Fat reduction procedures are soaring to new levels of popularity. Today’s patients have a plethora of treatment options that can sculpt a leaner and more toned physique, all of which can be broken down into two primary categories: surgical and non-surgical. These are very different approaches, both with advantages and disadvantages. The hard part is deciding which one you want.
At Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, we believe it’s crucial for our patients to understand their options and know exactly what they’re getting. Dr. Andrews’ Bi-Sculpt body contouring procedure is a cutting-edge take on traditional liposuction. Minimally-invasive and non-invasive fat reduction treatments — like AirSculpt and CoolSculpting — are alternatives for patients who don’t want to undergo major surgery.
How do these options compare, and which one is right for you? Let’s explore.
Bi-Sculpt blends the benefits of traditional liposuction with power-assisted liposuction (PAL) for maximum results. To perform the procedure, Dr. Andrews makes small incisions in the skin and uses an oscillating cannula to break up fat cells before they’re suctioned out of the body. This process makes fat extraction faster and more effective, as well as gentler on the surrounding tissues for a shorter and more comfortable recovery. The fat cells are physically removed from your body and never return.
Non-invasive fat reduction is a broad term that refers to various non-surgical fat reduction treatments. These treatments don’t remove fat cells from the body. Instead, they use some kind of technology that doesn’t require incisions to damage fat cells. Then, it’s up to your body’s immune system to eliminate the treated fat cells over a period of weeks following the procedure. For example…
CoolSculpting is completely non-invasive, while Bi-Sculpt is a surgical procedure. The CoolSculpting treatment works by using a targeted cooling process (cryolipolysis) to freeze unwanted fat cells and initiate a natural response that gradually removes them from the body. Patients are awake and free to relax while applicators are placed on their body. CoolSculpting does not involve incisions, sutures, scarring or needles and needs no anesthesia.
There are also minimally-invasive fat reduction procedures. Think of them as a middle ground between liposuction and non-invasive fat reduction. For example…
AirSculpt uses air pressure and laser to soften and remove unwanted fat. Like Bi-Sculpt, AirSculpt is performed with a cannula that must be inserted under the skin. Patients are not given general anesthesia, meaning they are awake throughout the AirSculpt treatment. Downtime is minimal and the fat cells are removed from the body right away, so only one treatment is required per area in most cases.
Now let’s get down to the details. Which procedure will deliver your desired body transformation? Ultimately, it depends on what’s most important to you.
Bi-Sculpt and traditional liposuction are performed by a board-certified surgeon. A plastic surgeon like Dr. Andrews utilizes their surgical training and their artistic eye to deliver precise, customized body contouring results. Non-invasive fat reduction treatments may be performed by other medical professionals, such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, who operate a machine that delivers less-personalized results.
Dr. Andrews can use Bi-Sculpt liposuction to reduce fat in many areas, including the abdomen, waist, hips, thighs, knees, calves, upper arms, chest and neck. Almost any area of your body can be treated with liposuction. Non-invasive fat reduction treatments tend to be more limited. Because they often involve applicators of specific sizes and shapes, they can only treat areas that can accommodate the applicators.
Bi-Sculpt physically removes fat cells from the body. They’re taken out during the treatment, so body contour improvements are visible right away. Non-invasive fat reduction relies on natural bodily processes to eliminate fat cells. They’re gradually broken down and disposed of by the immune system, which means results develop over an extended period of weeks to months. For dramatic and immediate results, liposuction can’t be beaten. For subtle results that look completely natural, non-invasive treatments excel.
Dr. Andrews can perform Bi-Sculpt procedures under general anesthesia or, if smaller areas are to be treated, local anesthesia with oral sedation. Non-surgical procedures like CoolSculpting don’t require any anesthesia. As a general rule, anesthesia-free procedures are less risky and more convenient (you can drive yourself home and don’t require assistance from a caregiver).
There is a recovery period after traditional liposuction. Fortunately, with Bi-Sculpt, downtime is limited. You can schedule the procedure for a Friday and plan to be back to work on Monday. Swelling and bruising may last several weeks. You’ll be able to appreciate your results fully once these subside. With non-invasive fat reduction, there may be no recovery period. In fact, you might be able to receive a session over your lunch break and go right back to work. Side effects are typically minimal and dissipate within a week.
Bi-Sculpt is a ‘one-and-done’ procedure. It can remove a more significant amount of fat than a non-invasive treatment, so most patients can achieve their goals with just one procedure. Non-invasive fat reduction treatments often require more than one session to achieve optimal results. Their results are cumulative — each session removes a limited amount of fat, and those improvements build over time until the patient’s goals are reached.
Non-invasive fat reduction is often billed as an affordable alternative to surgical liposuction. This can be true for some patients, but it isn’t true for all. An individual non-surgical fat reduction session is less expensive than a liposuction procedure. However, if a patient requires multiple non-surgical sessions to achieve their goals, their total investment may end up exceeding the Bi-Sculpt cost.
Bi-Sculpt and non-invasive fat reduction deliver long-lasting, perhaps even permanent, results. Both options eliminate fat for good, so you can enjoy your improved figure indefinitely as long as you lead a healthy lifestyle. The most important difference between these approaches where results are concerned is how quickly you’ll see them. With Bi-Sculpt, you can start seeing improvements right away. With non-invasive fat reduction, you’ll need to wait weeks before you can see your new contours.
When making any decisions about your body, we want you to be informed and confident. Dr. Kahlil Andrews and his staff are excited to talk you through the details and help you make the choices that are right for you. Visit our CoolSculpting and Bi-Sculpt before and after galleries to see the results our patients have achieved, then give us a call at 319-800-6877 to schedule your consultation. We look forward to taking the next steps of your journey with you.