Non-surgical fat-reduction techniques are designed to treat exercise-resistant fat pockets on certain body parts. Designed for those who are relatively trim and active, these techniques allow those who don’t want to undergo complicated surgery a chance to fine tune or sculpt specific areas of their bodies. Many who desire minimal changes in their appearance find the treatments to be very effective.

There are a number of different treatments currently available, and most can be done in-office during a one-to-three-hour time block. Non-invasive fat-reduction recovery is usually rapid, and aside from the actual appointment, requires no time away from work. The treatments are considered very safe and involve little-to-no risk.

A Look At Non-Surgical Fat-Reduction Techniques

The two types of non-invasive fat-reduction treatments currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include ultrasound treatments and cryolipolysis. The treatments are not typically recommended for those who are severely obese or who have not attempted to lose excess inches through a sensible diet and exercise routine.

Ultrasound fat reduction works by using ultrasound energy to obliterate fat, which is later absorbed or excreted naturally by the body. Studies have shown the breakdown of fat does not cause an increase in blood lipid levels.

The cryolipolysis technique destroys fat by gradually cooling fat cells to near the freezing point. The cells are absorbed over time, resulting in a reduction of fat bulges.

These techniques are the most successful in patients who want to target stubborn pockets of fat around their midsection and inner or outer thighs. Some treatments may also be used on the upper arms.

Those who have modest goals and understand what these treatments can and cannot do are more likely to be satisfied with the eventual results.

Recovery from Common Non-Surgical Fat-Reduction Treatments

Experts warn those undergoing these fat-reducing treatments not to expect to see results right away, since neither cryolipolysis nor ultrasound procedures produce immediate changes.

Information on the Liposonix website indicates the treatment typically takes between 30 to 60 minutes. Usually, a single area is targeted for each treatment, and most patients report experiencing only mild discomfort during the process. Optimal results from the high intensity focused ultrasound treatment are seen between eight to 12 weeks.

Following ultrasound treatment, patients may experience some slight discomfort over the affected area. There may also be some mild bruising, redness and/or swelling. These symptoms typically subside over a few days to two weeks. “There’s really no need for pain medication and no down time with Liposonix,” says James Boynton, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Boynton Plastic Surgery in Houston, Texas.

CoolSculpting, a cryolipolysis product from the Zeltiq Company, is a popular non-invasive fat-reduction method. Information provided on the company website,, indicates those undergoing a CoolSculpting treatment will feel some pressure and intense cold at the beginning. As the treatment continues, discomfort should dissipate.

Following treatment, patients may have redness, bruising, swelling, tenderness to the touch, cramping, itching, tingling and numbness at the treatment site. The company says numbness can persist for several weeks after the procedure.

Results are expected to occur as early as three weeks after treatment with the most dramatic results taking place after two months. Some patients may experience changes up to six months after treatment.

Most patients undergoing FDA approved non-surgical fat reduction treatments experience only minimal side effects and can resume their normal activity immediately after treatment is complete.