There’s no question that in recent years, people have become more open about the plastic-surgery procedures they’ve had done. Whether it’s celebrities, influencers, or people you know in real life, the entire subject has become less taboo. These range from tiny “tweakments” like injectables to more invasive surgeries like liposuction and “baby” facelifts, which are micro versions of the real thing. If you’ve recently noticed an uptick in videos on social media regarding a buzzy procedure called AirSculpt, you might be wondering what it is.
In short, the procedure removes unwanted subcutaneous body fat, and it’s similar to liposuction, although there are some key differences. To get into the nitty-gritty, ahead we chat with board-certified plastic surgeons on everything to know about the trending surgery, including what it is, how much it costs, and what results you can expect.
What Is AirSculpt?
“AirSculpt is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to remove unwanted subcutaneous body fat,” Steven Williams, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon, tells POPSUGAR. It’s FDA-approved and very similar to liposuction, but it has a slightly faster recovery process. “It’s a minimally invasive procedure for body contouring that can also transfer fat in [other] areas of the body,” plastic surgeon Andrew Peredo, MD, says.
AirSculpt can be used on areas like the hips, abdomen, arms, thighs and legs, the tailbone areas and back, the lower neck, and under the chin. “There is also the option to use AirSculpt in the pubic area,” plastic surgeon Samuel Lin, MD, MBA, FACS, says. “The only area where AirSculpt is not used is the region above the chin, due to the higher concentration of nerves in the area.”
Prior to the procedure, patients will undergo a medical screening to make sure they’re a good candidate for the procedure, which typically includes people who are looking to get rid of stubborn areas of fat but have shown resistance to diet and exercise. “The procedure is not intended for weight loss, but is best for patients who would like to target and contour specific assets of their body,” Dr. Lin says, noting that some habits, such as smoking, can prolong the healing process.
As for the surgery itself, the time it takes to complete will depend on the areas being treated, but patients can expect it to last between 45 minutes to four hours.
Differences Between AirSculpt and Liposuction
“A traditional liposuction procedure uses a large cannula to break up excess fat before removing,” Dr. Lin says. “In comparison, the AirSculpt device uses a much thinner vibrating cannula to break up and remove fat.” Additionally, the fat removed by the AirSculpt device can be redistributed to other areas of the body if the patient requests it. Because of this, Dr. Lin says that it’s often combined with other plastic-surgery procedures such as gluteal, breast, and hip augmentation procedures. Also, full recovery from AirSculpt is typically shorter than liposuction.
The results you can expect to see from AirSculpt are similar to the results you’d expect to see from liposuction. “Patients can expect a modest amount of fat removed during the procedure, with the result being a contoured form in the area where AirSculpt was used,” Dr. Lin says. The final results can be seen within roughly six months, once the swelling has started to fully subside and new collagen has formed. “Results can be lasting, though it is recommended to keep a healthy diet and regular exercise plan to minimize post-procedural weight gain.”
AirSculpt Side Effects
“The side effects are minor and include bruising, swelling, numbness, itchiness, and skin irritation,” Dr. Peredo says. “These side effects should not last long and will diminish as you recover.” However, as with any invasive procedure, there is a small risk of infection and scarring. That being said, Dr. Lin adds that less anesthesia may be required for AirSculpt, thus no anesthesia-related side effects are implicated. “Some patients have reported dissatisfaction with lumps or irregularities in contouring long-term if they regain weight after the procedure,” he says.
The price of AirSculpt will vary depending on your location and the provider you choose. However, Dr. Lin notes that it may be more expensive than traditional liposuction procedures and will set you back anywhere between $5,000 to $24,000, “with an average of around $13,000,” he says. The final cost will vary depending on the areas treated and the amount of fat that is expected to be removed.