What are the alternatives to liposuction?

Liposuction removes fat cells, which cannot regrow and therefore permanently changes contours. It also tightens skin a little, perhaps 10%. What are the alternatives, which do not tighten skin, which might help in particular circumstances?

Surgically one can remove fat by simply excising it. The fat is certainly removed, but it is not easy to thin large areas without multiple operations, each with a significant risk of complications and an uneven result. This is really only useful if one is also removing the skin as in a breast reduction.

Another approach is to inject a chemical which destroys fat. Steroids destroy fat but generally regard this as an unwanted side effect. Desoxycholic acid, (Kybella, Lipodissolve, Aqualyx) has been popular, but can be painful, have side effects and needs multiple treatments. My personal reservation is that everyone has a different response to medications and it is impossible to know how much effect the injection will have. The other is that there is no control as to where the injected drug will spread, again potentially causing irregularities. We do not use them at the Cadogan Clinic for these reasons and we have better options.

There are non-surgical treatments that are useful for patients, who really do not want an operation. We found that external ultrasound systems do not work sufficiently. The two techniques that do work, reducing fat equally well are freezing (CoolSculpt) and laser (Sculpsure). We prefer SculpSure, which is free of awkward complications. Coolsculpt is more painful with longer treatments and slower results. The worst problems, however, that we have seen, are that CoolSculpt sometimes leaves patients with a hard lumpy result and the occasional patient actually has an alarming growth of fat, which we need to treat by liposuction.

In summary, Sculpsure works for limited fat reduction and avoids an operation. None of the nonsurgical treatments significantly contract the skin. We would use other treatments for this.

If you are looking for substantial fat reduction of several areas then consider liposuction. We have 4 different techniques to choose from at the Cadogan Clinic and can choose the best for you.

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