A Review of the Use of Ultrasound for Skin Tightening, Body Contouring, and Cellulite Reduction in Dermatology

Dermatol Surg. 2018 Jul;44(7):949-963. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001551.


Background: Ultrasound (US) technology uses acoustic waves to heat tissue, resulting in thermal damage and coagulative necrosis leading to the renewal of skin elasticity, body contouring, and destruction of cellulite.

Objective: This review will discuss the use of US for skin tightening, body contouring/sculpting, and cellulite reduction.

Materials and methods: A literature search identified studies using US for skin tightening, body contouring/sculpting, and cellulite reduction.

Results: Two hundred thirty-one studies were identified using US technology. Twenty studies each were identified addressing body contouring/sculpting and skin tightening, and 2 studies for cellulite reduction. Ultrasound is efficacious for skin rejuvenation, body contouring, and reduction of cellulite of the face, décolletage, abdomen, and thighs. Ultrasound lipolysis results in a 2- to 4.6-cm decrease in abdominal circumference. Ultrasound is safe and can be used in all skin types with minimal concern for postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Conclusion: Ultrasound seems to be an efficacious, effective, and safe modality for correction of skin laxity, lipolysis, and decrease the appearance of cellulite. Adverse effects are minimal including procedural pain, postprocedure erythema, and swelling. Clinicians and patients are both satisfied with results after treatment. In this review, the authors will provide an update on the use of US in the dermatologic field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Contouring*
  • Cellulite / prevention & control*
  • Dermatology*
  • Humans
  • Ultrasonic Therapy*