Non-surgical fat reduction has increased in popularity in the UK, with tens of thousands of women and men having the treatment. Men form an increasingly higher percentage of patients each year. Non-surgical fat reduction is seen as a non-invasive alternative to surgical liposuction. Many patients ask us if the treatment works. Here we discuss the pros and cons of nonsurgical fat reduction vs liposuction.
Non-surgical fat reduction is often known as non-surgical liposuction, but in reality, it does not involve any liposuction at all. Liposuction is a minimally invasive body contouring procedure designed to remove areas of excess fat from unwanted body parts, such as the abdomen, hips or thighs. The surgeon makes small incisions to permit the insertion of a liposuction cannula. The cannula gently breaks up the fat cells before sucking them out, assisted with vacuum suction. This leads to a permanent reduction in the level of fat cells in a treated area. Liposuction can be used for both smaller and larger areas involving significant amounts of excess stubborn fat. Liposuction requires only one treatment to achieve permanent long-term results, provided patients maintain stable body weight. Although liposuction is a surgical procedure, the recovery period after the procedure is quick and smooth, with minimal risk of complications.
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Non-surgical liposuction can involve several different technologies involving laser, RF, cryolipolysis or ultrasound. The principle of non-surgical fat reduction is to melt or destroy fat cells, which are then naturally eliminated from the body without the incisions or scars of liposuction surgery. Another non-invasive fat removal form involves using chemical injections involving deoxycholic acid (Aqualyx, Belkyra or Lipodissolve). These injections act to destroy fat however, there are several key downsides of this form of treatment. The treatments can be very painful, and many treatment sessions are required, significantly adding to the overall treatment cost. It is also very difficult to precisely control the spread of the injections. This lack of control can also lead to a high risk of skin irregularities. We do not use chemical injections of any form for fat removal at Centre for Surgery.
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There is usually no recovery period after non-surgical liposuction, although the technique cannot be used to treat significant areas of fatty deposits. Non-surgical fat reduction is limited to treating small well-localised areas that do not shift despite diet and exercise or for patients who may be medically unfit for surgery. Getting the best results means having several treatment sessions spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart.
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What are the pros and cons of non-surgical fat reduction?
Nonsurgical fat reduction does not involve the potential risks of invasive surgery, as no incisions are made. There is, therefore, no recovery time with little or no swelling and discomfort after the procedure. Patients are not exposed to developing post-operative wound infection which is a recognised risk of surgery. There is minimal pre-procedure preparation required, with most patients being able to have the treatment on their lunch break before returning to work immediately.
Although the benefits can be attractive to many patients, the non-surgical fat reduction technique has certain limitations. Patients may require several treatments spaced over several weeks, and a treatment course can take many months to complete. All types of non-surgical fat reduction involve applying an external applicator to the skin, and it can be challenging to target the precise areas of fat needing reduction. Some patients may have fat in difficult-to-access areas or may have significant scar tissue, limiting the potential results achievable from treatment. Unlike liposuction, where results can be assessed during the procedure, the surgeon cannot visualise where fat removal has occurred with non-surgical methods and must wait for multiple treatment sessions to assess the results. Results achievable with non-surgical liposuction are not as dramatic compared with liposuction surgery. They are not an effective treatment for people who need moderate to large amounts of fat removed.
Why do Centre for Surgery recommend liposuction for the best results?
Liposuction, when performed by an expert consultant plastic surgeon, is a highly effective procedure and allows the surgeon to sculpt and contour the body with superior accuracy and precision compared with non-invasive fat reduction. Newer radio-frequency assisted procedures such as BodyTite allow the surgeon to both remove fat and tighten the skin without the scars of excess skin removal surgery such as a tummy tuck.
Non-surgical fat production can be a useful alternative for people who simply need a little extra help for reducing the prominence of small and well-localised areas of the body, such as the lower abdomen or the upper arms and are not keen on the idea of a surgical procedure. Centre for Surgery offers laser fat reduction, for the effective treatment of fat deposits without the incisions and scars of surgery.
With non-invasive body contouring methods such as CoolSculpting®, the achievable results do not match those possible with properly performed surgical liposuction. If you are looking for nothing more than a very subtle result after many sessions, then CoolSculpting may work. Anything more than that and the chances of disappointment are very high, not to mention the substantial costs of undergoing multiple treatment sessions. Laser fat reduction is an excellent alternative to CoolSculpting and can achieve better results for appropriately selected patients. Our surgeons regularly consult with patients who have previously had multiple sessions of non-surgical liposuction elsewhere using CoolSculpting and have often noticed little or no difference in their body shape. Liposuction alternatives do exist, although we would recommend surgical liposuction for substantial areas of fat reduction. This is because this technique is more effective at removing fat cells, tightening the skin, and changing the shape compared with other liposuction alternatives. Non-surgical methods are not recommended if you are looking for significant visible results.
As a results-based practice, Liposuction at Centre for Surgery in London is a one-time and done procedure that allows our surgeons to sculpt and refine the body contours through the targeted removal of body fat to achieve results that are well beyond those achieved with non-surgical methods.
If you would like to schedule a consultation and learn about the benefits of liposuction vs non-surgical fat reduction, call us today on 020 7993 4849 or complete the contact form below. Our state-of-the-art Baker Street clinic in Marylebone is renowned for being the top place for liposuction in the UK, with hundreds of patients having a procedure each year.