Non-surgical fat reduction techniques can trim stubborn body fat without the risk of surgery. Learn here whether you can benefit from these techniques.

Hoping to trim some inches from your waistline or say so long to those unsightly saddlebags? Non-surgical fat reduction techniques offer a solution for those stubborn pockets of fat many of us find so difficult to get rid off.

Healthy eating and regular exercise are sensible approaches to weight loss, but even dedicated health enthusiasts have areas on their bodies that could stand improvement. Non-surgical fat reduction targets areas that just don’t respond to regular weight loss methods.

What Is Non-Surgical Fat Reduction?

Ultrasound, cryolipolysis and lasers are non-surgical fat reduction techniques that have received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. All are currently available in this country and can be a reasonable option for patients hoping to target specific areas.

Although the methods vary, all non-surgical fat reduction treatments share a common goal: to remove unsightly areas of fat without the hassle of surgery.

Understanding Non-Surgical Fat Reduction Techniques

Non-operative fat reduction techniques are marketed under a variety of brand names. Understanding your options makes it easier to determine which method is right for you.

Ultrasound. Focused ultrasound waves target pockets of fat and destroy them. The Liposonix ultrasound system is used by board-certified plastic surgeon, James Boynton, MD, of Boynton Plastic Surgery in Houston, Texas. “Liposonix uses high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, to target fat cells and actually get rid of them without damaging the surrounding tissues, ” says Dr. Boynton.

Ultrashape is another ultrasound technique that is available in Europe and Canada, but not yet available in the United States. According to the Ultrashape website, the treatment consists of high-power ultrasound waves that selectively break down fat tissue, while protecting skin, blood vessels and nerves. Ultrashape is currently undergoing additional FDA studies.

Cryolipolysis. This technique uses controlled cooling to destroy fat without damaging nerves or tissue. Unwanted fat cells are cooled until they eventually break down. They are then absorbed or eliminated through the body’s normal metabolic processes. CoolSculpt by Zeltiq is one product that uses the cryolipolysis technique.

Laser. Zerona is a cold laser used to perforate fat cells allowing the fat to leak out. The body then eliminates the fat, and the fat cells shrink.

Is Non-Surgical Fat Reduction Right For You?

Both men and women eager to shed a few inches from trouble spots can achieve satisfactory results from these techniques, but experts warn not to expect miracles. “Setting the right expectation is important,” says Boynton. “It’s really about shaping, not weight loss. If you are extremely overweight, it won’t make much of a difference.”

On the other hand, if you are bothered by a couple of stubborn inches that seem to hang on despite your best efforts, you’ll likely be pleased with the results.

Tips for Choosing the Right Non-Surgical Fat Reduction Technique

There’s no shortage of glittery ads featuring attractive men and women with chiseled abs and whittled waists touting the various techniques, but how do you know which one is right for you?

Boynton recommends seeking treatment from a reputable physician willing to discuss your desires and concerns. It’s also important that a physical examination be done before recommendations are made to rule out any concerns, such as an existing hernia or injury, he says.

Results typically occur over a period of eight to 12 weeks, and multiple treatment sessions may be suggested for some techniques.

Risks Associated With Non-Surgical Fat Reduction

The risks vary depending on the specific technique, but most of the procedures are considered to be very safe with few side effects. Some patients do experience mild soreness following procedures and bruising is a common side effect.

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