Ultrasonic-assisted lipoplasty (UAL) helps people who have areas of fat cells in the chin, neck, hips, abdomen, thighs, buttocks and even calves and ankles that will not shrink no matter how much they diet or exercise.
This method is an enhancement to the currently used tumescent liposuction method because UAL uses high-frequency sound waves to liquefy fat beneath the skin's surface before removing it with gentle suction and liposuction cannot liquefy fat cells.
Also, the use of sound waves prevents surrounding blood vessels and connective tissue from being damaged because fat cells are selectively destroyed and removed.
A good candidate for UAL is a person of average or slightly above average weight, in good health, with a localized area of fat that does not respond well to diet and exercise.
UAL can perform board-certified plastic surgeons that have undergone specialized training required by the Ultrasonic Liposuction Task Force established by three major plastic surgery societies: The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society and The Lipoplasty Society.
During the procedure, the skin is marked to indicate the precise area from which the fat will be removed. Then, a patient will receive an injection of a large amount of very dilute anesthetic solution to numb and swell the fatty area (tumescent technique).
After, a thin tube-like instrument (an ultrasonic probe) is inserted beneath the skin through a small incision and it is maneuvered in a crisscross pattern while sound waves generate negative pressure, causing the fat cells to implode, or collapse, and liquefy. The liquefied fat and anesthetic fluid are removed using gentle suction.
After the procedure, the patient must wear a tight-fitting garment (a girdle or thick support hose) for up to six weeks. To keep the new shape and new weight after this lipoplasty, the patient will need to follow a proper diet and exercise plan.
The results of the procedure can vary and it is based on the volume of fat cells removed and area of removal. If the patient gains weight again after the procedure, usually it will not concentrate in treated area because there are fewer cells in the treated area in which fat can be deposited but UAL will not prevent the patient from regaining weight.
Ultrasonic-assisted lipoplasty carries the same risks as all liposuction surgery, such as the rare occurrence of infection, blood or fat clots; or cosmetic risks like a change in skin pigmentation, or skin texture and postoperative fluid collections (seromas) but these can be drained with a needle and a syringe.
With UAL, there is also a risk of burns caused by heat from the ultrasonic probe but it is minimized when performed by a surgeon skilled in lipoplasty.