The Limits of Nonsurgical Liposuction


There are all kinds of new devices that promote fat loss without liposuction – sometimes they are even branded as “nonsurgical liposuction.” And while they can be helpful for the right person, they don’t produce the same results that can be accomplished with surgery. Sometimes, they may not even be safer. Here’s why:



You don’t always see a doctor

In many cases, the person performing nonsurgical fat removal is a trained technician, not a doctor, nurse or other medical professional. Trained technicians typically enroll in an certification course that may only involve a few hours of training.

Doctors, on the other hand, must complete a 4-year undergraduate degree program, 4 years of medical school, and then 3 to 7 years of residency training before they are eligible for medical licensing. A board-certified plastic surgeon, who is the best-qualified to perform liposuction, must also:

  • Spend 1 year training exclusively in aesthetic surgery
  • Perform at least 300 plastic surgery procedures of the face, breast, and body
  • Receive additional training in nonsurgical enhancement, such as medical spa treatments
  • Pass a comprehensive 2-day oral and written exam

Without the right experience, the risk of complications increases. And although nonsurgical fat reduction does not require surgery, it is still a serious procedure that should only be performed by a medical professional. Unfortunately, it often isn’t.

Less fat is removed

Nonsurgical alternatives to liposuction destroy a small amount of fat cells, often only 20 to 25% of the fat in a specific area. Liposuction, on the other hand, can safely remove up to 5 liters of fat and fluid. This provides more complete results and also means you should only require one procedure.

You should already be slender

Nonsurgical fat reduction treatments work best on individuals who have very little fat to lose. That’s because they aren’t capable of removing large amounts of fat and the results just aren’t as dramatic.

Liposuction is also not intended to remove large quantities of fat, but it can remove more than nonsurgical treatments. Liposuction is not a weight-loss treatment and not intended for those who are obese. But if you are at a healthy weight and have a few inches to lose, liposuction can help.

As suggested by Dr. Alfred Sofer, a plastic surgeon specializing in liposuction in Fairfield, CT, you should be within 10 to 15 pounds of a weight you are happy with and can maintain before scheduling liposuction surgery.

Results are harder to control

Liposuction offers more precision than nonsurgical alternatives. With liposuction, a small tube or cannula is used to break apart and suction unwanted fat from the body. This provides greater control over the final result and a smoother body contour with fewer bumps and bulges.

Multiple treatments are needed

Most nonsurgical fat removal treatments typically require at least 2 sessions to be effective, and often more. That’s because they can only affect a small amount of fat in 1 treatment. The additional sessions required to provide complete results can quickly add up, costing your more time and money.

Not all areas of the body can be treated

Nonsurgical liposuction procedures are only approved by the Food and Drug Administration for a few specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen or back. But liposuction can be used in a variety of surprising places. The inner and outer thighs, arms, and chin can all benefit from liposuction.