High-intensity focused ultrasound effectively reduces waist circumference by ablating adipose tissue from the abdomen and flanks: a retrospective case series

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2010 Oct;34(5):577-82. doi: 10.1007/s00266-010-9503-0. Epub 2010 Apr 10.


Background: Currently available technologies for performing aesthetic body sculpting are either noninvasive but require multiple treatments to achieve relatively superficial effects or very effective but also invasive and sometimes associated with serious complications. A new, noninvasive alternative is to ablate adipose tissue using high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). When focused within subcutaneous adipose tissue, HIFU quickly raises the local temperature, resulting in instantaneous cell death via coagulative necrosis within the targeted area but no damage to the surrounding tissue.

Methods: A new HIFU device, the LipoSonix system (Medicis Technologies Corporation, Bothell, WA, USA), was used by our clinic staff to reduce waist circumference via removal of excess adipose tissue from the anterior abdomen and flank areas. This report describes the results of a retrospective chart review of patients at one clinic who underwent HIFU treatment of the anterior abdomen and flank areas.

Results: A total of 85 men and women with a mean age of 43.8 years underwent a single HIFU treatment session. The time required to complete treatment was approximately 1 to 1.5 h. Using a mean energy level of 134.8 J/cm(2) and a focal depth of 1.1 to 1.6 cm, the waist circumference was decreased by an average of 4.6 cm after 3 months. Of the 85 patients, 10 (11.8%) reported adverse events including prolonged tenderness (n = 3), ecchymosis (n = 3), hard lumps (n = 2), edema (n = 1), and pain (n = 1), which resolved spontaneously.

Conclusions: The authors conclude from their experience that HIFU represents a safe and effective means for performing noninvasive body sculpting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonic Therapy*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Waist Circumference