What is non-surgical fat reduction?
You want to reduce your body fat and have tried hitting the gym hard, cutting down on your calorie intake, all to no avail. The only option you see is liposuction. But even thinking about having pipes inserted into your body to loosen-up and suck-out excess fat is painful. You wonder if there is a less painful way to get this done.
Don’t worry. Fairly recent advances in technology have helped create multiple non-invasive alternatives to liposuction. There techniques are not non-invasive methods of liposuction as liposuction, by definition, requires fat to be sucked out of the body which cannot be done without at least a small incision. However, the methods that are available are non-surgical solutions for fat reduction which help to break down stubborn pockets of fat in the body that do not otherwise respond easily to dietary changes and exercise.
Let’s go through these non-surgical fat reduction techniques one at a time.
# 1. Laser fat reduction:
This technique uses low intensity laser light to targeted areas to stimulate collagen production. Collagen is one of the most widespread proteins found throughout the human body and helps provide structure, tone and texture to the skin. The subsequent increase in collagen production can help tighten the skin. The beauty of this technique is that the laser waves are able to deliver the right amount of energy at the right level of skin tissue where collagen production actually occurs. This helps unnecessarily heat-up and damage the external layers of skin.
It is also believed that this low-intensity laser energy helps break up fat cells in addition to stimulating collagen production but this is secondary in importance to and less predictable than the increase collagen production. Unlike for other non-invasive methods of fat reduction, results of laser fat reduction can appear within several weeks or even less.
# 2. Radiofrequency fat reduction:
This technique is relatively new and uses radiofrequency waves to deliver a controlled amount of energy to subcutaneous tissue (layers under the surface of the skin) in order to coagulate blood vessels and dissolve fat. This process allows for precise targeting and can therefore be used on large areas like the abdomen down to small areas like the chin but it is commonly used on the hips, thighs, buttocks and abdomen. This treatment requires multiple sessions although results can be noticeable after just 2-3 sessions of treatment. Each treatment session typically lasts about an hour.
# 3. Ultrasound fat cavitation:
Also known as “cavi-lipo”, the technique uses low frequency ultrasound waves to cause mechanical vibrations within subcutaneous fat cells in the body eventually causing their external cell membranes of walls to break and the triglycerides within the cells to spill out. The triglycerides are in liquid form and therefore easily processed by the liver and drained out from the body by the lymphatic system. This technique is most commonly used to remove excess fat in the belly, back, buttocks and thighs but can also be used to target fat in the upper arms where stubborn fat deposits are common. The therapy requires around 6-12 treatment sessions to take noticeable effect with each session lasting from anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour.
# 4. Cryolipolysis fat reduction:
Popularly known as “Coolsculpting”, this technique cools the subcutaneous layers of the skin in a controlled manner to cause necrosis or death of the fat cells underneath the skin. The targeted fat cells are essentially frozen which cause them to die and these dead cell debris is then later removed by the body’s lymphatic system. The technique has been safely performed more than 6 million times, globally, and found to be safe; it does not cause death of non-fat cells or tissue and can provide lasting results. Coolsculpting therapy usually requires 2-3 treatment sessions in each targeted area but final results can take up to 3 months to appear as the process of cell death and removal is a slow one.
What you should note about non-surgical fat reduction techniques
While each of the above techniques can help reduce fat and tighten the skin, it must be remembered that they cannot help make a significant dent if weight reduction is your main objective as they only reduce some of the fat in the targeted areas and, simultaneously, help tighten the skin in these areas. Most non-surgical fat reduction techniques remove only around 20-25% of the fat in the targeted area. Hence, the primary purpose of these techniques is to improve tone and shape rather than to help you reduce weight.
It is also important to note that maintenance of the results of these non-surgical fat reduction techniques is highly dependent on your ability to maintain your body weight after the treatment. If you experience significant weight gain after the treatment, the results of the treatment will no longer be noticeable as new fat cells will accumulate in the same areas where fat cells were removed through the therapy, thereby eventually negating the impact of the therapy.
What makes you a good candidate for non-surgical fat reduction techniques?
- You are at or near your ideal bodyweight and just want to improve the shape and tone of select body parts
- You have select, isolated pockets of fat in your body which do not seem to go away with changes in your diet and ample exercise
- You are willing to take appropriate lifestyle measures to maintain your body weight after the treatment to ensure that the results of the treatment are sustained.