A Comparison of the Most Popular Non-Invasive Fat Reduction Procedures

Comparison of 5 of the most popular non-invasive fat reduction techniques available today

Today, non-invasive body contouring options are more plentiful than ever, and many have found that it can help them meet their goals for fat removal with minimal disruption to day-to-day life.

But even after reviewing the basics of these procedures, it is still very easy to be overwhelmed by the variety of techniques now available. We’ve compiled the essential information in a comparison of 5 of the most popular non-invasive fat reduction techniques available today.

Brand Names CoolSculpting Zerona Ultrashape / TruSculpt / LipoSonix Athenix / Sono Bello SculpSure
Technique Fat cell freezing Cold laser RF / Ultrasonic waves Surgical body contouring Warm laser
How it Works Eliminates fat with freezing temperatures from chilled plates Eliminates fat cells with cold laser technology Uses ultrasonic or RF waves to heat and destroy fat cells, reduces cellulite Uses both laser technology and traditional surgical liposuction - without general anesthesia. Eliminates fat cells with a warm laser
FDA approved
Non-Invasive
Treatment Time 60min 40min 60min Varies 25min
Suggested # of Treatments 2-3 treatments per area 6 recommended 2-3 per area (1 with LipoSonix) 1 per area 2-3 per area
Treatment Experience Numbness, individuals can become chilled during treatment A “gentle” treatment with minimal discomfort. No heat or sensation noted. Pins-and-needle sensation, prickling, warmth Localized anesthesia with painkillers Slight tingling and warmth
Side Effects Temporary hardening, numbness of treated area. None Some significant bruising, swelling and redness (LipoSonix) Swelling, bruising and numbness. Irritation and minor scarring can occur. Fluid may drain from incisions. None
Recovery Time Normal activities can resume immediately, but numbness and sensations subside in 3-10 days. None Varies 1-2 days rest recommended, but swelling and bruising dissipates in multiple weeks. None
Time Between Treatments (On Same Area) 6-8 weeks Treatments must be done every other day, until all six are completed Varies N/A 6 weeks
Time for Optimal Results 3 weeks to 2 months At conclusion of the two-week program 8 to 12 weeks Varies depending on healing time 6 weeks, optimal results at 12 weeks
Considerations Individuals sometimes need to be wrapped in blankets, given warm beverages during treatment to avoid being chilled. Must be accompanied by significant diet, exercise and water intake. Results are more minimal compared to other treatments. Varies between treatment types Recovery time is more substantial, and highly dependent on individual pain tolerance and healing. Follow-up visits are needed to ensure proper healing. The only treatment that doesn’t require downtime or recovery time.

A review of the range of options demonstrates that there are some commonalities across the major non-invasive fat removal treatment types. Namely, multiple treatments are usually necessary to achieve desired results. Yet the treatment time/duration and the number of recommended treatments—and therefore the time commitment and cost of each procedure—can vary a great deal.


How do I decide which option is best for me?

The best way to determine which treatment option is right for you is to consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, such as Dr. Bryan McIntosh, who will provide you with a personalized treatment plan, and whose staff will assist you in every step of pre-treatment, the procedure, and recovery.

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