Nonsurgical or minimally invasive options for fat reduction include technology that uses heat, cooling or an injected medication to reduce fat cells. While none of these treatments are a replacement for liposuction, they provide options for patients unwilling or unable to undergo surgery.
Non surgical fat reduction options use a variety of modalities, including ultrasound, radio frequency, infrared light, vacuum massage and injectable medication. Among the procedures that comprise non surgical fat reduction are cryolipolysis (e.g., CoolSculpting), injection lipolysis (e.g., Kybella), radiofrequency lipolysis (e.g., Vanquish) and laser lipolysis (e.g., SculpSure).
Cryolipolysis, commonly referred to as “CoolSculpting” by patients, uses cold temperature to break down fat cells. The fat cells are particularly susceptible to the effects of cold, unlike other types of cells. While the fat cells freeze, the skin and other structures are spared from injury. This is one of the most popular non surgical fat reduction treatments, with over 450,000 procedures performed worldwide.
Injection lipolysis chemically reduces the number of fat cells around the injection site. The chemical, called deoxycholic acid, results in fat cell disruption and death. Currently, it is FDA-approved for treatment of the area underneath the chin to eliminate what is known as a “double chin.” A commonly known type of injection lipolysis is Kybella®.
Radiofrequency lipolysis is a procedure which uses a radio frequency to heat the fat without an instrument making physical contact with the patient. The applicator heats from a distance of one centimeter from the skin. Fat cells are preferentially heated without impacting other types of cells in the skin or other structures. A common type of radiofrequency lipolysis is Vanquish.
Laser lipolysis uses laser energy delivered through an applicator. The fat cells are preferentially heated and disrupted without impacting other types of cells in the skin or other structures. A common type of laser lipolysis is SculpSure.
The price of nonsurgical fat reduction will be based on the expertise and qualifications of the doctor performing the procedure, the type of procedure used, the time and effort the treatment requires, as well as geographic clinic location.