How is nonsurgical fat reduction performed, and what are my options?
Nonsurgical fat reduction is an outpatient procedure. There are currently two types of devices used for nonsurgical fat removal: ultrasound and cold energy (cryolipolysis). Your board-certified plastic surgeon will determine what is best for you based on their experience, your body type, and your aesthetic goals.
This treatment uses ultrasound energy to injure fat cells without damaging the surrounding skin and tissue. Your body then naturally absorbs the damaged fat.
- Your surgeon will mark your treatment areas and apply a thin layer of gel to your skin.
- The surgeon then uses an ultrasound transducer to treat the area. The device emits focused ultrasound energy that injures fat, and your body then slowly absorbs the damaged fat.
- Your surgeon may treat the same area more than once.
- Your session may last anywhere from a half-hour to several hours, depending on the number of areas being treated.
- You may need multiple treatments to achieve your desired results.
Cryolipolysis (also known as "fat freezing")
This treatment disrupts fat using a form of controlled frostbite. Research has shown that during frostbite, fat cells freeze before skin freezes. Cryolipolysis works in the same way, freezing fat but not your skin. The “frozen fat” dies, and your body absorbs it over time.
- Your surgeon will mark your treatment areas.
- The surgeon then uses a device that sucks the fatty area up into the handpiece between two metal plates and slowly cools the area.
- Current treatment guidelines are one hour per site to sufficiently “freeze” the fat.
- You may need more than one treatment depending upon the amount of fat you wish to eliminate.
*Patient safety warning* Injection Lipolysis (also known as mesotherapy) using non-FDA approved methods is an unsafe and unacceptable fat reduction option. The Aesthetic Society does not endorse these injections as practiced in mesotherapy/lipodissolve treatments because there is insufficient proof of their safety and efficacy. Unlicensed individuals often offer these injections, and you should avoid them. Fortunately, there are now several other non-invasive treatments that have met the standards for safety and effectiveness. Always consult with a board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon if you are considering a fat reduction procedure so you can minimize your potential risks.
What are the brand names for nonsurgical fat reduction?
Your surgeon may use one or a combination of the following devices, depending on your skin type, the amount of fat, the size and location of the treatment area, and the treatment timing.