By Barry Eppley
Q: I am looking for a non-surgical way to reduce my belly fat. I have had two kids, and as a result, I have a little loose skin on my lower belly, but it is really not too bad. I don’t have any stretch marks except a few fine ones. My problem is this little bulge below my belly button, which just won’t go away no matter how much I exercise or do sit-ups. I can’t justify in my mind to go through liposuction surgery to get rid of it, and I know my husband would never permit it anyway. I have read about several non-surgical methods, but what do you think is best and do they really work?
A: Let us start with the premise surgery, liposuction specifically, is the most effective method of spot fat reduction we know. Any non-surgical method is never going to be as good. Whatever result any non-surgical method can achieve can never compare to that of actual surgery. And thus, by comparison, it is a poorer return on one’s economic investment. The trade-off for avoiding surgery is the results will not be nearly as good, but that may be worth it for some to avoid surgery.
Once one accepts that premise, the consideration of non-surgical fat reduction can begin. While many energy-based devices exist to reduce fat without surgery, my preference is Exilis. This device generates waves that penetrate past the skin, deep into the tissues to target fat, but can also do a little skin tightening as well. (I said a little skin tightening, not to be confused with more than a small pinch.) Treatments are fairly comfortable and a series of four to six sessions during six weeks can make a very visible reduction. The radiofrequency energy breaks down fat cells walls, causing them to spill their lipid contents, which is then absorbed. In addition, there is no recovery or pain afterward, and one could go and work out immediately after if they were so motivated. For the devout non-surgical person with some localized fat collections, this can be a good alternative to liposuction. You might also consider SmartLipo done under local anesthesia, perhaps aided with a little sedation if needed. While this is still surgery, small areas can be done without being put to sleep. This will produce the best result in the shortest period of time.