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What is Non-Surgical Liposuction & is it Effective for Arms?

liposuction arms

You may have heard the term non-surgical liposuction and wondered what it means. If you are picturing anything like liposuction you would be wrong. The name non-surgical liposuction doesn’t really have anything to do with traditional liposuction but is a term used to describe a number of non-surgical procedures for reducing fat cells.

Surgery carries many risks and side effects and even the simplest procedures can go wrong. However with non-invasive treatments there are hardly any risks involved. These treatments can be used on your arms to remove excess fat cells and help improve the look. Some techniques can help improve the appearance of cellulite and others to tighten and smooth the skin. They aren’t restricted to just the arms either. There are many areas of the body that can be treated. 

What non-surgical liposuction options are there? Here are few different types:


This non-invasive procedure is also known as fat freezing and is one of the most popular procedures. It removes fat cells with the application of cold temperatures. Fat cells are susceptible to the cold and this treatment can freeze and kill them. 

Laser fat removal

Heat is used in this procedure to destroy the fat cells.This is a minimally invasive technique and can leave some bruising and scarring. 


This procedure uses sonic waves. These waves destroy the fat cells in the stomach or other areas that are being treated. This procedure can leave a tighter more toned appearance afterwards. 


By using magnetic waves the fat cells are heated up until they melt leaving the skin above unharmed as the applicator never touches it. 

What is the difference between liposuction and non-invasive procedures?

Liposuction has been a popular way to remove fat with surgery up until now but there are risks that non-invasive procedures do not have. Cryolipolysis was developed at Harvard and is not only non-surgical but is also non-invasive meaning there are no cuts or stitches involved. The skin is not broken unlike with liposuction.

With liposuction you should expect to take up to a couple of months or more to fully recover. You will be given a general anesthetic before going under the knife. After the procedure you will be stitched up and then probably have to take antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. There will be swelling and bruising and the need for compression garments for up to 2 months. 

With cryolipolysis or fat freezing there are no drugs, cuts or stitches so you will find that you are good to go straight after the treatment. 

Can you use these procedures on your arms?

Cryolipolysis and other non-surgical procedures can be used on the arms and in many other areas of the body. Cryolipolysis for arms is popular as is using the treatment for legs, chins, stomach area, hips and buttocks. While cryolipolysis cannot remove cellulite it can help improve the appearance of it so it can be good for arms and legs. 

How does cryolipolysis work?

As you will have read above, cryolipolysis freezes fat. The procedure involves using an applicator and gel on the surface of the skin. The applicator vacuums the skin and uses cold temperatures to cool the skin until the fat cells freeze. The skin and tissues are left unharmed as are the body’s organs. The frozen fat cells then die and the body will then metabolize and eliminate these over time. 

What is the effectiveness of this procedure?

Fat freezing is an effective procedure and is approved by the FDA. Results show that it generally removes between 15-25% of fat in the areas treated and up to 28%. It takes some time for the full results to show themselves but often only one session is needed to remove troublesome bulges or fat deposits. Patients who are within 15% of their ideal weight find they have the best results. 

How long does it take to recover from this procedure?

There is no recovery time for cryolipolysis because there is no surgery. As there is no anesthetic or surgical procedures involved the patient is fully able to drive themselves away from the clinic after the procedure. There is a slight chance of some redness, soreness or swelling after but this affects less than 1% of patients and goes away normally in 24 hours. 

How long will it take before you can see the difference?

After the fat cells die there is a few weeks for the body to eliminate them and for the complete results to become clear. Normally it will take between 6 and 12 weeks for the results to show themselves although you may see some differences almost straightaway in the mirror. 

Can you have repeat sessions?

Yes it is possible to have more than one session. You may find that you only need one session to remove a problem area but perhaps you want to work on a few areas of the body. There is a waiting time that should be observed between sessions though. If you wanted to treat the same area there is a minimum waiting period of 1 month that should be followed. Some clinics may recommend you wait for up to 4 months. 

Is non-surgical liposuction permanent?

In the case of cryolipolysis then the answer is yes. As we grow we develop fat cells. This tends to stop around puberty. In our adult lives we no longer develop new fat cells but instead the cells we have just get larger. By freezing and killing the fat cells in the body you are reducing the number you have. This doesn’t mean you cannot put on weight though. If you had liposuction for instance then the body is capable of replacing those fat cells with new ones if needed and if you eat poorly with a fatty diet then the fat can be deposited in other areas of the body. 


Non-surgical liposuction can work on removing fat from the arms and over areas of the body but it shouldn’t be seen as a way to lose weight. It is used to remove stubborn areas of fat that exercise and diet have failed to shift. Keeping up an active life after the procedure will help you to maintain your new look and make the most out of cryolipolysis.

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