- Ultrasonic cavitation is a virtually painless, non-surgical body contouring technique that’s performed as an alternative to liposuction.
- The procedure requires roughly a dozen treatments, wherein a specialist targets problem areas with low-frequency ultrasound waves.
- Patients generally report satisfactory results after undergoing ultrasonic cavitation to address stubborn fat deposits.
In keeping with the increase in demand for non-surgical alternatives to liposuction, a slew of new body sculpting options are now being offered to American consumers. These treatments use machines that deliver bursts of cold air, radiofrequency energy, and even laser beams to rid the body of cellulite, stretch marks, and stubborn fat deposits.
Ultrasonic cavitation — also known as ultrasound cavitation, cavi-lipo, or ultra cavitation — is one of the latest body contouring options to hit the market. Here’s what you need to know about this increasingly popular fat-busting treatment.
What is ultrasonic cavitation?
Ultrasonic cavitation is a minimally invasive alternative to tumescent liposuction that uses ultrasonic waves to turn fat cells into free fatty acids, which are easier for the body to get rid of.
The midsection, upper arms, thighs, hips, and chin area can be targeted with these low-frequency ultrasound waves, which penetrate the skin and create bubbles around fat deposits. The bubbles then burst, causing the body to get rid of them naturally through the urinary tract and lymphatic system.
Proponents of ultrasonic cavitation say that the technology tones and tightens skin, without causing any pain or significant downtime. The machine essentially fragments body tissue with low fiber content, while leaving the tissue structures around it intact. This is why it is also used in conjunction with certain cancer treatments and surgeries, especially those involving the pancreas or liver.
Not a weight loss treatment
Ultrasonic cavitation is a circumferential reduction procedure. This means that you won’t be able to measure your success by how much fatty tissue you’ve lost, but instead by how many inches you’ve shrunk in your treatment area. In other words, it won’t provide the same fat removal power as liposuction, but it might help you slim down those love handles or upper arms.
Generally speaking, circumferential reduction is enough for people who just want to smooth, tighten, and tone a specific body area.
What to expect from your ultrasonic cavitation treatment
For best results, most patients require between 10 and 12 treatments in-office treatments, but many see up to one to 2 inches (5 cm) of circumference reduction after only five treatments. Each treatment session lasts for around 30 to 50 minutes.
To get the most out of your treatments, doctors recommend drinking water, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising regularly in-between sessions. In fact, it’s important that patients drink at least 3 pints (1.5 L) of water before and after ultrasonic cavitation treatments in order to help the body expel the fatty acids.
You will probably be instructed to follow a low-calorie, low-carb diet for at least a day before the procedure, which will help you better burn fatty acid during the treatment and just after.
For many patients, a solution that offers long-term results is worth the extra money and time. Doctors who perform ultrasound liposuction say that the fat cells treated with low-frequency sound waves won’t return, so they do provide a permanent effect. Still, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise to keep the fat off.
Anyone with a pacemaker, a cardiac or vascular disease, or another serious condition may not be eligible from this treatment. Due to the potential for metabolic harm in the cavitation process, people with diabetes should avoid ultrasonic cavitation.
At-Home Ultrasonic Cavitation: Top Products and Alternatives
Interestingly, it is possible to perform ultrasonic cavitation at home using devices by Gizmo, Beauty Star, and Segbeauty, among others. These machines range in price, with some costing as little as $125 and others as much as $700.
Whether performed at home or in a clinic, there’s virtually no downtime and very few side effects associated with the treatment. Patients generally feel no pain or discomfort — some even find it relaxing.
Skincareguys Tristar One Laser Lipolysis Body Contour
This professional grade laser lipolysis tool is a perfect alternative to the often pricey ultrasonic cavitation tools on the market. The painless procedure targets and ruptures fat cells to provide a noninvasive body contouring experience unlike any other. Like any body contouring procedure, it is important to keep in mind that laser lipolysis will not result in any significant weight loss, rather the procedure reshapes the body to improve its overall look and feel. That said, many have compared the results of laser lipolysis to mild surgical liposuction.
