Therapeutic ultrasound treatment for excessive skin on the upper arms due to extensive weight loss after bariatric surgery: A single blind, randomised, controlled trial

J Plast Surg Hand Surg. 2015;49(6):353-7. doi: 10.3109/2000656X.2015.1058270. Epub 2015 Jul 9.


Background: Excessive skin is a side-effect of massive weight loss. The only evidence-based treatment for excessive skin is plastic surgery. Non-invasive treatments, therefore, need to be evaluated. The aim of this study was to investigate effects of therapeutic ultrasound treatment on excess skin on the upper arms after bariatric surgery.

Method: Fourteen patients were randomised to receive five treatments, each lasting for 30 minutes with active ultrasound treatment by CellsonicTM (Cellsonic Ltd) on one arm. The other arm served as control. The effect was evaluated objectively by measuring arm volume, circumference, and ptosis, and subjectively by a questionnaire where the patients assessed the effect of the treatment and amount and/or discomfort of the excess skin.

Result: No statistical differences were observed in the objectively measured variables. Some patients reported perceived effects and a majority reported positive experiences of the treatment. No side-effects were reported.

Conclusion: This study could not find any objectively measured effect of ultrasound treatment on excessive skin after bariatric surgery. However, participants experienced relief of symptoms associated with excess skin, such as pain, looseness, and decreased skin burst, which indicates that ultrasonic treatment of patients with excessive skin should be further investigated.

Keywords: Excess skin; ultrasound; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bariatric Surgery / adverse effects
  • Bariatric Surgery / methods*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / diagnosis
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Skin*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / methods*
  • Upper Extremity
  • Weight Loss*