How does ultrasonic cavitation work to remove fat?


Ultrasonic cavitation, or ultrasonic cavitation, is a cosmetic procedure used to break down fat deposits in your body. The treatment claims to work as an effective and less invasive alternative to liposuction.


There are very few risks associated with this procedure, but that does not mean there are no side effects.

Bruising and pain are common short-term side effects, and some people experience loose skin or dimples and waves in the skin after healing from this treatment.


Ultrasonic cavitation is advertised as extremely convenient as recovery is minimal and side effects are rare.

The longest part of the process may be finding and consulting with a licensed, trained provider who has experience in treatment.


Ultrasonic cavitation is generally much less expensive than traditional liposuction. Costs vary depending on the area you are treating and whether you need repeat treatment sessions, but the average is around $250-350 per treatment.


The effectiveness of this treatment varies and more clinical trials are needed to fully understand its effectiveness.

We have some data from studies that support ultrasonic cavitation as a less invasive alternative to surgical liposuction.

Ultrasonic cavitation, also called ultrasonic lipolysis, is a body contouring treatment used to remove fatty deposits under the skin. It may also be referred to by brand names, such as Liponix or Ultrashape.

This procedure is a safer alternative to surgical options, such as liposuction. The treatment uses ultrasound radio waves to break down fat cells, which are then absorbed into your body through your lymphatic system.

Ultrasonic cavitation is different from other similar treatments, such as ultrasonic liposuction, because it does not require any incisions. This means recovery is easier. It also means that the results might be less noticeable.

The ideal candidate for ultrasonic cavitation:

  • is in good general health
  • do not smoke
  • has realistic expectations
  • is already within 15 pounds of their goal weight

Ultrasonic cavitation is meant to target small areas of fat and help shape your body. It is not a treatment for people who are trying to lose a lot of weight.

The verdict has yet to be passed on the effectiveness of ultrasonic cavitation. There is promising evidence to suggest that it is an effective body contouring treatment.

If you’re considering this treatment for yourself, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about costs, side effects, the procedure, recovery time, and more.

Ultrasonic cavitation is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. This means that you will have to pay for the treatment, and any associated costs, entirely out of pocket. Insurance usually does not cover body contouring, which includes ultrasonic cavitation.

The average cost can vary considerably and depends on:

  • which machine is used for processing
  • the level of experience of your supplier
  • how many treatments do you need

The average cost of a non-surgical fat removal treatment is $1,300.

There are not many additional costs for this treatment besides your provider’s fees. No anesthesia is usually required.

Ultrasonic cavitation appeals to many people in part because the recovery time is minimal.

This treatment is advertised as a “lunch break procedure”, which means that your appointment can usually be completed in less than an hour. You can drive immediately afterwards, and you can even go straight back to work after you’ve done it.

Ultrasonic cavitation relies on ultrasound technology to break down fat cells.

Ultrasonic waves are sent deep into the layers of your skin, causing a disruptive vibration. The fat cells then separate from each other and are dislodged from your dermal layers.

After a few days, the fat cells are absorbed by your lymphatic system and flushed out as waste from your body.

It’s hard to say how effective this treatment is, but recent research is promising.

A little study 2019 tested the effectiveness of ultrasonic cavitation for 50 women considered to be medically overweight.

Half of the women were simply following a low-calorie diet, while the other half followed the low-calorie diet with radiofrequency and ultrasound body contouring procedures.

After 5 weeks, women who had received ultrasonic cavitation showed a reduction in body fat. Interestingly, they didn’t lose more weight than the other group – they just lost body fat.

Another one small study done much earlier in 2007 followed 30 people who all received ultrasonic cavitation body contouring treatment.

The participants all saw a reduction in body fat after three treatments. The area of ​​body fat treated was reduced by one to three centimeters at the end of the study.

This study also showed that the study participants did not lose weight – they just lost fat.

The ultrasonic cavitation procedure is quite simple.

On the day of your appointment, your doctor may ask you to privately undress and put on a paper gown, depending on the area of ​​your body you are treating.

Your doctor may sterilize the area of ​​your treatment with alcohol. Using a hand-held ultrasound device, they will slowly scan the target area of ​​your body.

You may feel a warm sensation during the procedure and hear a buzzing sound coming from the ultrasound system. Treatments usually last between 40 minutes and an hour.

Some studies suggest that this treatment is most effective at reducing fat in “fibrotic” areas of your body, which include your back and chest.

Ultrasonic cavitation is also frequently performed on:

  • stomach
  • hips
  • face
  • neck
  • upper arms
  • thighs

Ultrasonic cavitation is considered a low-risk treatment for most people. Common side effects include:

In some cases, the skin does not absorb fat evenly after it is broken down. Bumps, bumps and valleys on your skin may appear after ultrasound cavitation treatment.

These skin irregularities can be resolved with follow-up treatments.

After ultrasonic cavitation, you should be able to get up and go home.

Pain and bruising are usually minimal. You will be asked to hydrate as much as possible after the procedure to help your body eliminate fat cells from your lymphatic system.

But don’t expect to see results right away. Right after your appointment, your body may feel bloated or swollen. It takes time for your body to break down and dissolve fat cells that have been dislodged.

You may also need repeat treatments to see visible results. Most candidates for this treatment see their final result within 6 to 12 weeks. On average, a treatment requires 1 to 3 visits for visible results.

The results of this treatment are permanent, as long as you maintain a healthy diet and exercise. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, fat deposits may return to areas that have been treated.

To prepare for your appointment, your provider will give you detailed instructions, which you must follow carefully.

Be sure to disclose the following to your provider before your appointment:

  • any medical conditions you have
  • any herbal supplements you take
  • any medicine you have been prescribed

Avoid drinking alcohol for at least 48 hours before your appointment.

You may also be advised to avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, for 2 weeks before your procedure.

Drink plenty of water before and after your treatment so that your body can eliminate fat deposits quickly.

Ultrasonic cavitation is a form of non-invasive body contouring, just like the CoolSculpting treatment.

These two treatments have the same objective: to reduce fat and refine the silhouette.

Neither treatment is a weight loss treatment, and both procedures are safer and less invasive than liposuction.

Ultrasonic cavitation removes fat cells using ultrasonic frequencies, while CoolSculpting works with your body’s natural response to cold temperatures to eliminate fat.

CoolSculpting treatment is generally more expensive than ultrasonic cavitation, and the time you spend in the doctor’s office to get the treatment is longer.

There are ultrasonic cavitation devices that you can buy for home use. These devices aren’t cheap, but they are generally more affordable than in-office treatments.

The effectiveness of these devices varies. A device capable of delivering 4.4 to 7.5 megahertz (MHz) of ultrasound for a period of 20 to 50 minutes at a time can be comparable to a skin-tightening treatment you would get in a clinical setting.

Ultimately, it’s probably safe to try these products, but you may be wasting your money.

A good provider will offer you a consultation where they will discuss your treatment options and provide you with a portfolio of their work for you to peruse.

Choosing a licensed and trained provider with experience in ultrasonic cavitation will make a significant difference in how your results look.

It is also important for your safety to choose a supplier certified in ultrasonic cavitation. You can start your search for a certified supplier by using the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s search tool.