Beautystar’s Radio Frequency Machine uses RF technology to tighten fine wrinkles, increase blood circulation, and even reshape your facial contour. It works by stimulating collagen cells to trigger the body’s natural healing response.
This budget-friendly device doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of the first three options on this list, but it still packs a punch.
Beetla’s massage machine offers three different settings: electronic muscle stimulation (EMS), infrared, and sonic. The ultrasonic vibration massager helps stimulate circulation, while the EMS and infrared settings tone and tighten the skin. The device can be used both on the face and body.
This device combines ultrasound technology with red LED and blue LED light therapy to cover a wide range of common skin concerns. The handheld machine’s ultrasound settings stimulate collagen production to improve the overall appearance of the face and neck.
The red LED option helps to minimize fine lines, reduce redness, and treat broken veins, while the blue LED lights target mild acne by killing bacteria.
Ultrasonic cavitation vs. other body contouring options
The primary difference between ultrasonic cavitation and other body contouring options is that its fat-busting mechanism is ultrasound waves. There are a few other things that make it stand out from the rest, though.
Understanding how ultrasonic cavitation stacks up to other treatments will help ensure that you get the right results for your body type, timeframe, and budget.
The primary difference between the two treatments is that laser liposuction treatments — which usually lasts several hours — heats fat cells before they are extracted through a cannula. Much like traditional liposuction, this typically requires anesthesia and downtime. What’s more, ultrasonic cavitation tends to cost less than laser liposuction.
When you think of CoolSculpting, you probably picture a technician blasting fat with ice-cold air. Using cryolipolysis technology, CoolSculpting lowers fat cells to 39°F (4°C), which crystallizes them and allows the body to get rid of fat cells naturally.
CoolSculpting is one of the most well-researched body contouring options out there, so it’s efficacy is proven to a higher degree than ultrasonic cavitation. Both procedures are comfortable, non-invasive, and pain-free.
Laser body contouring (SculpSure)
Another form of body contouring, SculpSure uses a 1060 nanometer laser to target adipose tissue and heat it up to between 107-116°F (42-47°C). This damages the structural integrity of the fat cells, which are then disposed of naturally through the body’s lymphatic system. Several treatments are generally required for the best results.
While ultrasonic cavitation is often compared to VASER liposuction — they both use ultrasound technology — VASER requires the use of a traditional cannula tube to physically remove fat cells. As a result, VASER may cause scarring, swelling, and more significant bruising.
Surgical body contouring
Of course, there are ways to reduce fat through surgery. One example of surgical body contouring is Athenix, which uses a water-assisted liposuction machines to dislodge fat that is then sucked out by traditional surgical cannulas.
Similarly, Sono Bello procedures use power-assisted liposuction machines in conjunction with cannulas. These body contouring options are not quite as invasive as traditional liposuction or tummy tucks, but they still use certain traditional surgical techniques to get rid of the fat. This allows patients to get the best results relatively quickly — usually after just one treatment session — but they also lead to more side effects and a longer recovery time than ultrasonic cavitation.
Cold laser (Zerona)
This FDA-approved non-surgical body contouring option uses a cold laser to emulsify fatty tissue in the treated areas. It can be seen as a mix between CoolSculpting and laser liposuction. Patients are required to undergo six painless, 20-minute treatments for the best results.
The downside of Zerona is that recovery must be accompanied by serious diet and exercise, as results aren’t as long-lasting as other types of body contouring treatments.
Leaving it to the professionals
Seeking out advice from an experienced medical practitioner is the only way to ensure that you undergo the procedure that’s best suited to your needs. The first step in your body contouring journey should be to find a board-certified plastic surgeon that you can trust.
» To find out more about ultrasonic cavitation and other alternatives to liposuction, use Zwivel’s directory to locate cosmetic doctors in your area.