The abdomen and flanks are two areas of the body that are often difficult to target with diet and exercise alone, so the fact that Liposuction alternatives can now effectively treat both of these regions is great news for consumers who don’t like surgery intervention.
Multiple locations on the body tend to store fat more readily than others.
- Tummy or Abdomen
- Love Handles or Flanks/Obliques
- Double Chin
- Hips, Butt and Thighs
Most of the the liposuction alternatives target body fat using energy, typically delivered as heat or cold, to damage and shrink fat cells. The following are examples of nonsurgical methods to reduce body fat:
- Exposure to cold (cryolipolysis)
- Sound waves (ultrasound)
- Light waves (low-level laser)
- Radio waves (radiofrequency)
Most of the new technologies recently introduced for fat removal were developed based on this knowledge and, as a result, can target specific areas of body fat using energy delivered as either heat or cold.
There are basically two alternatives to traditional tumescent liposuction.
- Invasive “Adjuncts” to Liposuction.
- Non-invasive Body Contouring Devices.
1- Invasive “Adjuncts” to Liposuction
With any of the invasive “adjuncts”, the surgeon must still perform true liposuction to get results. Coollipo, Slimlipo, Smartlipo, Vaser and Prolipo are not actually non surgical alternatives, but are in fact often used to support and enhance surgical liposuction. After the tissues are tumesced, a cannula emitting ultrasonic energy is introduced into the tissues. This energy breaks up, or emulsifies the fat to assist in its removal. This is very effective in most areas, and is of greatest benefit in areas where the fat is very dense, such as in the chest or abdomen. After the fat is emulsified or broken up, it is removed with traditional suction cannulas, SAL. So people who believe that this is a stand-alone non invasive liposuction procedure need to know that this is a misconception. These methods use cannulas that produce heat, vibration, or ultrasound waves to help break up the fatty tissue and make liposuction potentially easier for the surgeon.
One of the most common adjuncts to liposuction is VASER:
When comparing this technique to standard liposuction with or without ultrasound, it is many surgeons observation that they see increased skin contraction and tightening. Additionally, many patients who came to us in Kualalumpur seem to have less downtime and post-operative pain. Because with this technique plastic surgeons can use smaller small probes and cannulas, which they have noticed smoother skin surface and body contour. and this image illustrates how it works:
However, a marketing claim associated with VASER has been to use the term “liposelection.” This term is meaningless, as in all liposuction cases the surgeon must be careful to determine which fat is selected for removal, and which fat should be left in place.
2- Non-invasive Body Contouring Devices.
These are devices that use heat, cold, or ultrasound from the outside of the skin to try and shrink fat. (Thermage, Cool Sculpting, Liposonix). These are best for patients with less fat to remove – as they can not take off large volumes.
The most common non-invasive body contouring device is ultrasound (Liposonix). It is a device that sends high frequency ultrasound waves beneath the surface of the skin focused at a depth of 1.3cm. It completely bypassed the surface of the skin. The Liposonix treatment is FDA-approved to permanently remove targeted fat in the abdomen and flank (love handles). The clinical trial showed an average reduction in waistline circumference of 1.5 -2 inches. The treatment is completed in just one office visit, and lasts about one hour. With little to no downtime or aftercare, you can resume your active lifestyle right away. Liposonix® is fat reduction that fits your busy lifestyle. Studies show that it can remove an inch from your waistline or hips. Not bad for a non-invasive procedure.
Cool sculpting: a method called Cryolipolysis™ that doesn’t burn, shatter or extract any cells. Developed by Harvard scientists, the unique, FDA-cleared, patented procedure uses a targeted cooling process that kills the fat cells underneath the skin, literally freezing them to the point of elimination. Only fat cells are frozen. Your healthy skin cells remain, well, healthy. No knives. No suction hoses. No needles. No scars. Once crystallized, the fat cells die and are naturally eliminated from your body.Unlike a lot of other procedures. The main down side is inner thighs, neck and arms cannot be used on these specific areas.
Lipodissolve (Mesotherapy) involves injecting chemicals to the fat cell layer. The chemical is thought to disrupt and stimulate absorption of fat cells. However, mesotherapy can be more painful and less effective than liposuction. It may take months for Mesotherapy to produce the same fat reducing effects of what is usually achieved two weeks after liposuction.
At present, in the United States, the FDA has not approved any substance for injection into the body for this purpose. Proponents of mesotherapy and lipodissolve have claimed that these substances are natural compounds that can be considered nutritional supplements, and thus not under FDA’s control, but, of course, nutritional supplements are taken by mouth, not injected.
Reasons to consider Non-invasive liposuction alternatives
- If you are taking blood thinners or have a contraindication for surgical procedures
- If you have Tomophobia which is a fear of surgery or surgical operations.
- If you prefer to have thin localized layer of fat removed
- Lasers bring increased collagen and elastin to the party. If you are too old, cells don’t have the capacity to make collagen and elastin. So this method might help.
Main downsides of non-invasive lipo treatment
- Results are not as close as tumescent liposuction.
- Risk of Burns
- Skin necrosis (dead skin)
- normally with tumescent liposuction 5 liters or 5000 cc of fat (11 lbs) per session which is the limit that should be done as an outpatient. with non-invasive it’s impossible to measure the amount of fat cells killed. But with the reported cases usually it’s from .5 to 1 liters of fat with Liposonix (and less than that with Coolsculpting)
Candidates who are not indicated for Non-invasive-laser liposuction:
- Have cardiac and vascular diseases
- Are pregnant or nursing
- Are going through chemotherapy
- Have liver or kidney disease
- Have a pacemaker
- Have metal plates in the treatment area
radiofrequency, cryolipolysis, and ultrasound are external devices, they only affect the surface of the fat layer and require multiple treatment sessions (typically four sessions) to produce the best results. These non-invasive procedures are not meant to replace tumescent liposuction for fat removal. Tumescent liposuction is a controlled, precise procedure, whereas the external devices require a “wait-and-see” approach in which the dermatologist will evaluate how the fat is responding. The candidates for tumescent liposuction often are not the same as candidates for an external fat reduction treatment.
“While these new, non-invasive technologies are good, they are simply not as effective in removing fat as an invasive procedure like liposuction,” said Dr. Donofrio. “It’s important for patients to remember that invasive treatments for fat removal are medical procedures that should be performed by a board-certified doctor who has education, training and expertise in this procedure, such as a dermatologist.”
SO WHICH LIPOSUCTION ALTERNATIVE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
There are many variables to consider when trying to answer this question. There is the amount of overall fat, the condition of the skin, your appetite for surgery, financial considerations and downtime. Most liposuction alternative procedures are great for reducing small amounts of fat. They cannot tighten skin nor perform body sculpting. They do have less downtime and are generally less expensive. They are a great choice for many patients who are close to their ideal body weight and have good skin.
A consultation with our client care can help you make the right choice! As we directly pass your medical team and to evaluate your enquiry and respond in the most relevant approach possible to suit your case.