The Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction Technique

If diet and exercise just aren’t getting you the results you want, you may be considering liposuction as a way to rid yourself of those last bits of fatty tissue. With the procedure’s surge in popularity, there are now a range of alternative methods, each of which comes with additional benefits and risks.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) is a technique offered at Stephen T. Greenberg, M.D., F.A.C.S’s Long Island and Manhattan offices that removes excess fat after it has been liquefied. Let’s take a look at how this procedure works.

What Is Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction?

To better understand the history behind this procedure, patients should recognize the two distinct types of UAL: internal and external.

Internal UAL utilizes an ultrasonic pulse that is emitted from the cannula tube, which is normally used only for suction. This pulse liquefies fat cells, making them easier for the cannula to remove from the body. Although this technique became popular among surgeons, it also resulted in added risks, such as blood clots and seromas. Thus, internal UAL has been replaced at many practices by the external method.

External UAL uses ultrasonic waves from a device outside the body, which targets fat cells at a specified location. The cannula is then inserted to remove the liquefied cells. Because external UAL is the preferred method of Dr. Greenberg’s practice, that is the specific procedure we will examine.

Good Candidates for External UAL

The best candidates for UAL are those who qualify for liposuction in general. Consider if you meet any, or all, of the following qualities:

  • You understand that liposuction is a way to remove excess pockets of fat; it is not a primary means of weight loss.
  • You have tried diet and exercise, but are still unhappy with your results.
  • You are seeking a way to improve your body’s contours by removing an area of localized fat.
  • You are generally in good health and able to recover from such a procedure without high risks. For a better understanding of how liposuction will affect your body, consult a qualified plastic surgeon.

In addition, external UAL poses elevated risks when used over the heart, neck, chin, male chest, or female abdomen. The specific site of liposuction is an important factor when considering the UAL method.


The potential benefits of UAL are largely dependent on the patient, area of liposuction, and experience of the surgical doctor.  Here are some points to discuss in your initial consultation:

  • Less discomfort: Because the ultrasonic waves break up fat cells, the surgeon may remove them with less effort. Consequently, some patients may experience less discomfort during the operation and afterward.
  • Less blood loss: Half of the work is done externally while the ultrasound targets fat cells from outside the body. Blood loss can therefore be minimized, as the cannula makes less internal contact with non-fatty tissue. This is especially true when used in conjunction with tumescent anesthesia and epinephrine.
  • Less Bruising: Virtually every liposuction procedure will result in some temporary bruising. However, external UAL may minimize bruising in some patients, making for an easier recovery.


Like most operations, liposuction poses a risk of infection. Bruising and swelling are common during recovery, but you should report any increased or prolonged symptoms to your doctor. Risks that are specific to external UAL include additional scarring or the unintended targeting of adjacent tissues. However, these risks are heavily influenced by surgical experience, and patients should therefore ensure they use a knowledgeable, highly trained surgeon.

Contact Us to Set Up an Appointment

If you are considering a liposuction procedure, contact one of our offices to consult one of the nation’s premier cosmetic surgeons. We will gladly accommodate your needs and concerns, and help you arrange an initial consultation with Dr. Greenberg. Don’t wait to have your questions answered; contact us today!

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