A lot of us struggle with weight, and conventional knowledge says we can trim down by limiting calories and exercising regularly. But sometimes, we need help with those final fat pockets. In the past, plastic surgery was the solution of choice. Today, there are other options.
Non-invasive fat removal isn’t cheap, but it’s significantly more affordable than surgery. It’s safer too. Treatment generally takes less than an hour, and you don’t have to be unconscious or anaesthetised. Techniques rely on some form of lipolysis, meaning the end goal is to kill fat cells.
This is more effective than exercise, which simply ‘empties’ fat cells of their stored fat deposits. By killing fat cells and excreting them, you limit the patient’s potential to gain more weight, because you’ve reduced their ‘fat storage space’. Some methods work by killing the fat cells completely, while others just damage them beyond repair, letting them die a ‘natural death’.
There’s a caveat though. Some patients look at these non-invasive options as a substitute for diet and exercise. But if you don’t begin and maintain healthy eating habits, the fat will eventually pile back on. Yes, your fat reduction is permanent, but it can still be reversed if you stay sedentary and eat junk food, so consider a lifestyle change before you shell out any cash.
Comparing non-invasive fat removal methods
If you lack the self-control to lose fat by diet, exercise, or surgery, you can opt for alternatives that use heat, extreme cold, lasers, vibration, or ultrasound radio frequencies to kill or destroy your fat cells. The dead or damaged cell are then treated like any other dead tissue in your body – they’re naturally absorbed and expelled from the body over a period of days or weeks.
This is the main reason why it takes a while to see the effects of these treatments – the dead cells have to exit your body and stop storing fat before you see any visible change in your body. Ordinarily, you’ll see a change after several months, though you’ll start to ‘feel’ the difference almost instantly. Let’s look at some of the most popular fat removal methods.
|Targets fat while increasing muscle||Targets fat only||Targets fat only|
|Works via supramaximal contraction||Works via cryolipolysis||Works via laser|
|Uses magnetic energy to kill fat cells while toning muscles||Uses icy temperatures via suction and cooling pads to ‘freeze’ fat cells||Uses extreme heat via laser to ‘melt’ fat cells|
|FDA approved for abs and buttocks||FDA approved for tummy, thighs, arms, chin, and fat rolls||FDA approved for back, thighs, chin, and ‘love handle’ fat rolls|
|Almost anyone can qualify for the procedure||Patients must have ‘enough fat to pinch’ in order to qualify||Patients need to be close to their ideal weight before they qualify|
|Requires at least 4 sessions of 30 minutes||Requires at least 3 sessions of 35 minutes||Requires at least 3 sessions of 25 minutes|
|No visible side effects, but may cause slight muscle soreness||May cause numbness, tingly skin, bruising, and tenderness||May cause swelling, stiffness, or bruising|
Laser lipo and other less popular options
While laser lipo (Athenix, SonoBello etc., which is not the same as the lasers used in SculpSure) is generally listed as a non-invasive option for fat reduction, it has a longer recovery time than other non-invasive methods. You may experience a little scarring, irritated skin, pain, and swelling. In extreme cases, you could get infected.
Laser lipo only needs one session, but it’s a 2 to 3 day recovery, and you may retain the bruises for several weeks. So while it’s better than surgical lipo, it’s not a good choice if you’re looking for something ‘non-invasive’. Other options include injectable Kybella (deoxycholic acid) to break down fat cells in double chins. There’s also red light therapy using a fat-burning lamp.
Red light therapy, sometimes called photonic lipo, uses specialised lights to ‘poke holes’ in the side of fat cells and make them ‘spill out their insides’. This essentially makes the fat cells smaller, so they can’t store as much fat. A session takes around thirty minutes. Brand names for photonic lipo include UltraSlim, while sonic lipo brands include Liposonix and UltraShape.