Surgery is a better option when the patient desires a more dramatic body sculpting, he or she has significant loose or sagging skin, prefers to undergo a procedure only once to achieve a good result, or if he/she would like to enhance, rather than reduce, the size of an area.
However, non-surgical fat reduction is a new approach for removing excess, unwanted fat without an invasive surgery. It is a safe and effective technique that can help patients in getting rid of love handles, bulging tummy and other places where stubborn fat is located. Non-invasive fat reduction has gained popularity amongst patients who want to reduce fat but do not wish to go under the knife. It destroys fat cells within a targeted area of the body using various techniques. Without making an incision, the surgeon can permanently remove a pocket of unwanted fat. Non-surgical fat removal can be used on any part of the body. A number of treatments are available, each achieving gradual, modest fat loss without surgery or downtime. Some of these are minimally invasive while some are completely non-invasive.
Globally, cryolipolysis, laser fat reduction, ultrasound, radio frequency-based treatments and injectables based treatments are seen as effective options for non-surgical fat reduction methods.
Non-invasive fat reduction has numerous advantages such as:
- No downtime. Patients can resume their normal routine immediately after the sessions.
- No need for general or local anaesthesia to carry out the procedure.
- Long-lasting results if patient maintains a healthy lifestyle.
- Effective method for fat reduction.
- No incision and no stitches.
a. Cryolipolysis (CoolSculpting®)
Cryolipolysis is a noninvasive technology that uses extreme cold to dismantle fat cells and help reduce a fat pocket. A panelled or cupped device is placed on top of the skin in the treatment area, where it transmits temperatures that are just low enough to freeze fat cells, essentially destroying them. Because skin, muscle and nerve tissue freeze at a lower temperature than fat, these tissues remain unharmed. CoolSculpting is the brand name of cryolipolysis.
Sites recommended are abdomen, hips, inner or outer thighs, back (“bra rolls”), upper arms, under the buttock, and under the chin. It is best for patients who wish to reduce the size of a fat bulge with a little reshaping. Up to 25% fat reduction per treatment is typical. Treatments take 35 to 60 minutes to perform; any discomfort is typically mild and includes an intense cold feeling. Typical patient is satisfied after 1 to 2 treatments. Results are noticeable within 1 month and final after 2-3 months. Results last long barring significant weight gain.
b. Laser Treatment (SculpSure®)
Laser fat reduction works by dismantling subcutaneous fat using controlled heat. A specific laser wavelength is delivered through the skin, heating fatty tissues to the point where fat cells begin to break down. A constant cooling mechanism ensures that skin is not damaged in the process. SculpSure is the brand name of this non-invasive laser technology.
c. Injectable Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella®)
Deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body that helps break down fat for digestion. In injectable form, deoxycholic acid can break down fat cells on contact for isolated reduction of a fat pocket. Currently, Kybella is an approved form of injectable deoxycholic acid, and can be used to effectively reduce a double chin. Injections take about 20 minutes to perform; local anaesthetic may be used to enhance comfort. Little to no downtime is required; most patients return to full activity within 2 days. The typical patient requires 2 to 4 treatments, spaced 1 month apart, for optimal results. Fat cells destroyed with Kybella do not return, and results should last barring significant weight gain.
d. Ultrasound Fat Reduction
Ultrasound fat reduction uses highly focused sonic waves to break down fat cell walls in the treatment area, thereby releasing the fat inside to be metabolized by the body and reducing the size of a fat deposit. The ultrasound energy transmits through the skin, creating rapid pressure changes that cause the fat cells to break down while leaving surrounding tissues unharmed. Ultrasound is non-invasive and no downtime is needed. Typical patient requires 1 to 3 treatments spaced 2 weeks apart, depending on treatment. Results appear gradually and are typically final within 6 to 12 weeks. Destroyed fat cells do not grow back; results can last with weight maintenance.
e. Red Light Therapy (UltraSlim)
One of the newest technologies to be FDA approved for non-surgical fat reduction uses red light therapy to reduce the volume of subcutaneous fat cells. Instead of removing or destroying fat cells, photonic lypolysis, or “red light therapy,” delivers specific wavelengths of light through the skin using a specialized lamp. This light triggers selected fat cells to create small openings and release some of their contents, thus helping them shrink in size.