Less Invasive & Non-Invasive Liposuction Alternatives

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Liposuction is the second most common cosmetic surgery performed by cosmetic and plastic surgeons. People get liposuction to remove the extra fat from their bodies, improving their overall shape. You can get liposuction on the hips, thighs, buttocks, arms, abdomen, back, or neck.

Liposuction isn’t a weight loss solution and is usually used after a person has improved their diet and exercise routine and still has pesky pockets of fat. However, liposuction can have complications and is a risky procedure.

There are many minimally invasive and non-invasive liposuction alternatives to consider if you are seeking to eliminate extra fat from your body. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the various non-surgical procedures available, including traditional liposuction, so you can make an informed decision with your cosmetic surgeon.

Keep reading to find out what you need to know.

What Is Body Contouring?

Body contouring procedures are non-invasive. They help patients achieve the body they desire after they’ve established excellent nutritional and exercise habits. You can reduce the amount of fat on your body without having to deal with the risk of surgery.

Most body contouring procedures have minimal or no downtime. You are able to go back to your regular routine immediately after your procedure. As opposed to a scalpel, these non-invasive treatments use heat, cold or other energy sources to eliminate fat.

Target Stubborn Fat

Many people have areas of stubborn fat that diet and exercise can’t get rid of. It’s the fat that lies just under our skin. Stubborn fat is an area of frustration for a lot of people because despite eating well and exercising regularly, it can still be difficult to get rid of. 

There are a few reasons why stubborn fat is more difficult to get rid of:

  • Regular fat is physiologically different than stubborn fat, making the usual fat reducing practices not apply to stubborn fat
  • You can’t do extra exercises to target stubborn fat, like doing extra crunches to get rid of your belly fat
  • Your hormones can cause extra fat to sit in certain areas
  • Women usually have more stubborn fat than men, especially in the buttocks, hips, and thighs area
  • Areas of stubborn fat vary from person to person


CoolSculpting utilizes cold temperatures to freeze away your fat. It is one of the most effective and popular non-invasive treatments out there. 

The cooling treatment Cryolipolysis targets any fat you have in your midsection, bringing them down to a temperature that makes them crystallize. They are then eliminated naturally through your body over a few months.

Why Use Cold Temperatures?

The fat cells of your body don’t like the cold and when they get to a low enough temperature, they freeze. Over the course of one to three months, your body will eliminate the dead fat cells. You will experience up to a 20-25% reduction of fat cells in the targeted area.

Common Risks and Side Effects

During the procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will put a roll of your fat in between two panels. You may experience a tugging or pulling sensation during the procedure.

Another side effect you may experience is stinging, pain, or aching at the treatment site. You would feel these sensations immediately after the treatment finishes up to around two weeks after. The likely cause of these sensations is exposure to cold temperatures on your tissue and skin. 

You may also experience the following temporary side effects:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Bruising

Again, these side effects are a result of exposure to cold temperatures. However, CoolSculpting is completely safe. You won’t get frostbite from the procedure.

The Benefits of CoolSculpting

You will see your results from the procedure gradually after your treatment is complete. Whatever area is targeted, be it your love handles or abdomen, will start to shrink down as the fat cells get eliminated. You can maintain the results you get by continuing to practice good nutrition and exercise.

There is no downtime with CoolSculpting. Schedule a treatment on your lunch break to get the process started. Coupled with other procedures like Evolve or Kybella, CoolSculpting can get you on the road to the body you’ve been working hard for.

Costs for CoolSculpting start around $750 for each session. The procedure can take between one and two hours.

See more Coolsculpting Results in our Before & After gallery!

Evolve: Body Remodeling

Another non-invasive body contouring procedure is Evolve. You can remodel and restructure your body with different treatments. Tone and strengthen muscles, tighten skin, and melt away fat with Evolve. 

Evolve is completely pain-free and there is no recovery period needed after the procedure. You can target multiple areas of your body at once during your procedure.

How Does It Work?

Evolve uses two different bipolar technologies: electromagnetic pulses and radiofrequency energy. Treatments can be customized through the TITE, TRIM, and TONE devices to treat different body types.

Evolve TITE

Evolve TITE uses the technology from radiofrequency energy to make your skin appear more youthful. It uses volumetric heating on your skin and the sub-dermal layer. You can use it to help remedy loose skin on the body after weight loss or pregnancy.

Some other aspects of Evolve TITE include:

  • Improving blood circulation
  • Tightening skin
  • Tighten skin in arm, abdominal, thigh, and hip areas

Evolve TRIM

Combing radiofrequency with a vacuum, Evolve TRIM targets the deepest layers of fat in your body. This is an effective procedure to treat any cellulite in your body. It’s a non-invasive way to smooth your skin and reshape the body.

