 3D-Lipo, i-Slim Lipo, Strawberry Laser Lipo, M.E.L.T Laser Lipo, LipoLight, CoolSculpting, Vanquish, Endermologie, and Mesotherapy (including LipoDissolve).
When choosing a non-surgical liposuction alternative for your next aesthetic enhancement, be sure to research the different types available prior to making your choice. Or better yet, conduct research on the cosmetic doctor you’re thinking of using for your procedure because ultimately, it is the skill and experience of your cosmetic doctor that will determine the safety and effectiveness of any technique.
Kevin Earl, MD
Kevin Earl, MD is a board certified physician and graduated from Arkansas Tech University Magna Cum Laude.
Dr. Earl specializes in non-invasive and minimally invasive anti-aging and body contouring procedures.
His practice, EARLMD in Bentonville, AR, is a patient-centered medical aesthetic practice that uses the latest technology and medical advances to rejuvenate your skin and restore your body to a more youthful appearance.