There are many options out there to remove unwanted fat from your body, several offering office procedures with minimal down time, such as:
In this procedure a laser produces heat that in theory “melts” the fat and then your body absorbs the melted fat, eliminating the need for the suction part of liposuction. Fat is fragile and when traumatized forms dense scar tissue, which is extremely common after this procedure. The laser may also burn the overlying skin.
In this procedure warm fluid is injected to “melt” the fat and then it is suctioned out. This is similar to traditional liposuction using the tumescent technique. This procedure and laser liposuction have risks similar to liposuction but probably a little higher because they are performed by non-plastic surgeons.
this is the least invasive of the three procedures. Plates compress an area of skin and fat, using cold to kill fat cells. This then relies on the body to remove these cells. Down time is minimal but it may take months to see results which probably come from the trauma to the fat from the cold as well as the compression. This may require multiple treatments.
So what is the difference between these procedures and what we know as “liposuction”? Most plastic surgeons, including myself, use tumescent technique, which means that saline (a solution most like natural body fluids) is injected into the area to be suctioned. Usually the amount of saline injected equals the amount of fat suctioned out. Traditional liposuction uses probes connected to suctions to remove the fat which has been “loosened” so to speak by the saline.
In areas where the fat is denser, such as the abdomen, love handles, and buttocks, something more is needed to loosen the fat and in these instances we use ultrasonic liposuction to heat the fat gently with ultrasound so it can then be suctioned out easier.
It is obvious that the aqua lipo, laser lipo, and cool sculpt are easier and less invasive, however, they are not cheap, the results are highly variable, and most of the time these procedures are not done by plastic surgeons. The reason we use liposuction is that it can be used on any area of the body not just the abdomen. It removes the fat directly, instead of relying on your body to do it and you are not limited by local anesthesia with regard to how much you can do.
The next question, why a plastic surgeon? It takes a lot of training and experience to know who is a good candidate, how to avoid complications, and how to manage patient post-op to get optimal results. Plastic surgeons are the only group of doctors who have spent years learning to do this, not just a weekend course.