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How to Get Rid of Stubborn Fat

Stubborn pockets of fat can be both embarrassing and infuriating. No matter how closely you adhere to a strict dietary regimen, no matter how diligently you attend exercise classes or how fervently you hit the gym they can still remain. Both men and women can experience stubborn fat in ‘problem’ areas like the abdomen, buttocks, upper arms, thighs and flanks (love handles). Even when you lead a healthy lifestyle and eschew alcohol, tobacco and junk foods they can still persist. It can feel like a mockery of your hard work and diligence, both in the kitchen and in the gym. 

Unfortunately, there are multiple genetic and environmental factors that can keep stubborn belly fat and pockets of fat in other problem areas attached to our body like the hips, arms and legs. For men, causes of stubborn fat on the chest, known as gynecomastia (commonly referred to as ‘man boobs’) can be a source of acute embarrassment that is utterly resistant to dieting and exercise.

Fortunately, there are multiple ways in which you can get rid of stubborn belly fat and target other problem areas that seem impervious to exercise. Here we’ll look at some of the procedures that can help you to get rid of stubborn fat. Some require surgery, while others are minimally invasive. 


Developed in 2009 by the famed late cosmetic surgeon Professor Motolese, Aqualyx emulates the body’s own fat-burning processes to achieve targeted results. 

A synthesised form of deoxycholic acid is injected directly into problem areas. This is the substance that occurs naturally in the body and breaks down stored fat whenever we burn it off through exercise of calorie deficit. The fat is dissolved naturally and expelled from the body through the lymphatic system within a few weeks of the procedure. 

Aqualyx can be used on problem areas such as the abdomen, thighs, chin, knees and chest. It also lends itself well to the treatment of gynecomastia in men. 

Results will start to reveal themselves any time after 6 weeks, although most patients have noticed results within 3 months. Treatment around the chin often yields near-instantaneous results.

The whole process takes just 30 minutes, and no downtime is required, making it a good fit for busy lifestyles. Patients may experience some tenderness around the affected area, although this usually abates within 2 weeks.

Aqualyx treatments usually cost around £300-£500 per session.

Vaser lipo 

Vaser (Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance) lipo is a minimally invasive alternative to surgical liposuction. It uses advanced ultrasound technology to target fat cells without affecting surrounding tissues. 

A local anaesthetic is administered to the patient and a small incision is made in the problem area. A probe is then inserted. This probe emits ultrasound energy to liquefy the fat cells. Once this is done, the liquified fat is removed by gentle suction using a surgical vacuum.

Vaser lipo is a highly versatile treatment that can be administered to many problem areas around the body. As well as getting rid of stubborn belly fat, it can also be used on areas like the arms, thighs, flanks, buttocks and back. Again, it can also prove effective in the treatment of gynecomastia. 

Unlike surgical liposuction, downtime is very minimal and most patients are able to return to their normal work and routines within days. It is common for patients to experience bruising and swelling around the affected area, and wearing a compression garment for the first 2-4 weeks after surgery can help to reduce this. Massage to manually drain the lymphatic system can aid in a faster recovery.

Although patients will notice a difference immediately after the procedure, it usually takes between 5 and 6 weeks to see the end result.

Prices usually start at around £2,000-£3,000 per area.

Vaser hi-def

Vaser hi-def works in the same way as vaser lipo. A small ultrasonic probe is inserted into a small incision in the problem area under local anaesthetic. However, instead of just removing the fat, the attending clinician also works to remove both superficial and deep fat around the muscle groups. 

This can result in a more toned and well-defined appearance that enhances your efforts at the gym. If you struggle to get a 6-pack despite a strict dietary and exercise regimen, this procedure can help you to achieve the desired result by targeting the types of fat that can be particularly hard to shift during exercise. 

Vaser hi-def is best suited for the abdomen and chest, although it can also be used to tone the appearance of the upper arms, legs and buttocks. 

It is common to experience a little swelling and tenderness immediately following the procedure. However, most are able to return to their usual routine after 3-5 days. 

Vaser hi-def typically costs between £3,000 and £6,000 per treatment, depending on the area affected.

Micro lipo 

As the name suggests, micro-lipo uses the same techniques as surgical liposuction. However, it requires smaller incisions and uses smaller tubes (cannulas), making it a good option for targeting smaller and more delicate areas of the body. 

