Lipo Alternative: How to Lose Fat Without Liposuction?Body Plastic Surgery
Liposuction is a kind of body plastic surgery through which the unwanted fat pockets are melted by laser beams, vibration, or ultrasound waves, and the fat cells are then drained out of the body by a suctioning device or a needle. Although this surgery is an effective way of contouring the body, many people prefer nonsurgical treatments to remove their body fat as they have less pain and side effects. In this article, we introduce the alternatives to liposuction surgery and enumerate the pros and cons of each method.
Liposuction Vs. Nonsurgical Fat Reduction
Liposuction differs from nonsurgical fat reduction methods in terms of its level of invasiveness, results, pre-op requirements, and duration of the recovery period. Learn the main differences between lipo surgery and nonsurgical body contouring methods.
Standard liposuction is an invasive procedure and is mainly done under general anesthesia. This operation involves weeks of scarring, pain, bruising, swelling, and bleeding. On the other hand, nonsurgical methods are usually gentle and cause minimal discomfort during and after the surgery. They are mostly performed under mild sedatives or topical anesthesia so the patient doesn’t face anesthesia complications.
Neither liposuction nor nonsurgical fat reduction techniques are considered a weight-loss procedure; however, liposuction results are dramatic and last longer. On the other hand, the outcome of nonsurgical methods is immediate, while the results of liposuction are visible once the swelling is subsided, i.e., 3 to 6 months after the surgery.
Since standard liposuction is done under general anesthesia, the patient must have good general health and doesn’t have drug allergies. But this isn’t necessary for nonsurgical fat reduction methods as they are done under topical or local anesthesia. However, some requirements are mutual between these methods, including:
- Having good, elastic skin;
- Being a nonsmoker;
- Being mentally healthy;
- Having localized fat pockets that do not go away by exercising and going on a diet;
- Having moderate cellulitis;
- Having no intention of getting pregnant in the future;
- Having a stable, healthy BMI.
The recovery time of liposuction ranges between two to six weeks and involves moderate pain, swelling, and bruising. During this time, the patients have movement restrictions and cannot exercise until their wounds are completely healed. In nonsurgical body contouring techniques, on the other hand, the patients can get back to work a couple of days after the procedure. They can resume their daily exercises a week after the surgery. Notably, drinking alcohol, smoking, strenuous activities, and taking herbal medicines are prohibited after all invasive and noninvasive fat reduction methods.
What Are the Alternatives to Liposuction?
Standard liposuction is mostly performed for those with a large fat volume and expects a great shift in their appearance after the procedure. However, if the patient has an insignificant amount of stubborn fat, the following less-invasive fat reduction methods suit them.
CoolSculpting is a proper technique for people near their ideal weight but with a small volume of fat on specific parts of their body, such as the lower abdomen, thighs, hips, under the chin, and arms. The plastic surgeon freezes the fat cells in a cryolipolysis device without damaging the surrounding tissues and nerves. The frozen (and dead) fat cells are then processed by the lymphatic system and flushed out of the body during the next months after the surgery. Although this method is non-invasive and takes only 60 to 0 minutes, its results are revealed gradually within three to six months.
TruSculpt is another liposuction alternative in which low-level radiofrequency energy is transmitted to the fat cells to destroy them. The lymphatic system removes the melted fat cells from the body as waste. This technique, which takes almost one hour, is mainly suitable for reducing fat from hips, thighs, belly, and buttocks. Most patients require two or three sessions of truScuplt to lose a significant amount of fat.
BodyTite is a minimally invasive operation that involves local anesthesia and a tiny incision on the less visible part of the functional area. In this method, the surgeon makes a three to five-millimeter cut on the skin and inserts an ultrasound probe into the body. This probe emits thermal energy to melt the fat cells and strengthens collagen proteins below the skin’s surface. Meantime, the doctor moves an external radiofrequency applicator on the skin to stimulate collagen production and tighten the saggy skin.
This method is useful for those with moderate fat volume and loose skin. The patients can get back to work a couple of days after the operation and usually see the actual results of their surgery two or three weeks following the procedure.
SmartLipo, also known as laser liposuction, is a new technique that can be used for both face and the body. In this technique, the surgeon uses laser devices to melt the fat cells without damaging the surrounding tissues and vessels. Then, a small incision is made on the skin, and a narrow tube is inserted into the operated area to drain the excessive liquids. This method is appropriate if you have stubborn fat in your waistline, abdomen, back, thighs, chin, jaw, neck, upper arms, and buttocks. The recovery of laser liposuction is 7 to 10 days, and its results can be seen a few days after the procedure.
