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Liposuction or Non-Surgical Fat Reduction?

While liposuction is the most traditional fat-reduction treatment available, newer and less invasive options are now much more common. But which is the best liposuction techniques? Here, we will examine how each type of treatment works in order to help patients choose which is best for them.

How Does Liposuction Work?

As the name suggests, liposuction involves the suctioning of fat from "problem" areas. Liposuction is not designed to be a weight-loss tool - it is better suited to body contouring. In a liposuction procedure, your doctor will use a hollow tube called a cannula to suction fat from beneath the skin.

Suction Assited Liposuction

The Upsides

Compared to noninvasive methods of fat reduction, liposuction offers results that are more noticeable and longer-lasting. It also has been around longer, which may be comforting to those who are wary of newer procedures as a general rule.

The Downsides

Because liposuction is more invasive, it requires more downtime than non-invasive methods. The use of the cannula to remove fat causes trauma in the affected areas, so it is normal to experience bruising and swelling in the treated areas. Liposuction patients are often required to wear compression garments for several weeks in order to maximize results. This may not present much of an issue if the liposuction methods is done on the thighs or on another area typically covered by clothing, but it may be more of a problem if the procedure is done on the face or another noticeable area.

How Do Non-Invasive Fat Treatments Work?

There are a few different non-invasive fat treatment options currently available. CoolSculpting uses a suction device and cooling technology to kill fat cells, which are then processed out of the patient's body. TruSculpt is a somewhat similar technology that uses radio-frequency heat to heat fat cells until they die.

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Most of these treatments can be done in a doctor's office, and they do not require anesthesia. In fact, while some involve mild discomfort, many patients are able to read, watch TV, or nap while the procedure is being done.

The Upsides

The above non-invasive fat treatments have become a popular choice because most involve little to no downtime. A patient can theoretically go to a CoolSculpting appointment on a lunch break and return immediately to work afterwards. These treatments also do not involve any trauma to the affected area, so there is no need to worry about swelling, possible fluid leakage, bruising, or compression garments. Additionally, non-invasive treatments tend to be less expensive than liposuction.




The Downsides

While non-invasive fat treatments are appealing to many because of their lack of downtime or trauma to the treated area, these methods often require multiple treatments. This may be inconvenient for those who would prefer to keep appointments to a minimum. Additionally, non-invasive methods generally produce less dramatic results than liposuction does. While most physicians will generally advise patients that invasive and non-invasive fat treatments alike are best suited to those who are at or close to their target weight, this is especially true for non-invasive treatments, as the reduction of fat is somewhat minimal when compared to liposuction.


Each patient will need to choose for themselves which method of fat reduction is better for them. By keeping themselves informed, patients will be better equipped to choose a fat treatment that will allow them to feel more comfortable with their bodies. 

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