Non Surgical Liposuction

i am wondering if non surgical liposuction can give the same results as liposuction surgery, but without long recovery (read here bruises last 6 months!). i'd like to get fat taken out of love handles.

Doctor Answers 41

Non-surgical Liposuction can give similar results to Liposuction in thin areas

By nonsurgical liposuction I suspect you mean ZERONA which is a non surgical laser treatment to thin fat areas. It does work but only on thin areas. If your love handles are not too big then it would be a consideration to do @ $2400 for a series of 6 treatments over a 2 wk period. It is totally painless, no injections, no downtime, no bruising and results can be seen within 1 month. Definitely get a consultation.

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Non-surgical liposuction works like non-dieting weight loss!

Liposuction is surgery. Always.

There are techniques that are advertised to reduce fatty tissues without incisions or surgery, such as external ultrasound, RF treatments, Endermologie (more for cellulite, but sometimes "oversold"), and lipo-dissolve or mesotherapy. The latter two techniques involve injection of caustic chemicals designed to "melt," "dissolve," or otherwise kill fat cells "that your body will harmlessly absorb!"  Killing fat cells by any technique that does not remove the dead tissue is a potential disaster--scar lumps, calcified nodules, and painful, indented tissues irregularities can (and have) occurred in some patients. The other techniques work to an extremely minimal degree--(Not worth the cost!)

If you have fat you want to remove, diet and exercise is the first and best way. Once that has been done to a safe and healthy degree, then any fatty tissues that remains in localized areas can be treated by surgical liposuction. See an experienced board-certified (American Board of Plastic Surgery) plastic surgeon, not physicians who may have certification by other non-ABMS Boards.

Bruising rarely lasts more than 3 or 4 weeks at most. Improvement in your shape is seen right away, but improves even more over 4-6 months IF you do not gain weight during this time.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 220 reviews

The only way to remove fat is to actually remove it

There are several forms of liposuction. They all have one thing in common: You and those pesky fat cells have gone your separate ways when you are done with the procedure.

Non-surgical techniques, I suspect, might accomplish some fat redistribution; but if it isn't removed from the body it is still there. 

You may wish to research non-surgical methods more fully to see what others say about their experiences. is a great starting place. 

Good luck in your search.

Christopher J. Peers, MD
South Bend Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Non-surgical fat removal vs liposuction does not produce the same result

The allure of a non-surgical treatment vs actual surgery is certainly appealing from a cost and recovery standpoint. The differences, however, are in the result. No method of non-surgical fat removal (e.g., Zerona, Zeltiq) can produce remotely the same result as that of actual liposuction surgery. As long as your expectations are tempered, there is nothing wrong with trying a non-surgical approach first. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't do what you want it to do. You can always convert to liposuction later. What you just need to know is how realistic is it that the non-surgical approach can give you a result that you will be satisfied with.

There is no good "non-surgical" liposuction

Liposuction, where incisions are made in the skin, cannulas are inserted into the fat and moved back and forth to remove the fat, is surgery, plain and simple.  Done well this should give excellant results of the areas you wish corrected.  Some bruising always occurs, but should resolve by 2 - 3 weeks, not 6 months as you mentioned.  Many "non-invasive"  fat removal options are heavily marketed as alternatives to liposuction but all suffer from either lack of FDA approval (Mesotherapy / Lipodissolve) or dubious claims of results ( Liposonix and Ultrashape).  Properly done tumnescent liposuction should give you excellant results.

Liposuction is surgery

There is no 'non-surgical' liposuction technique available. Liposuction is a surgical procedure, and has some of the risks (and benefits) that other surgical procedures have.

There are some new technologies available that can contour the body using non-invasive treatments.

Zeltiq is not yet FDA approved for body contouring, but does appear to be effective for focal reduction of abdominal and flank fat. It is in use in the US on an 'off-label' manner by physicians that have examined its risk and benefit profile and decided to offer it to their patients.

My experience with Zeltiq is that it offers mild to moderate improvement in focally fatty regions in patients with excellent skin elasticity (no stretch marks).

What is nonsurgical liposuction?

There are a lot of terms being thrown around these days, so when you say "nonsurgical liposuction" you could be referring to several things. One is injection lipolysis, which is related to mesotherapy. This is not an FDA-approved procedure and very controversial. Another is using ultrasound to nonsurgically reduce fat, and there are 2 companies studying this (Liposonix, Ultrashape) but they are not available in the U.S. yet. To make it even more muddled, the laser lipo companies continue to make claims that using the laser with liposuction makes it somehow less invasive, which just doesn't make any sense. For now, good old liposuction is the standard.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews


Liposuction is a surgical technique where fat is removed from the body through small incisions.  There really is no non-surgical version.  There are machines that can reduce fat in areas of the body non-surgically such as Coolsculpting.  The results can be good, but usually multiple treatments are required to get the best results.  If you consider the time and cost needed for repeated coolsculpting sessions, liposuction could be a better option for you.  Laser liposuction techniques greatly reduce bruising and swelling after surgery.

Shim Ching, MD
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Surgery vs no-surgery

There are several nonsurgical liposuction options, but you should know that results are not as reliable as liposuction surgery. With liposuction surgery, we know exactly how much fat has been removed. However, with nonsurgical methods, you have to rely on how your body reacts to the technology and it can take months to see any improvement. 

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Two completely different procedures...

Thank you for your question.  If non-surgical liposuction procedures would give the same results as surgical procedures, then there wouldn't be any need for liposuction surgery.  Last year, more than 4 billion dollars were spent on liposuction surgeries alone and more than 364,000 liposuction procedures were done by board-certified plastic surgeons.  When liposuction surgery is done by a board certified plastic surgeon, the results are always better, however, non-surgical liposuction procedures are great adjuncts when done with surgical liposuction to give better results and assist with a faster recovery.  Non-surgical liposuction also is an alternative if there is only a small amount of fat to be removed.

Jamal Yousefi, MD
Vienna Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.