ScuplSure is a combination of laser liposuction and CoolSculpting. The surgeon emits laser energy on fat cells in this novel treatment through four applicators. Unlike CoolSculpting, the fat cells are not frozen in this method but are killed by heat. Then, the dead fat cells are removed from the body as waste. This method is suitable for all skin types but benefits those close to their ideal weight more.
If the volume of the fat deposit is insignificant, the surgeon injects deoxycholic acid to break the bonds between the fat cells and destroy them. Deoxycholic acid is available in several brands, including Kybella, Aqualyx, and Lipodissolve. Although injection lipolysis is a practical liposuction alternative, it is sometimes painful and requires 3 to 4 treatment sessions. Also, it needs to be considered a proper procedure and may spread beyond the main intended site.
Other ultrasound-base treatments
In addition to the mentioned alternatives to liposuction, other ultrasound-based techniques are similar but slightly differ. Methods such as Vanquish, ultraShape, and Liposonix use radiofrequency waves to destroy fat pockets and reduce your size up to 4 inches.
Nonsurgical Fat Reduction Pros and Cons
Nonsurgical fat reduction methods are usually preferred to standard liposuction due to the following reasons:
- They have no or short recovery time. Nonsurgical body contouring methods are noninvasive and have a short recovery time (usually two or three days) with minimum discomfort.
- They have no or minimal scars. Although liposuction scars are barely visible, nonsurgical techniques do not have those scars either. In minimally invasive body sculptings methods, such as bodyTite and laser liposuction, where small incisions are made to insert a probe or tube, the surgeon stitches the cuts so delicately that they are almost invisible.
- They have no risk and few complications. Since these methods are non-surgical and do not involve anesthesia and large incisions, they mostly have a few side effects that go away a couple of weeks following the surgery.
- They are suitable for all body types. No matter your skin type or how healthy you are, you can always count on nonsurgical fat reduction methods as they have minor complications and do not affect your general health to a great extent.
- They have zero chance of infection. Infection is a life-threatening complication of liposuction because this surgery involves cuts and wounds. However, all alternatives to liposuction are safe and have almost zero chance of infection.
- Their results are immediate. You can see the results of your nonsurgical body contouring right after the operation. Although the outcomes are revealed 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery (when the fat cells are flushed out and the swelling is subsided), you can enjoy your new body shape immediately after the operation.
On the other hand, alternatives to liposuction have some drawbacks too, such as:
They have less dramatic effects and are not suitable for the ones with large volumes of stubborn fat;
- Due to the uneven reduction of fat, lumps and bumps may develop on the skin;
- The results are not permanent, and the operations must be repeated every 5 to 10 years;
- The skin of the operated area may get red, sensitive to touch, itchy, or numb for a couple of weeks;
- They are mostly novel treatments and require two or more sessions; and
- They are less practical for difficult body parts such as the chin or inner thigh.
What Is the Best Alternative to Liposuction?
Based on the findings of numerous plastic surgeons, bodyTite is the best alternative to liposuction because it removes excess fats from the body, tightens the skin, and makes the body look younger. Although this technique involves small incisions, it is mostly pain-free and has a short, comfortable recovery period.
Should I Get Liposuction or a Nonsurgical Fat Reduction Operation?
The results of nonsurgical fat reduction are mild and usually last for a shorter period. Therefore, lipo surgery is a better option if you have large fat deposits or seek a permanent solution to your stubborn fats. On the other hand, if you want a change in your body but you are low on budget, nonsurgical body contouring techniques are more proper for you because they mostly cost less than liposuction (they are done under local and topical anesthesia) and require less pre- and post-op medications and medical evaluations.
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FAQs About Liposuction Alternatives
1) Are liposuction alternatives accurate?
As nonsurgical fat reduction techniques are done externally, they are less accurate than liposuction surgery. Therefore, you should expect a moderate fat reduction in areas surrounding the actual surgical site.
2) How long do the results of nonsurgical fat reduction last?
If you maintain a steady weight and have a regular exercise routine, the results of noninvasive body contouring can last up to 10 years.
3) Can I get a nonsurgical fat reduction when I’m breastfeeding?
Getting all types of liposuction alternatives is prohibited during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
4) What is the best nonsurgical technique to lose belly fat?
CoolSculpting, SculpSure, and bodyTite are the best techniques to eliminate belly fat.