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Ultrasonic Cavitation or Ultrasonic Lipolysis: Procedure & Side Effects

What is Ultrasonic Cavitation or Ultrasonic Lipolysis?

Ultrasonic cavitation is a body contouring procedure that helps remove fat deposits, from under the skin. It is a cosmetic procedure and is also known as ultrasonic lipolysis.

Some studies found ultrasonic cavitation to be less invasive than surgical liposuction.(1) It does not require any incision.

In ultrasonic cavitation, ultrasonic radio waves help break apart fat cells, which are then absorbed by the lymphatic system in the body.

How Does Ultrasonic Cavitation Work?

How Does Ultrasonic Cavitation Work?

Ultrasonic cavitation or ultrasonic lipolysis with its ultrasound technology breaks apart fat cells. The ultrasonic waves are sent deep into the layers of the skin. These waves cause disruptive vibrations. Fat cells break apart from each other and dislodge from the dermal layers.

These fat cells are then absorbed by the lymphatic system and drained out as waste from the body.

A study was done on 50 females who were overweight.(2) Half of the females simply followed a low calories diet while the others had a low-calorie diet with radiofrequency and ultrasound body contouring procedure.

It was found that those taking ultrasonic cavitation along with a low-calorie diet saw a reduction in body fat mass. But there was not much weight reduction difference in both the groups.

Another study done on 30 individuals, where all of them were given ultrasonic cavitation body contouring treatment found a reduction in body fat mass after three treatments. It was found that the participants did not lose weight but did lose body fat mass.(4)

How Is Ultrasonic Cavitation Or Ultrasonic Lipolysis Performed?

Before The Ultrasonic Cavitation Procedure

Before going ahead with the ultrasonic cavitation procedure, the healthcare provider asks about the following:

  • Medical condition present, if any
  • If the person is taking any herbal supplements
  • If the person is taking any other medication

The individual going ahead with the procedure is asked to stop drinking alcohol and avoid taking any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) at least 48 hours before the appointment. He is advised to drink plenty of water before and after the treatment.

During The Ultrasonic Cavitation Procedure

The procedure of ultrasonic cavitation is straight forward.

On the day of the procedure the individual is asked to change the clothes, depending on the area of the body the procedure is being performed.

The area of the treatment on the body is sterilized with alcohol. A handheld ultrasonic device is slowly moved over the target area. The machine makes a buzzing sound and there is a warm sensation during the procedure.

The ultrasonic cavitation procedure takes around 40 minutes – 1 hour to complete.


After the ultrasonic cavitation procedure, the individual can go back home. There is minimal pain and bruising.

The person is asked to hydrate as much as possible to help the body flush the fatty cells from the lymphatic system.

After the ultrasonic cavitation or ultrasonic lipolysis procedure, the body looks puffy and swollen. It takes time for the body to break down and dissolve the dislodged fat cells.

Repeated sessions are required to see visible results. The result is seen in 6-12 weeks.

The result can be permanent if a healthy diet and exercise routine is maintained. Those with a sedentary lifestyle would find fat returning to the treated areas.

The Target Area For Ultrasonic Cavitation

Ultrasonic cavitation or ultrasonic lipolysis can be effective in reducing fat in fibrotic places in the body that include the back and chest area.(3) Other areas where it is performed frequently are:

  • Stomach
  • Neck
  • Face
  • Upper arm
  • Hips
  • Thighs

Side Effects Of Ultrasonic Cavitation or Ultrasonic Lipolysis

Ultrasonic cavitation is a less invasive and low-risk treatment. The side effects are rare and include:

Sometimes, skin does not absorb the fat evenly after a breakdown and there may be an appearance of bumps, lumps, and valleys on the skin after this treatment. These can be resolved after the follow-up treatments.

If you want to go ahead with the procedure, look for a provider who is trained in ultrasonic cavitation. A trained provider would be able to make a significant difference in the way the result looks.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 2, 2021

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