High-intensity focused ultrasound effectively reduces adipose tissue

Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2009 Dec;28(4):257-62. doi: 10.1016/j.sder.2009.11.005.


Liposonix is considered to be a nonsurgical treatment for body contouring that uses high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to disrupt adipocytes percutaneously. We wanted to find out about its efficacy, effectiveness, and so forth. The technique delivers energy across the skin surface at a relatively low intensity, but brings this energy to a sharp focus in the subcutaneous fat. At the skin surface, the intensity of the ultrasound energy is low enough so that no damage occurs. The focusing of the ultrasound beam at specific depths beneath the epidermis, combined with proprietary application techniques, results in adipose tissue disruption. Once adipocytes have been disrupted, chemotactic signals activate the body's inflammatory response mechanisms. Macrophage cells are attracted to the area to engulf and transport the lipids and cell debris. This results in an overall reduction in local adipose tissue volume. Our clinical and histologic studies will show exactly what happens under the skin. We did a series of studies on gross pathology and histology, and we tried to correlate these with the clinical results. The histologies show clearly that adipocytes are disrupted by HIFU. The pathologies show the lesions, but they are always at a safe distance from dermis or the epidermis. The correlation between focal depth, energy levels, and clinical results is evident. The average circumference reduction after treatment of the abdomen and waist is 4-5 cm. Liposonix turns out to be a safe and effective technique for nonsurgical body sculpting by reduction of fat deposits.

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue* / pathology
  • Adult
  • Cosmetic Techniques / adverse effects
  • Cosmetic Techniques / instrumentation
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation / adverse effects
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation / methods*
  • Humans