There are a dizzying array of procedures for fat removal and body contouring these days. It is not only confusing for the patient but for the doctor too! We do know that liposuction is the gold standard for removing fat. At the end of the procedure you will see the fat in the canisters and the results will follow shortly. Liposuction is surgery and a minimally invasive procedure. The tumescent technique (under local anesthesia) liposuction with microcannulas is safe, easy and has a quick recovery with the most impressive results but it is still liposuction. Most patients go through it just fine and are amazed at how it was so different from what they thought it would be like. It is essentially painless and easy to undergo with patients returning to work in just 2 days. The additions of lasers like Smartlipo have even improved results further. The heat from the Smartlipo laser can be used to smooth out the fat and induce skin tightening. I have performed this procedure on many patients who would be traditionally treated by tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). We have seen remarkable results in terms of tightening loose skin and avoiding the cost, incision and recovery of a tummy tuck. But what are the liposuction alternatives? What can liposuction accomplish and can’t accomplish?
However there are many patients who would prefer to do something less invasive but still improve their body contour. The good thing is that non invasive procedures are becoming more effective. Of course, none of these procedures are for weight loss. If you are obese, a medical weight loss program would be your best bet before doing any of these.
CoolSculpting doesn’t burn, shatter or extract any cells. Developed by Harvard scientists, the unique, FDA-cleared, patented procedure uses a targeted cooling process that kills the fat cells underneath the skin, literally freezing them to the point of elimination. Only fat cells are frozen. Your healthy skin cells remain, well, healthy. No knives. No suction hoses. No needles. No scars. Once crystallized, the fat cells die and are naturally eliminated from your body.Unlike a lot of other procedures, CoolSculpting takes very little time and is pretty simple to fit into your daily life. After your CoolSculpting treatment you can typically get right back to your busy day. Each treatment lasts one hour – the same time you might spend at the gym. So you can easily fit your appointment into a lunch break. After one visit, you’ll typically see a noticeable reduction of fat. It takes a few months to fully realize the effects, mainly because it takes that long for your body to naturally dispose of the fat cells. And yes, you can lose even more with additional Coolsculpting appointments if you and your doctor deem it necessary.
Medical Weight Loss Diet works through use of a hormone that is naturally produced in the body, and a very low-calorie diet (VLCD). The hormone has many functions and is used medically to treat a variety of conditions. It is the pregnancy hormone that almost completely controls metabolic functions, and allows the body to mobilize fat and use it as energy for both mother and fetus. This acts as a “fail-safe” mechanism when energy is needed immediately. For weight loss, we use small amounts of this hormone to capitalize on this same mechanism. Using it in this way does NOT mimic pregnancy; in fact, it can be safely used by both adult men and women. The combination of the hormone and VLCD allows you to lose a remarkable amount of weight in a short time safely. We look at this as a nutritional ‘boot camp’ that will teach you how to eat properly and keep the weight off. We are looking to change your life and how you approach food, not just another ‘diet’.
There are many variables to consider when trying to answer this question. There is the amount of overall fat, the condition of the skin, your appetite for surgery, financial considerations and downtime. Most liposuction alternative procedures are great for reducing small amounts of fat. They cannot tighten skin nor perform body sculpting. They do have less downtime and are generally less expensive. They are a great choice for many patients who are close to their ideal body weight and have good skin.
But if there is a great deal of fat and loose skin, then liposuction may be the best choice. Liposuction allows for removal of large amounts of fat, body contouring and up to 50% skin tightening. There is currently no liposuction alternative that can replace this. When performed under local anesthesia, it is safe, relatively painless and not much more expensive than the alternative. Downtime is minimal. Plus the fat can be transferred to other areas of the body like a Brazilian Butt Lift. A consultation with plastic surgeon Dr Staci Hix-Hernandez MD can help you make the right choice.