With the rising demand for body contouring, noninvasive devices for fat reduction have become increasingly popular and have grown dramatically over the past decade. Highintensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) has been used for nearly half a century for the noninvasive treatment of tumors of various organs, but has only recently been evaluated as a method for the selective destruction of adipose tissue. HIFU works by ablating subcutaneous adipose tissue and causing molecular vibrations that increase the temperature of local tissue and induce rapid cell necrosis. Several studies reveal the safety and efficacy of HIFU for fat reduction in the abdomen and the flanks. These studies indicate consistent reduction in abdominal circumference >2 cm after a single treatment. The adverse events are limited to transient tenderness, bruising, and edema. Increased utility of HIFU for fat reduction will likely increase over time.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 32:26-30