Areas of unwanted, diet- and exercise-resistant fat are a common concern for many cosmetic surgery patients. Whether it comes in the form of a persistent stomach “pooch” after pregnancy, areas of fat around the thighs that won’t budge, or bulges along the flanks and back, localized fat can be difficult to get rid of permanently.
Liposuction has been one of the most popular and top performed cosmetic procedures for many years, with good reason. This surgical procedure safely, effectively, and permanently reduces fat and refines the body contour.
In recent years, nonsurgical or minimally invasive alternatives to liposuction have been gaining popularity. These body contouring treatments typically do not require an incision or anesthesia, and they often come with less downtime.
Read on to learn the difference between the two fat reduction approaches and discover which one might be right for you.
How do Non Invasive Treatments like Cool Sculpting®, Ultrasound Lipolysis and Other Procedures Work?
Nonsurgical fat reduction treatments use different modalities to target and eliminate unwanted fat cells through a topical, rather than surgical, procedure. Popular nonsurgical body contouring treatments include:
CoolSculpting is a good match for people who are close to their target weight, but want to reduce small, localized trouble spots on the hips, abdomen, or thighs. This treatment uses a specialized cryolipolysis device to cool unwanted fat cells to the point of death without affecting surrounding tissues. Once the fat cells die, they are flushed from the body during the days and weeks following the procedure. The final result is seen after three months.
Liposuction vs. Nonsurgical Fat Reduction: Pros & Cons
There are advantages and disadvantages to both liposuction and nonsurgical body contouring.
Liposuction is a more aggressive method of fat reduction and creates a trauma in the treatment area. Patients will experience soreness, bruising, and swelling for up to 10 days after the procedure. CoolSculpting and truSculpt treatments are typically gentle with minimal discomfort, both during and after treatment.
Liposuction results are visible after the swelling goes down and the treated area heals, although the final result is not seen for 6 months. It takes longer to see results from CoolSculpting and other noninvasive fat reduction treatments, which become increasingly noticeable in the weeks and months following the procedure. While neither liposuction or nonsurgical body contouring treatments are a replacement for weight loss, liposuction does offer more dramatic and longer-lasting results, in addition to some skin shrinkage.
The healing process after liposuction requires patients to restrict everyday activities for several days after the procedure and to use caution when restarting exercise. CoolSculpting and truSculpt do not require an extended healing period and patients can return to normal activities immediately, though slight soreness and swelling are to be expected. Though your results will be less noticeable with nonsurgical fat reduction, you will be able to return to work and get back to your life much sooner.
Which is Right for Me?
Liposuction may be an excellent option for reducing larger deposits of excess fat. It can significantly improve your figure in several areas at once. Some negatives include a higher cost and greater risk for health complications than noninvasive techniques.
Nonsurgical fat reduction may be a better fit if you are already at your ideal weight, have good skin elasticity, and want to target smaller, stubborn trouble spots. However, the results will not be as dramatic and multiple treatments may be necessary.