Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regards to medical procedures.
Sonobello is one of the most popular brands in the U.S. for fat reduction surgeries and treatments. They have locations in most major cities, and a strong online presence.
In this article we’ll review the medical research behind Sonobello liposuction to determine if a trip to their offices is likely to be safe and effective for fat loss.
Sonobello Liposuction Review
Sonobello utilizes a trademarked liposuction procedure called “TriSculpt Micro-Laser Lipo”. Their site claims that the narrow width of the laser allows for more precise treatment of areas previously hard-to-treat such as the upper arms and under the chin. This seems like a marketing claim that’s unlikely to be accurate in our opinion, because laser width is not really an issue with medical treatments. Many lasers of differing width are available for a host of various procedures.
The main issue we need to assess is whether liposuction is a safe and effective procedure for fat loss generally.
One medical review of liposuction for fat loss published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that laser-assisted liposuction (the type used by Sonobello) was “more favorable” than traditional liposuction due to enhanced fat reduction effect combined with skin-tightening effect.
From a purely aesthetic perspective, liposuction seems to be effective. It’s one of the most common surgical procedures in the U.S., and at least in the short-term it appears to be effective on average for reducing visible fat.
A clinical trial published in 2019 analyzed the quality of life in participants undergoing liposuction and found that patients who underwent the procedure had improved quality of life not only in regards to their appearance but also how they felt physically.
An extensive medical review published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal tracked the results of 631 liposuction patients over 12 years. The study authors found that the “cosmetic results were good, with a 2-to-6-inch drop from preoperative measurements”, indicating that the patients lost a significant amount of visible fat.
Liposuction does have a risk of side effects, given that it’s an invasive surgical procedure. A meta-study on the safety of liposuction analyzed side effects for 3583 patients that underwent the surgery.
The rate of minor surgical complications was 11.62%, and the rate of major surgical complications was 3.35%. The most common major complication was blood loss that required a transfusion. We haven’t come across any evidence that Sonobello procedures have lower adverse effect rates than the liposuction average, so we would recommend that consumers interested in Sonobello use these figures when they’re assessing the safety of Sonobello TriSculpt Micro-Laser Lipo.
While liposuction can provide aesthetic and quality-of-life benefits in the short-term that should persist if the patient eats at or below caloric maintenance, it does not provide similar health benefits to losing the weight naturally through caloric reduction or increased exercise or both.
This is because liposuction primarily removes subcutaneous fat (the visible type that causes a “belly” above your abs), but does not reduce visceral fat (the fat around organs).
In fact, one medical trial suggested that liposuction patients may suffer from an increase in visceral fat post-procedure due to metabolic changes. The researchers found that liposuction triggered “a compensatory increase in visceral fat”, but that this fat could be counteracted by physical activity.
A more extensive medical review published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery journal analyzed the results from 12 studies on liposuction’s health effects and found that liposuction tends to have positive effects overall on cholesterol, blood sugar and cardiovascular parameters.
Overall it appears that Sonobello liposuction is likely to be effective on average for reducing visible fat, and it may improve health overall, but it comes with a relatively low risk of significant side effects.
We haven’t come across any medical evidence that Sonobello’s procedure is more effective or safe than other laser-assisted liposuction, so we recommend that patients who have decided to pursue liposuction speak with their doctors about what the most cost-effective laser-assisted liposuction option is. We don’t believe it makes sense to pay more for Sonobello without clinical proof of its improved efficacy compared with other clinics.
We don’t recommend liposuction for fat loss overall, because it carries more risk than losing weight naturally.
Sonobello Vs. Coolsculpting
Many patients interested in fat loss procedures ask us about the differences between Sonobello and Coolsculpting, the latter of which is a less invasive fat loss procedure that we reviewed in the linked article.
Coolsculpting uses a process called cryolipolysis to reduce fat and improve body contouring through application of a physical device to the skin.
While liposuction treatments like those offered by Sonobello are likely to have more dramatic effects, they also come with more serious risks, so we would recommend Coolsculpting over liposuction for aesthetic weight loss.
As we discussed at length in the linked review, Coolsculpting has a minimal side effect profile and researchers have found that it has less side effect risk.
We want to make clear that we don’t recommend either procedure overall and only recommend lifestyle changes to reduce weight; we’re simply highlighting how we would recommend Coolsculpting over liposuction when comparing the safety and efficacy of the two treatments, but patients should speak to their doctor prior to undergoing any medical procedure.
What Does Sonobello Cost?
The cost of Sonobello will depend on how extensive the treatment is. A patient seeking multiple treatments for significant fat loss will likely pay more than a patient seeking one minor contouring treatment.
Sonobello doesn’t post prices on their site, but reviews we’ve seen online seem to range from around $1,250 to $5,000 for Sonobello liposuction depending on treatment.
Sonobello does offer a free consultation on their site, and their pricing structure seems pretty transparent with a 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) if paid within 12 months using their financing partner CareCredit credit card.
We do not recommend paying for aesthetic procedures if you cannot afford them in full, but it’s good that Sonobello offers this option.
Most medical procedures don’t have listed prices online because the cost to the provider can vary so much based on patient and insurance, so we don’t have an issue with Sonobello not publishing price ranges on their site.
Sonobello settled at least one lawsuit for $1.8 million due to the death of a patient, as reported by a local news station.
In our opinion this doesn’t necessarily speak to any specific danger inherent to Sonobello, but rather the danger inherent to the invasive medical procedure of liposuction generally. Death is a rare but established side effect of liposuction in the medical literature, which is why we don’t recommend this type of treatment.
As we’ve stated multiple times throughout this article, we recommend that patients consider lifestyle changes for sustainable weight loss rather than expensive surgical procedures.
One of the simplest lifestyle changes that overweight patients can make to lose weight over time while minimizing discomfort is to increase dietary fiber intake. Many patients are unaware that dietary fiber is proven in medical literature to lead to weight loss in a dose-dependent manner, and this effect is particularly strong in overweight or obese individuals.
Many overweight patients don’t consume enough fiber, and adding more to your diet is an affordable and relatively easy way to lose weight.
We recommend fiber from whole foods over fiber from supplements for nutritional reasons, but for patients set on achieving fiber from supplements, we recommend finding a product without any filler ingredients. Many popular commercially-available fiber powders like Metamucil have questionable additives we recommend avoiding for health reasons like artificial flavoring, artificial food dye and artificial sweeteners.
Some good whole foods sources of fiber are avocados, green beans and sweet potatoes, but these are just a handful of examples out of many. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains a useful database that consumers can use to look up the fiber (and other nutritional) content of various foods.