Types of Fat Reduction and How to Choose the Right One

Types of Fat Reduction and How to Choose the Right One

In the United States alone last year, nearly half (49.1%) of the adult population attempted to lose weight. The prevalence of obesity has grown over the last several years and while many are making the shift toward a healthy, active lifestyle, it can be more than difficult to battle fat with diet and exercise alone. For some, fat reduction is the complementary strategy they need to get over the big hurdle and continue to a lower weight through fitness and nutrition. If you’re in that camp, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of non-surgical fat reduction procedures performed continues to rise, gaining 186% in the last year, with an increase in cellulite and fat reduction treatments. But that then leads us to the next question: which fat reduction treatment is right for you? 

Give how our bodies are unique, there may be a fat reduction treatment that is better suited to you and your aesthetic goals. Here, we explore some of the top trending body slimming treatments, alongside two non-invasive options, so you can better understand what may be best for you before booking a consultation with a trusted treatment provider.

Fat Reduction Injections

It may seem strange to consider how a simple needle is able to help fend off fat, but injection lipolysis—injections for fat reduction—are an option for smaller fat pockets. Using deoxycholic acid, fat reduction injections work to deliver the acid to targeted fat cells, immediately breaking down fat cells on contact to help shape and smoothen unwanted fat pockets, specifically under the chin. Deoxycholic acid does naturally occur in the body, contributing to the breakdown of fat cells for improved digestion, but in injectable form, the acid is much more potent. As such, it can be a controversial choice, though the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this procedure for excess fat under the chin (the “double chin” area). Of course, injections are an invasive option and as with any needle, bruising and sensitivity may be expected. (For those looking to treat fat along the chin, there are other options that can do the trick without injections.) Ongoing maintenance will be needed, although radio frequency-based anti-aging treatments that work to tighten skin may do the trick for some patients moving forward and prove a more comfortable treatment option with no downtime required.


Cryolipolysis utilizes extreme cold, delivered deep below the skin’s surface, to break down stubborn fat cells and smoothen the silhouette. These treatments are typically safe and do not harm nerves, skin, and muscle tissues as they tend to have a lower freezing point. However, this means that cryolipolysis is only an option for patients who want to reduce fat volume but not to tighten the skin or shape the body. Treatment sessions last about an hour and as recent studies suggest, up to 25% fat reduction may be expected per treatment session. The total number of treatment sessions to achieve optimal results will vary by patient. As per FDA approvals, cryolipolysis is available for targeting excess fat on the abdomen, hips, thighs, back, upper arms, and buttocks.


Ultrasound-based fat reduction treatments use focused ultrasonic energy (sonic waves) transmitted through the skin’s surface to target fat deposits. These sonic waves apply rapid pressure to fat cells, damaging the cell wall and essentially liquefying fat in the form of triglycerides that are then processed in the liver and eliminated from the body. Over time, these ultrasonic treatments offer a gradual reduction in targeted fat pockets, but they also carry a couple of risks. First, ultrasonic treatments that accompany liposuction are a surgical procedure, so there are risks of infection. Further, ultrasonic fat reduction treatments done alone can carry a higher risk of nerve damage as well as skin damage, including eczema, thinning, and scarring. (If scarring does occur, there are some treatment options you may seek out to minimize the appearance of scars.) Seeking treatment from an aesthetics professional you trust is imperative. Ultrasound fat reduction treatments are approved for use on the thighs and abdomen only with results typically seen about three months after the final treatment session.


A fat reduction treatment gaining popularity among celebrities and Hollywood elite, AirSculpting is a surgical fat reduction treatment that works to physically remove excess fat from the body using a specialized tool inserted beneath the skin’s surface. To begin, a numbing anesthesia is combined with air and injected into targeted fat cells. A laser is then inserted in the same opening, delivering thermal energy directly to fat cells, followed by a small vacuum tube to remove the fat. In contrast to liposuction, patients remain awake throughout the procedure. A small freckle-sized hole is left in the skin with no stitches are required. Notably, the procedure does not damage the fat cells, which makes this treatment ideal for those who may be considering fat transfer treatments to other areas, like the buttocks, to lift and fill.

Radio Frequency Body Slimming

A tried and tested body-slimming technology, radio frequency (RF) energy, has been utilized in medical aesthetics for 75 years and continues to be a top trending treatment modality, trusted by patients and practitioners alike. RF energy is converted into heat deep below the skin’s surface. The targeted fat cells are then killed while ensuring the health of surrounding skin cells and tissue. In fact, these RF-based body slimming treatments also help to boost the skin’s natural collagen and elastin production levels while destroying fat for a smoother, firmer, more shapely silhouette. Multi-Polar RF body slimming treatments, in particular, also use a complex algorithm to consistently and evenly deliver energy to the targeted treatment area for greater safety and comfort. RF body slimming treatments may be used to treat small and large areas alike, making these customizable treatments a popular choice.

Non-Surgical Diode Laser Fat Treatments

Non-surgical fat treatments using diode laser technology work to effectively target and break down fat for a smoother, slimmer-looking figure. The technology works to deliver thermal energy deep below the skin’s surface to heat and break down unwanted fat cells to trigger a process known as lipolysis. Lipolysis occurs when the volume of fatty tissue is reduced which, in turn, leads to a smoother and more contoured appearance. Fat treatments through diode laser technology like Venus Bliss™ are best applied on areas such as the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs, and may provide effective results in circumferential, and cellulite reduction. The Venus Bliss™ treatment may also include the device’s complementary cellulite reduction treatments that use a proprietary combination of Mutli-Polar RF and Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields (PEMF) energies to kickstart the skin’s natural collagen and elastin fiber levels—both essential building blocks for keeping cellulite at bay. Using this advanced laser and RF technology, Venus Bliss™ delivers a treatment that feels comfortable alongside results that look natural. While multiple treatments are often recommended, visible results may be seen in as little as one treatment and will continue to improve up to three to six months after your final treatment session.

How to Choose the Right Fat Reduction Treatment for You

The first step to choosing the appropriate fat reduction treatment type to suit your needs is to understand your aesthetic concerns and identify your main aesthetic goal. Secondly, you’ll want to consider your timeline, budget, and whether downtime is something you’d consider. Covering off these questions will better help you to narrow in on which treatment option may be the best choice to help you achieve your unique body goals.

Once you have your answers, or even if you’re currently struggling to put your thoughts to words, booking an initial consultation with a certified treatment provider is the next step to ensuring you achieve your aesthetic goals. A knowledgeable provider will be able to listen to your concerns and treatment priorities and suggest a customized treatment plan that will help you take significant steps toward achieving your goals. They might also be able to recommend effective pre- and post-treatment care or complementary treatments that could help you to potentially even exceed your expectations. Each case is unique, though, so having an honest and frank in-person discussion with a treatment professional and being open to their suggestions is the best path to ensuring you find the right fat reduction treatment plan.

Ready to take that next step and speak to a provider about your options? Locate a physician near you using the search field below.

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