Are Fat Reduction Surgeries Safe? An Expert's Perspective

The amount of fat that can be safely removed is limited and there are some risks associated with it such as infection numbness and scarring. Learn more about non-invasive fat removal from an expert's perspective.

Are Fat Reduction Surgeries Safe? An Expert's Perspective

The amount of fat that can be safely removed is limited, and there are some risks associated with it, such as infection, numbness, and scarring. If too much fat is removed, bumps or dents may appear on the skin. Surgical risks appear to be related to the amount of fat removed. Liposuction is an effective way to reduce fat from the legs, abdomen, back, arms, face and neck.

It provides more dramatic results than other non-invasive fat reduction procedures, however, it has a longer recovery period (up to six weeks) and generally costs more than its non-surgical counterparts. Non-invasive fat removal can be used in almost any area of the body. The abdomen, flanks (love handles), thighs, chin, neck, back, upper arms, and knees can be treated. When performing non-invasive fat extraction, the dermatologist uses a portable device or injections to destroy fat cells.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several portable devices for this purpose. All devices are placed on or just above the skin. They work by sending cold, heat, or sound waves directly to fat cells without harming skin, nerves, and other parts of the body. The injections contain an acid similar to bile acid which dissolves fat cells. Because these treatments destroy or dissolve fat cells, the results are permanent.

Without these target cells, the area will not accumulate more fat even if you gain weight. However, you will still have some fat cells in the treated area which can expand if you gain weight. With non-invasive fat removal, results appear gradually. If you are treated with a device, you may notice some changes after 3 weeks and most people see the full effect 3 to 6 months after the last treatment. For injections used to treat excess chin fat, you will usually see the full effect approximately 3 to 4 months after the last treatment. The table below shows how many treatment sessions a person usually needs.

After treatment, most people have some swelling, bruising, or discomfort. After receiving injections to dissolve excess fat on the chin, the skin on the chin may feel firm or bumpy and you may also feel burning or stinging in the treated area. Rarely freezing fat can cause long-term pain or increase the amount of fat in the treated area. You can reduce this risk if a dermatologist performs a non-invasive fat extraction as they understand the skin and what's underneath. A dermatologist can also tell you if you're a good candidate for this treatment. Good candidates for non-invasive fat removal have a small lump of fat that remains despite diet and exercise and their weight is within the normal range for their height. If you think you may be a good candidate for non-invasive fat removal treatments, you should see a board-certified dermatologist who is trained in this technique and who frequently treats patients with this technique as they have the experience needed to tell you if this treatment can successfully treat your problem. You can find a dermatologist with training in non-invasive fat removal by going to Find a Dermatologist and selecting Aesthetic Dermatology as your specialty.

When you call the office ask if they offer non-invasive fat extraction. The decision to have plastic surgery is a personal one and it's best to consider plastic surgery only if you really want to modify your appearance and are aware of all associated risks.

Della Kerfoot
Della Kerfoot

Zombie guru. Infuriatingly humble coffee enthusiast. Amateur twitter maven. Hardcore web junkie. Passionate twitter fan. Incurable internet geek.

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