Some people have problems related to excessive fat deposits in specific areas of the body, including the hips, abdomen and buttocks. This unwanted fat under the skin can be removed by means of a vacuum suction cannula, using a surgical procedure called liposuction.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) uses a special suction cannula producing ultrasound energy. This energy affects the walls of fat cells and liquefies the fat. Ultrasound liposuction can be an effective tool for removing fat from fibrous body areas, such as the upper half of the back, male buttocks, abnormally large male breasts, scarred areas, as well as in older patients. The advantages of ultrasound liposuction include lower blood loss and the ability to penetrate tissues with larger content of ligament. Unless the technique is performed correctly there is a risk of skin burns, however not very often. The fat suction is identical with other liposuction methods. Ultrasound suction cannula can be successfully combined with tumescent technique. The ultrasound-assisted liposuction is not much used due to the high costs of ultrasound device and the surgery.
The term ultrasound liposuction is often incorrectly used for external ultrasound-assisted liposuction (E-UAL) in which the fat cells are disturbed by ultrasound through skin and washed out of the body by natural metabolism. The skin is not damaged and no fat is sucked through a cannula. This technique of fat removal and body contouring is used by Ultracontour and Ultrashape devices.