Micro lipo is most commonly administered to the inner thighs, knees, flanks, and arms. It can also be used on the male chest. 

Despite the small size of the cannulas, this procedure can be used to remove up to 3.5 litres of fat in a single treatment. 

An anaesthetic fluid is injected into the affected area, which not only numbs but also engorges the area. The added pressure helps to separate fat cells from their surrounding tissues so that they can be gently sucked out of the body through the tiny cannulas. 

Patients will usually notice some change straight away, although it usually takes 3-4 weeks to see the final results. Downtime is fairly minimal, with most patients returning to their normal routines within 48 hours. A compression garment is usually worn for up to 6 weeks after the procedure to combat swelling. 

Micro lipo is a very rare treatment, as only a handful of surgeons in Europe are qualified to provide this treatment. Costs start at £3,500 although this may be significantly higher if multiple areas need to be treated.

Cool sculpting

Cool sculpting (also known as fat freezing) is a non-surgical treatment to help remove stubborn fat from problem areas around the body. 

It can be used to target stubborn fat in a range of areas including the chin, upper arms, back and sides (bra fat), flanks, thighs and buttocks. As well as, of course, helping to get rid of stubborn belly fat.

The patient lies down on a treatment bed and a gel pad is placed over the areas that are about to be treated to ensure there is no damage to the skin. An applicator is then applied to the area, which incorporates a vacuum to gently pull the skin towards it. The applicator then cools quickly, numbing the area and targeting the fat cells beneath the skin. These are frozen and crystalised, causing them to die and be processed by the body through the lymphatic system. 

Treatments typically take between 30 and 60 minutes, and because there is no discomfort, patients can read, watch TV, play a few mobile games or catch up on their social media accounts while the procedure takes place. After treatment, the applicator is removed and the affected areas are massaged.

Patients may require more than one treatment to achieve their ideal results. However, most will start to see a difference within 8-12 weeks with all target cells purged from the body within 4-6 months. 

No recovery time is required, and while treated areas may experience some slight tenderness, most patients are able to dive right back into their normal work, routine or exercise regimen. 

A single treatment usually costs around £400-£500 with courses of treatment costing anywhere between £1,500 and £4,500.

Surgical liposuction

Liposuction is a common surgical solution for getting rid of stubborn fat. The patient is sedated and a small incision is made around the problem area. A tube called a cannula is then inserted into the incision. This is connected to a powerful surgical vacuum that sucks the fatty tissue out of the problem area. 

This is often combined with a tummy tuck to create a lipoabdominoplasty or Brazilian tummy tuck. However, liposuction is by no means limited to the abdomen or flanks. It can also be used on the arms, legs, hips, chin, knees and buttocks. 

Results are near-instantaneous. However, because the procedure results in some swelling it will usually take a few weeks to see the results completely. There is a little more downtime than there might be for a micro lipo treatment. However, most patients find that they are ready to return to work within a week or so with only minor discomfort. However, patients are not able to exercise for the first month after surgery, and a compression garment should be worn for the first 4 weeks. 

The cost of surgical liposuction can range anywhere between £2,000 and £6,000.

Tummy tuck / Brazilian tummy tuck

An abdominoplasty (colloquially known as a ‘tummy tuck’ is a surgical procedure designed to target loose skin and sagging fatty deposits around the belly. This is often referred to as a ‘mother’s apron’ as it is typically experienced by women after giving birth. 

The patient is placed under a general anaesthetic, and an incision is made along the base of the abdomen. This is easily concealed by clothes, underwear or swimwear when the procedure has been completed. The belly button is removed and repositioned as excess skin and fat are removed and the abdomen is stitched back together. 

Sometimes liposuction is also carried out to remove more fat and provide greater contouring around the stomach. This is known as a lipoabdominoplasty or ‘Brazilian tummy tuck’.  

As this is a surgical procedure, it requires at least 2-3 weeks of recovery time and you will be unable to work or exercise during this time. Patients will need to wear a support garment throughout the first 2-4 weeks. Because there will inevitably be swelling and the incisions will need time to heal, patients can expect to get the measure of their results around 6 months after the surgery.

Patients can expect to pay approximately £4,500-£6,000 for a tummy tuck or up to £6,500 for a Brazilian tummy tuck.