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Nonsurgical Fat Reduction

What Is Nonsurgical Fat Reduction

Nonsurgical and minimally invasive options for fat reduction include technology that uses heat or cooling or an injected medication to reduce fat cells. Nonsurgical fat reduction options use a variety of modalities, including ultrasound, radio frequency, infrared light, vacuum massage and injectable medication. Among the procedures that comprise nonsurgical fat reduction are cryolipolysis (e.g., CoolSculpting), injection lipolysis, radiofrequency lipolysis (e.g., Vanquish) and laser lipolysis (e.g., SculpSure). Cryolipolysis uses cold temperature to break down fat cells. Radiofrequency lipolysis uses a radio frequency to heat the fat without an instrument making physical contact with the patient. Laser lipolysis uses laser heat energy delivered through an applicator.


For reference, for body contouring in the abdomen area, a premium clinic in Chicago is charging $750 for both CoolSculpting® and EmSculpt® per treatment.

Some patients may opt to have more than one area treated or to retreat an area more than once. Prices may be based on the total number of treatments received, the specific type of fat reduction procedure, the expertise and qualifications of the person performing the treatment, time and effort the procedure requires, and your geographic location.

Recovery & Downtime

There are no activity restrictions and no downtime.

For cryolipolysis, patients sometimes feel sore, as if they had worked out. Rarely do patients experience pain. The injured fat cells are gradually eliminated by the body over 4 to 6 months. with an average fat reduction of about 20 percent.

For radiofrequency lipolysis, patients with treatment to the abdomen have averaged a reduction of just under two inches, though not all patients have a measurable, perceptible reduction.
For laser lipolysis, patients sometimes feel tender or notice redness or swelling. Results may first be visible at 6 weeks and are apparent by 3 months.

Best For

Patients who wish to reduce a localized fat bulge that has persisted despite diet and exercise may be interested in nonsurgical and minimally invasive options for fat reduction. Patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not have these procedures. Patients with loose skin or poor tone may not be suitable candidates for the procedure.

For cryolipolysis, patients with cold-related conditions, like cryoglobulinemia, cold urticaris and paroxysmal cold hemoglobulinuria are not good candidates.

For laser liposis, patients with loose skin or fat inside the abdomen and deep to the muscles are not good candidates.

Discuss with your provider your general health status, pre-existing health conditions, and current lifestyle choices for likely outcomes and any risks or potential complications.

Potential Side Effects

For cryoliplysis, there is a risk of surface irregularities and asymmetry. Patients may not get the result they'd hoped for. Rarely, in less than 1 percent, patients may have paradoxical fat hyperplasia, which is an unexpected increase in the number of fat cells. This is three times more likely in men than in women and is seen more in those of Hispanic or Latino descent.
For radiofrequency lipolysis, mild erythema has been reported.

For laser lipolysis, complication rate is low with reports of temporary redness, tenderness and swelling.


CoolSculpting®, CoolTone®, EmSculpt®, and more. Different brands and manufacturers may vary in treatment approaches and their intended results.

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