One of the most active areas of innovation in the aesthetic field during the past decade has been nonsurgical fat reduction treatments. It seems we see a new product introduced every few years that promises dramatic body contouring without downtime. A number of patients considering liposuction at my Chicago practice ask how the non-invasive treatments compare with surgical fat removal.
The most recent product that’s been gaining attention is called EmSculpt. The device promises not only to burn fat but also to build muscle. Those are goals that appeal to just about anyone, but we need to look at how the results compare to those provided by liposuction. That’s what I’ll do in this blog post, but first I’ll provide a brief explanation of the liposuction techniques I use.
What Is Liposculpture?
Multiple liposuction techniques using various technologies exist. I prefer a more refined form of liposuction called liposculpture. Using an extremely small cannula (the device used to suction fat from the body), I can get excellent, sculpted results without significant scarring. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) is another technique I employ. It uses ultrasound energy to gently break apart the fatty tissue before it’s extracted. Different types of fat require different treatments, an issue I explored in an earlier blog post.
Liposuction vs. EmSculpt
First, it’s important to understand that neither liposuction or any nonsurgical fat reduction procedure are designed to reduce weight significantly. The best candidates for liposuction are men and women who are already at or near their ideal weight and who want to rid themselves of stubborn pockets of fat. So, how do the procedures stack up against each other?
- Number of treatments: The tradeoff when comparing liposuction, which is a form of surgery, to non-invasive treatments such as EmSculpt is usually downtime vs. the number of treatments needed to get the desired results. EmSculpt and other procedures such as CoolSculpting® require multiple visits to the surgeon’s office. Liposuction accomplishes the optimal outcome in a single procedure but does require some recovery time. However, in my experience most liposuction patients can return to work the next day, and there is actually less overall pain than with noninvasive procedures in which the body has to get rid of the injured fat. With liposuction, the fat is removed at the time of the procedure. Liposuction should be considered a minimally invasive procedure. The incisions are tiny (the size of a large needle), and do not require sutures. The procedure is done under local anesthesia with sedation, and can often be done in the office.
- Noticeable results: Liposuction is a true body contouring procedure in which a surgeon methodically and carefully sculpts attractive contours by removing and repositioning fat. That’s especially true when I perform liposculpture. Nonsurgical fat reduction results are inconsistent and can’t match the dramatic outcomes produced by liposuction.
- Treatment areas: Liposuction can address virtually any area of the body from the calves to the neck. It’s a versatile and totally customizable procedure. EmSculpt, on the other hand, is currently only approved by the FDA to reduce fat in the abdomen and buttocks.
- Cost of liposuction: This is where the saying “you get what you pay for” applies. In considering costs, remember that liposuction is a 1-time procedure with long-lasting results for patients who lead healthy lifestyles. EmSculpt provides temporary results and requires numerous treatments. Those sessions can begin to add up. In addition noninvasive procedures do not always give the desired result. I have performed liposuction on multiple patients who were disappointed in the results from noninvasive procedures.
As you can see, there’s really no comparison when assessing the benefits of liposuction vs. EmSculpt or any other nonsurgical fat reduction procedure. These treatments have their place, but I recommend that you don’t think of them as liposuction alternatives.
If you’re considering liposuction, contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call our office at (312) 788-2560 to schedule an appointment.