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 or noninvasive body contouring. 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 (high-intensity focused 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. These techniques might also be an option if you can't have liposuction because you have a condition that could complicate surgery. Keep in mind that results vary by individual and technique used, multiple treatment sessions might be needed, and complications are possible.
If you're interested in nonsurgical alternatives to liposuction, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, don't abandon healthy eating and exercise. They're still the best way to eliminate excess body fat.
Steven Jacobson, M.D.
May 05, 2016
- Krueger N, et al. Cryolipolysis for noninvasive body contouring: Clinical efficacy and patient satisfaction. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2014;7:201.
- New non-invasive fat removal technologies offer alternative to liposuction for removing stubborn fat. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/new-non-invasive-fat-removal-technologies-offer-alternative-to-liposuction-for-removing-stubborn-fat. Accessed April 4, 2016.
- Nassab R, et al. The evidence behind noninvasive body contouring devices. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2015;35:279.
- Afrooz PN, et al. Noninvasive and minimally invasive techniques in body contouring. Clinics in Plastic Surgery. 2014;41:789.