Nonsurgical Fat Reduction: Types, Pros & Cons, Recovery


Nonsurgical fat reduction is also known as nonsurgical/non-invasive body contouring or minimally invasive
procedures for fat reduction. It consists of a variety of nonsurgical
fat reduction procedures to reduce or remove stubborn pockets of fat to contour
and shape different areas of the body.

It is noticeable that nonsurgical fat
reduction procedures are not intended to be weight loss solutions. If you want
to do such a procedure, your weight should be close to your desired weight.
More specifically, your body mass index shouldn’t be over 30.


Currently, there are four principles for most
nonsurgical fat reduction treatments. They are:

  • Cryolipolysis, also named controlled cooling or CoolSculpting.

This technology uses freezing temperatures
to target and destroy fat cells. In the procedure, a paneled or cupped device
is placed on top of the skin in the treatment area. The device can transmit
temperatures that are just low enough to freeze fat cells, essentially
destroying them.

  • Laser lipolysis.

Laser fat reduction works by using controlled
heating and laser energy to target fat cells. A specific laser wavelength is
delivered through the skin, heating fatty tissues to the point where fat cells
begin to break down.

  • Radiofrequency lipolysis.

This technology applies controlled heating
and ultrasound technology to target fat cells. The ultrasound energy transmits
through the skin, creating rapid pressure changes that cause the fat cells to
break down while leaving surrounding tissues unharmed.

  • Injection lipolysis.

In this procedure, deoxycholic acid is injected to target fat cells. Deoxycholic acid
is a naturally occurring substance in the body that helps break down fat for
digestion. In injectable form, deoxycholic acid can break down fat cells on
contact for isolated reduction of a fat pocket.

You can prefer one of the aforementioned options
for fat reduction based on your understanding of these procedures and your
surgeon’s advice.


According to statistics from the American
Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2018, nonsurgical fat reduction cost $1,417 in average and the average cost
for injection lipolysis is $1,054.
The cost may include:

  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Surgical facility costs

Pros & Cons

For patients at or near their ideal body
weight who do not need or want significant reshaping, non-surgical treatments
can be a great option. Because under nonsurgical fat reduction, you can get benefits

  • Little to no downtime
  • No general anesthesia, incisions or scars
  • Minimal side effects for most patients
  • Lasting results as long as the patient maintains his or her weight

However, nonsurgical fat reduction does
exist some limitations. For example:

  • It reduces fat only, which means minimal sculpting ability.
  • We cannot choose exactly how much fat is lost, only estimate a
  • Multiple treatments may be needed to achieve desired results.
  • It may not be suitable for patients with significant amounts of fat
    to lose.
  • Temporary redness, numbness and pain may occur.

Patients should understand that nonsurgical
treatments for fat reduction will not significantly change a patient’s weight.
And a healthy lifestyle and weight maintenance are important to maintain


Your surgeon will provide you with some pretreatment
instructions, including:

  • Stop smoking before undergoing treatment to promote better healing
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements that can increase bleeding
  • Regardless of the type of procedure to be performed, hydration is very important before and after treatment for safe recovery

Nonsurgical fat reduction is usually
performed on an outpatient basis. So, in most cases, it is not necessary for
someone to drive you home after treatment and stay with you, but you should ask
your surgeon to confirm that.


Nonsurgical fat reduction usually requires
little, if any, recovery. For most patients, the procedure is painless and full
activity can be resumed immediately. After the procedure, you will receive
detailed instructions about your post-treatment care, including information

  • Skin care
  • Normal symptoms you will experience, such as skin redness, swelling and
    numbness of the treated area
  • Potential signs of complication

Generally, you can see noticeable fat reduction in the treated areas within one to two months following the procedure.

Keyword: nonsurgical fat reduction.

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