Summary: Most people can probably name at least one part of their body they wish were slimmer, firmer or smaller. While weight loss through diet and exercise is the most ideal way to address unwanted body fat, what if that’s not enough? Unfortunately, some stubborn fat pockets can often persist despite committed efforts to slim down with smart food choices and visits to the gym.
For years, liposuction has been the only way to remove fat that you can’t seem to lose on your own. These days, a number of med spas offer a full menu of non-invasive procedures that claim to effectively remove fat. But do these nonsurgical alternatives really work?
Lipo-dissolve is a nonsurgical procedure that uses a combination of injections into the treatment area. The manufacturers claim that the compound break down the cell walls of stubborn fat cells, causing the cells to collapse and the fat they store to be released. The body’s natural lymphatic process then delivers the fat and destroyed fat cells to the liver where they’re metabolized and excreted from the body. After one treatment, lipo-dissolve patients claim an average loss of an inch.
Proponents tout that this procedure is an effective way to eliminate fat from the body with no surgery, anesthesia or downtime. However, critics are concerned about possible liver or kidney damage that could occur as the body breaks down and processes the compounds in the injections and argue that these injections shouldn’t be used until they’re FDA-approved.
CoolSculpting® is an FDA-approved procedure that targets fatty deposits using a non-invasive cooling process designed to freeze and destroy the fat cells underneath the skin. After being crystallized, the destroyed fat cells are then slowly and naturally eliminated from the body over the next few months.
CoolSculpting® uses no knives or needles and is performed using a handheld device that goes directly on top of the skin. Each treatment session lasts about one hour and patients report a loss, on average, of about 20% of fat in the treatment area. While CoolSculpting® does show promise, the design of the handpiece limits the areas that can be effectively treated, so any potential benefits are somewhat limited as well.
The Liposonix® slogan boldly boasts, “1 Treatment, 1 Hour, 1 Size Smaller.” This procedure uses high-intensity ultrasound waves, a variation of the technology used to see babies inside the womb, to break down fat underneath the skin. After the fat is broken down by the ultrasonic energy, it is then eliminated over the next two to three months when final results are visible. Like lipo-dissolve injections, Liposonix ® users claim an average loss of only about one inch per treatment, so results may not be as dramatic as patients might wish.
Lipo: The Gold Standard
Visit their websites and you’ll see that all of the non-invasive lipo alternatives available today have patient success stories and impressive before and after photos to tout their effectiveness. For individuals who are unwilling or simply uninterested in surgical fat removal, the plethora of non-invasive procedures gives them some alternatives they might see some success with.
However, when it comes to having a proven track record for permanent, consistent results, liposuction remains the undisputed leader among body contouring procedures. Newer lipo techniques, like PowerLipo™, can even offer a superior outcome and more comfortable recovery compared to traditional liposuction, so in many ways lipo just keeps getting better.