Are there alternatives to liposuction for getting rid of body fat? I've tried diet and exercise but still have love handles.
Answers from Steven Jacobson, M.D.
A number of body contouring and fat removal techniques are promoted as liposuction alternatives. Although these techniques don't involve surgery, they generally don't produce results as dramatic as those achieved with liposuction.
Most of the newer techniques target body fat using energy, typically delivered as heat or cold, to damage and shrink fat cells. The following are examples of nonsurgical methods to reduce body fat:
- Exposure to cold (cryolipolysis)
- Sound waves (ultrasound)
- Light waves (low-level laser)
- Radio waves (radiofrequency)
Liposuction alternatives are not intended for people who are obese, but rather for people who are normal weight and generally fit but still have some specific areas of fat that diet and exercise haven't eliminated. Results vary by individual and technique used, and multiple treatment sessions may be required.
If you're interested in nonsurgical alternatives to liposuction, talk with your doctor. In the meantime, don't abandon healthy eating and exercise. They're still the best way to eliminate excess body fat.
May 24, 2013
Steven Jacobson, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Nelson A, et al. Cryolipolysis for reduction of excess adipose tissue. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 2009;28:244.
- Mulholland MS, et al. Noninvasive body contouring with radiofrequency, ultrasound, cryolipolysis, and low-level laser therapy. Clinics in Plastic Surgery. 2011;38:503.
- Jalian HR, et al. Body contouring: The skinny on noninvasive fat removal. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 2012;31:121.
- Jewell ML, et al. Noninvasive body sculpting technologies with an emphasis on high-intensity focused ultrasound. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2011;35:901.
- Youn A. How to reduce fat without diet, exercise or surgery. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news-and-resources/september-2012/how-to-reduce-fat-without-diet-exercise-or-surgery.html. Accessed May 17, 2013.
- New non-invasive fat removal technologies offer alternative to liposuction for removing stubborn fat. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/new-non-invasive-fat-removal-technologies-offer-alternative-to-liposuction-for-removing-stubborn-fat-. Accessed May 17, 2013.