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Woman's legs to represent cavitation

Cavitation - does it work, is it permanent and how long does it take to see results?

Cavitation is a cosmetic treatment that can help remove unwanted fat from the body.

Technically known as ultrasound cavitation or ultrasonic cavitation, it’s considered the main alternative to liposuction.

Fast facts

  • Best results

    3 sessions

  • Duration of results

    Permanent

  • Back to work

    Same day

  • Full recovery time

    No recovery time

  • Price range

    920 SAR to 1,530 SAR

  • Treatment duration

    30 to 60 min

  • Comfort

    OTC pain relief

  • Treatment type

    Non-invasive

What is cavitation?

First, a quick definition of cavitation: it is a treatment to remove excess fat from specific areas of your body, using ultrasound waves.

The procedure is delivered by a handheld device passed over your skin. And – unlike lipo – there’s no invasive surgery involved.

Cavitation is usually less expensive and more convenient than traditional liposuction and is considered especially excellent for removing fat from the chin area and jawline

Ultrasonic cavitation is designed for contouring small, specific areas of your body rather than trying to achieve weight loss.

Two women standing should to shoulder to represent cavitation

How does the cavitation procedure work?

Powerful ultrasound waves break down the fatty deposits lying beneath the skin’s surface.

Once these fat cells have been broken up, your body has to get rid of them. To do this, it relies on the lymphatic system – a network of vessels and nodes that transport fluids around your body, and help dispose of waste.

Despite being a relatively new procedure, research confirms that cavitation does indeed work, with the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons noting that “the most effective instruments for non-invasive fat reduction use ultrasounds”.

What the treatment is like

A practitioner moves the device over the affected area – for example, your stomach or hips – rather than your whole body. It may feel warm on your skin, but that’s about it. You’ll be relatively oblivious to the remarkable science taking place beneath the surface.

How it compares to liposuction

Both are fat-removal treatments. But during lipo, a surgeon will make a small cut into your skin to access the fat cells.

Cavitation doesn’t involve any incisions. Instead, it all happens over the top of your skin, so recovery time is minimal compared to what you’d need after liposuction, where you may have to take a few weeks off work, depending on your role.

The risks and side-effects are also far smaller, while liposuction is also much more expensive. You may need repeat cavitation sessions, however, so be sure to ask your practitioner about this.

Arab man standing pulling his shorts from the side to represent cavitation

Is it permanent and how long does it take to see the effects?

As with any cosmetic procedure, you should always book with a qualified clinician and sit down for a consultation to discuss your options.

Remember to shop around for a consultant who shares your vision for results.

Is cavitation permanent?

Cavitation is generally considered to produce permanent results, as the treatment breaks down fatty deposits in your body. However, the treatment doesn’t prevent your body from creating new fat cells – and it is not seen as a weight loss solution.

How long does it take to see the effects of cavitation?

You should start to see the effects between six and 12 weeks after treatment, as the process takes time to work through your body. People often have several sessions over a few weeks and months. Three ultrasound cavitation treatments are around the average number, but you may need more or less.

You’re likely to get better results if you’re a non-smoker. Smoking restricts the blood flow to your tissues, and in turn your body then needs more oxygen for healing. Try to stop smoking several weeks before having any kind of fat removal procedure to help reduce inflammation.

Does it hurt?

Generally, ultrasound cavitation doesn’t hurt – and some people even say they have found it relaxing and therapeutic. That said, you might want to take paracetamol beforehand – and clear your diary for a few days – just in case. Afterwards, avoid the gym until you’re feeling ready, and get some arnica gel to help reduce any bruising.

What are the side-effects?

Possible side-effects include tenderness around the area that’s been treated. But as it’s non-invasive, these are considerably less intense than after lipo.

Is it safe?

It is generally considered to be incredibly safe, but always make sure you seek out a qualified, experienced clinician to perform the treatment.

Alternatives

When it comes to other non-invasive cosmetic options, CoolSculpting can be a good alternative. It works by freezing fat cells, which are then slowly expelled from your body in a similar way to cavitation.

However, it can be more expensive (depending on how many sessions you need), and the results can take up to three months to show.

Liposuction is probably the alternative that produces the fastest results. But it is important to consider when weighing up all your options that it is invasive, more expensive, and will almost certainly have a longer recovery time.

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