Evolve TRIM also:

  • Reduces dimples
  • Improves the skin’s elasticity
  • Treats the arms, abdomen, knees, back, and thighs
  • Tightens skin
  • Reduces fat

Evolve TONE

Evolve TONE uses electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to help stimulate muscle contractions in specific areas of your body. It is a way to tone muscles in your body. This is a non-invasive treatment that enhances your body’s natural physique.

Evolve TONE also:

  • Improves muscle strength
  • Tones muscles
  • Refines and shapes your body
  • Targets the buttocks and abdomen


Kybella is an FDA-approved procedure that removes fat from under your chin without surgery. Deoxycholic is injected beneath the skin in the area that extends from your chin to the back of your jaw. As we gain more weight and age over time, this area begins to bulge and sag.

If this is an area you would like to address, your cosmetic surgeon can help you decide if Kybella is the right option for you. There are other reasons you may have fat under your chin, like thyromegaly. Your cosmetic surgeon will rule out all other conditions before moving forward with Kybella.

Depending upon the quality of your skin and the aesthetic you’re seeking to achieve, you can pair Kybella with other non-invasive skin tightening procedures.

Small needles are used to inject Kybella into precise locations along the neck, jaw, and chin. After the injections, a dressing is applied to the area to minimize swelling or bruising.

The number of injections, where they’re placed, and the number of treatments depend on the patient. A patient could have six sessions at one-month intervals to achieve maximum results.


Another non-surgical alternative to liposuction, BodyTite utilizes radiofrequency energy to blast fat. It is a safe and highly effective procedure to melt away your stubborn fat areas.

How Does It Work?

It melts fat using radiofrequency-assisted lipolysis (RFAL). When you come in for this procedure, you will receive an anesthetic gel on the treated area. This will help minimize any pain you may experience, in addition to preventing any harm from the radiofrequency rays.

A small incision is made on your body and a BodyTite transmitting probe is placed under the skin. Another probe is placed on the outside of your skin. Your cosmetic surgeon will use a handpiece to transmit electrical currents between the two probes.

The heat produced by the probes will dissolve your fat cells and generate collagen. It will also cause your skin to tighten and contract. A thin tube will then be used to suction out the excess fat.

Benefits of BodyTite

Since the procedure is minimally invasive, you don’t have to worry about extended downtime afterward. If you want to maximize your results, you can combine it with another type of procedure.

Treatments are fast, lasting around 30 to 45 minutes. You can expect to see your results in around three months. Your body will continue to improve over time, coupled with a healthy lifestyle.

It’s commonly used in the following areas:

  • Love handles
  • Breasts
  • Arms
  • Neck
  • Abdomen
  • Buttocks

Potential Side Effects and Risks

With BodyTite, you may experience some uneven skin for two to three weeks after your treatment. You may also have some minor swelling and bruising in the area that you received treatment. If you have any pain or sensitivity, it can be treated with pain medication and will go away in a few days.

You may be tender and sore right after your procedure but can likely head home soon after your done. You may need some assistance getting home as driving and walking will be uncomfortable.

See more BodyTite Results in our Before & After gallery!


If you’re looking to see more immediate results, look into SmartLipo. It is a less invasive option than traditional liposuction. SmartLipo utilizes laser energy to melt your body fat.

What Is SmartLipo?

Laser liposuction is an FDA-approved procedure. In addition to removing fat with a quick recovery time, it will also tighten your skin in the following areas:

  • Arms
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Jawline
  • Breasts
  • Hips
  • Love Handles
  • Abdomen
  • Knees
  • Thighs

Similarly to liposuction, a small incision is cut into the skin. A thin tube is then inserted into the fat layer — this is where SmartLipo deviates from liposuction. Liposuction uses a vacuum to suction out the fat it is targeting. 

SmartLipo utilizes three laser energy wavelengths that melt fat so it can be easily removed from your body. The process is gentler than liposuction, allowing for a shorter recovery time with less pain. Additionally, the laser energy tightens the skin so you’re not left with dimpling or sagging once the fat cells are removed.

What's the Recovery Like?

SmartLipo takes up to two hours to perform. You’re given general anesthesia. You can also expect to have some sutures at the incision site, which will either be naturally absorbed or come out after two weeks.

Recovery time for SmartLipo is seven to 10 days after the procedure. It’s recommended that you take two to four days to rest and wait to exercise for up to three weeks after your treatment. You will also need to follow up with your cosmetic surgeon after receiving SmartLipo.

What Are the Benefits?

SmartLipo can remove more fat than CoolSculpting — up to five liters. It all depends on the size of the treated area and the number of fat cells present. SmartLipo can eliminate enough fat for you to see a noticeable reduction in weight.

Like with CoolSculpting, weight loss isn’t the goal of SmartLipo. It is used to treat problem areas of stubborn fat. You will start to see your results in as little as seven days.

