What is radiofrequency liposuction?

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Radiofrequency liposuction is a new liposuction technique that literally melts away fat…with electric current. Tiny incisions are made in the skin over the fat and a probe is inserted, applying electric current until the fat melts and the skin shrinks. The probe is left in place until the skin heats up about 5 degrees. Then the probe is moved to another location. After the frying, the fat is suctioned out.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Radiofrequency liposuction often referred to a UAL or ultrasonic liposuction literally burn and liquefies the fat prior to suctioning. It may also allow for a tightening of the overlying skin. Drawbacks are larger port of entries for the cannula and possibilities of seroma formation the ultrasonic component. 
Stephen Handisides
Health Education

Many people have a 'wobbly middle' - that area of fat around your stomach. You probably call it a beer belly or pot belly.

It's incredibly difficult to shift. If you've ever tried to exercise to get rid of it, you've most likely discovered that you've lost weight in every area BUT that one.

There are 2 principle storage places for fat in the abdomen:

Subcutaneous Fat

Subcutaneous fat is the fat just under the skin. If you pull your belly in tight as possible and pinch your belly, this gives a good approximation of Subcutaneous Fat.

This fat has a very poor blood supply, does not respond to dieting very well and stretches the skin so that when you lose weight the skin can be left in folds. At present apart from causing problems with those jeans we do not believe it does a great deal of metabolic damage.

This is the fat that can be removed by Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction (RFAL).

Visceral Fat

You may have found that you could only pinch a small amount, yet your belly sticks out. This is because the distension of the abdomen results from some cause inside the abdominal cavity. There is now a treatment called BodyTite which can safely shift this area of fat and tighten up the skin where the fat has gone from. Patients are looking to lose stubborn areas of fat but aren't keen on traditional liposuction and are therefore very keen to try RFAL.

RFAL is much kinder to the body than traditional liposuction when it causes contraction of the fatty layer as well as dermal collagen. Some of the heat melts the fat which gives rise to the oily mixture that is extracted.

RFAL uses radiofrequency energy converted from electrical energy to dissolve fat cells. It causes less trauma to the skin and is more precise.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.