Is Liposuction Becoming Obsolete?

Having performed liposuction for nearly thirty years, I do not consider the notion lightly. I was an early member of the American Lipoplasty Society which was dedicated to bringing excellence to what was, at the time, a novel treatment in the United States. Gaining expertise from bold innovators in South America and other areas around the world, I learned body contouring with liposuction as a refined art. Over the years, I have utilized many of those refinements, optimizing liposuction for the removal of unwanted fat in my patients. Over the past six years, I have been involved with the latest stage of development in body contouring: completely nonsurgical fat reduction.

What initially sounded to me like an empty promise, too good to be true, is now a reality. We can reliably reduce fat without resorting to surgical liposuction. There are procedures such as tummy-tucks and facelifts, which will always include liposuction as an adjunct treatment. But, these procedures already involve surgery and anesthesia. What about the times when you just want to reduce fat and do not need or want to undergo surgery? Are there still times when liposuction alone is warranted to reduce fat? Five years ago, I would have said, “absolutely.” Now, I am hard-pressed to find a situation in which I could not use my newer, nonsurgical options to achieve the same or better results without liposuction.

Whereas, in the past, I would have readily used liposuction to reduce inner and outer thighs, I now use CoolSculpting® which costs my patients less and avoids the risks of surgery. Years ago, when a patient was not ready for a facelift, but wanted to reduce her double chin, the only treatment I had to offer her was liposuction. I often performed it under local anesthesia, and took great care and precision to optimize the aesthetic result. But the results I can now achieve with Kybella®, a nonsurgical injection treatment to reduce fat, have rivaled my artistic neck liposuctions at half the cost.

Kybella Neck Treatment

As I have said many times before, just because something is nonsurgical, doesn’t make it easy. In fact, many of these nonsurgical treatments are harder to optimize than their surgical counterparts. But when done skillfully and artfully, they do indeed have the potential to make at least some surgeries obsolete.