With SmartLipo, you should need only one treatment to get the results that you’re looking for. If you’re targeting a lot of areas, you may have to go in for several treatments.

Possible Risks and Side Effects

SmartLipo is less invasive than liposuction, but it is still considered a surgery. It does carry some risks that other surgical procedures have. You could potentially experience some of the following side effects:

  • Infection
  • Bruising
  • Hematoma
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Shock
  • Scarring

As with any procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will explain all the possible risks to you to help you make an informed decision.

See more SmartLipo Results in our Before & After gallery!

Ultrasound Cavitation

Ultrasound cavitation, or Ultrashape or Liponix, is a treatment that breaks apart the fat deposits in your body. It’s another non-invasive option for liposuction. It’s also less expensive than liposuction, with each treatment being around $250-350. 

How Does It Work?

Ultrasound cavitation utilizes ultrasonic radio waves to help break apart the fat cells in your body. They are then absorbed by your body’s lymphatic system. It doesn’t require any incisions, making recovery easier.

Ultrasonic cavitation may be for you if you’re:

  • A non-smoker
  • Overall good health
  • Within 15 pounds of your ideal weight

If you’re looking to lose a large amount of weight, ultrasonic cavitation isn’t right for you. It is designed to contour your body and reduce small areas of fat.

The most common areas targeted for fat reduction are:

  • Hips
  • Abdomen
  • Neck
  • Upper arms
  • Face
  • Thighs

Ultrasonic cavitation won’t give you results right away. It takes a period of time for your body to begin to break down and dissolve your fat cells. Repeated treatments may be necessary to achieve maximum results.

Your final result should be apparent from six to 12 weeks after your first treatment. Most people need one to three procedures before seeing results. If you maintaining a healthy lifestyle, your results will be permanent.

Potential Side Effects

Ultrasonic cavitation is a very low-risk procedure. You may experience a headache and some redness or bruising after your procedure.

In rare cases, your skin won’t absorb the fat evenly after it’s broken down. Bumps, lumps, and valleys could potentially appear on your skin after treatment. If that happens to you, they can be resolved in subsequent treatments.

Choosing Liposuction or a Non-Invasive Procedure?

The main thing to keep in mind when debating your options is your goal. Liposuction is intended to be an immediate way to reduce a large quantity of fat in your body. Non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures, like CoolSculpting, are designed to target small areas of stubborn fat. 

With Liposuction, you don’t treat the surface layer of fat. You’re able to treat the core of your weight loss problem.

Liposuction removes excess fat from the body by inserting a small tube into a far deposit. Suction is applied that removes the fat cells, sculpting and slimming down the body. To be a good candidate for liposuction, you need to be within 30% of your target weight and have elastic skin.

Liposuction can be used in the following areas:

  • Legs
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Face
  • Arms
  • Neck

In comparison to non-invasive procedures, liposuction has a longer recovery time. People can expect to experience swelling, soreness, and bruising for over a week after their surgery.

As the treated area heals after liposuction, you will start to see results. Once the swelling goes down, you will be able to see the full scope of your results.

Non-invasive treatments are helpful in a person’s weight loss journey. Liposuction offers long-lasting and dramatic results, in addition to tightening the skin.

Potential Side Effects

Liposuction carries its own complications, like with any other type of surgery. You may have a reaction to the anesthesia or experience bleeding. Some other complications include:

  • Bumpy, withered, or wavy skin due to the uneven removal of fat
  • A permanent spotted appearance to your skin from cannula insertion
  • Temporary formation of fluid pockets under the skin
  • Permanent or temporary numbness in the targeted area
  • Skin infections
  • Puncture of internal organ

The best way to prepare for any type of risk or complication is to discuss them with your cosmetic surgeon. If they will be working on a large area or conducting multiple treatments at once, it can increase your risk. Speak to a licensed medical professional.

Which Option Is Best?

For larger areas of fat that need eliminating, liposuction is a better option. You will need to keep in mind that liposuction is more costly and has a longer recovery time.

If you’re close to your ideal weight and want to target smaller areas of fat, a non-invasive procedure will work for your needs. The results won’t be as dramatic as they are with liposuction but you can return to your daily activities almost immediately.

Traditional Liposuction or Non-Invasive Liposuction?

Deciding which procedure is right for you all boils down to what you want to achieve with your body. If you’re seeking to have dramatic results and lose a substantial amount of weight, then explore liposuction.

If you’re already practicing a healthy lifestyle and need something extra to help you achieve your goals, look into non-invasive liposuction procedures. The downtime and recovery for the procedures are minimal.

Whether you’re wanting to eliminate fat pockets or tighten up your skin after losing weight, there is a non-invasive option that can work for you. Wave Plastic Surgery has locations all over California. Contact us today to speak with a staff member for a consultation.