Cosmetic Surgery Body Contouring Fat Removal

Fat removal procedures are commonly sought by men and women who desire a sleeker, firmer physique. Fat removal is used for body contouring and can be invasive or non-invasive.

Candidates for Fat Removal

People who are interested in fat removal should:

  • be in good overall health
  • have good skin elasticity and thickness
  • have realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure.

Fat removal techniques are varied. For the more invasive and intense procedures, patients may have to meet specific health requirements (as detailed by specific surgeons).

Types of Fat Removal Procedures

Here’s some information on some of the more popular fat removal procedures:

  • Lipo-Dissolve: Lipo-dissolve is a compound made of a soybean derivative (phosphatidylcholine) and an emulsifier (sodium deoxycholate). The compound is injected into fatty tissues in order to dissolve excess fat. Lipo-dissolve has been the subject of much controversy, as it has not received FDA approval.


    Patients may need multiple rounds of lipo-dissolve injections before they are satisfied with the results. However, many people are drawn to this fat removal procedure because it is non-invasive and requires no recovery time.

  • Liposuction: Liposuction is usually performed on individuals who fall within a normal weight category. Liposuction works on isolated areas of fat that may make a body look out of proportion. While older patients can have success with liposuction, the procedure is generally more successful on younger adults, as their skin has more elasticity. Older patients may need skin-tightening procedures if they find that their skin does not bounce back after liposuction.


    Liposuction is usually performed with general anesthesia. During the procedure, a doctor inserts a cannula (hollow tube) into the body through tiny incisions. The cannula is connected to a suction device and allows the surgeon to target fat pockets and remove them.


    Liposuction patients may experience temporary bruising, swelling and numbness around the surgical site after the procedure. They may also have to deal with temporary fluid build up, drainage and a burning sensation. Risks associated with liposuction include asymmetry, infection, thermal burn, rippling skin or fluid retention. On rare occasions, people have died from liposuction.

  • Tummy Tuck: A tummy tuck (also known as abdominoplasty) combines belly fat removal with actual tightening of the stomach muscles. Results are often dramatic. People who have tummy tucks are left with flat, tight bellies and minimal scarring.


    Tummy tuck risks include blood clots, scarring, bleeding or infection. Tummy tuck candidates should be aware that they will need to avoid strenuous activity for four to six weeks after surgery.

  • Ultrasound Fat Removal: This procedure, pending FDA approval, only takes about one hour (although several treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired results). In this fat removal procedure, doctors use focused ultrasound waves to break up and ultimately eliminate pockets of fat that exist along the stomach, hips and thighs.


    Individuals who exercise but cannot eliminate specific fatty patches are good candidates for ultrasound fat removal.

Fat-Dissolving Options

In addition to lipo-dissolve and ultrasound fat removal, the following procedures are also non-invasive fat removal procedures:

  • Endermologie: This procedure uses mechanized suction plus therapeutic massage to break down fat cells and release water that is being retained in the body. The result is smoother thighs, buttocks and hips.
  • Mesotherapy: Like lipo-dissolve, mesotherapy uses injections to break up fatty areas and reduce bumpy patches of cellulite.
  • VelaSmooth®: This procedure uses radiofrequency to dissolve fat.


A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon (2007). Non-surgical fat removal. Retrieved August 15, 2007, from the Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Web site:

American Society of Plastic Surgery (2007). Physician’s Guide to Cosmetic Surgery: Body Contouring Surgical Procedures. Retrieved August 15, 2007, from the American Society of Plastic Surgery Web site:

NPR (2007). Fat Dissolving Injections – Too Good to Be True? Retrieved August 15, 2007, from the NPR Web site:

Surgicare (n.d.). Fat Removal (Liposuction). Retrieved August 15, 2007, from the Surgicare Web site: