Alternatives to Liposuction That Destroy Fat Cells

Traditional liposuction removes fat from the body through a hollow metal tube called a cannula. Liposuction presents few health risks, but some exist, including the risk of scarring, infection and damage to underlying structures, according to the website for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Alternatives to traditional liposuction, both surgical and nonsurgical, are available.

Woman getting a cryolipolysis treatment on her stomach Credit: Daniel Chetroni/iStock/Getty Images


LipoDissolve, a nonsurgical liposuction alternative, works by injecting the enzyme phosphatidylcholine into areas of the body containing more fat than desired. According to the Plastic Surgery Center of the South, these injections destroy fat cells and reduce cellulite. Those with areas of fat deposits on the body resistant to diet and exercise might opt for LipoDissolve to get rid of those spots. Patients might see results in four to six weeks after treatment. LipoDissolve is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for fat cell destruction.


Zeltiq is a noninvasive liposuction alternative that does not require incisions, injections or anesthesia. The Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center website reports Zeltiq destroys fat cells through use of a patented cooling technique called cryolipolysis. This procedure works by exposing fat cells beneath the skin to extremely cold temperatures for a certain period of time, which kills the fat cells. The procedure is safe and effective, with patients seeing results two to four months after treatment, according to the Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center website. The Food and Drug Administration approved Zeltig for use in fat cell destruction in September 2010.


The website for Dr. Anthony Lombardi Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery lists SmartLipo as an alternative for liposuction. This surgical alternative uses a laser lipolysis system to destroy fat cells. SmartLipo resembles traditional liposuction in that it uses a cannula inserted into the skin, but it uses a laser fiber to transfer energy to fat cells, which ruptures the cell and coagulates tissue surrounding those cells. The website claims this results in tighter skin tissue. According to, results are immediate, and the procedure is safe and effective. The FDA approved SmartLipo for the process of fat cell elimination in November 2006.

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