UltraShape: Noninvasive Body Shaping

Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, APRN on June 1, 2017Written by Lucie Wisco on June 1, 2017

Fast facts

About:

  • UltraShape is an ultrasound technology used for body contouring and fat cell reduction.
  • The procedure takes approximately one hour and involves little to no recovery time.
  • Results may be visible within two weeks.

Safety:

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved UltraShape in 2014 for noninvasive reduction of abdominal circumference via fat cell destruction.
  • The FDA approved UltraShape Power in 2016.

Efficacy:

  • In a clinical study, UltraShape Power showed a 32 percent reduction in abdominal fat layer thickness.

What is UltraShape?

UltraShape is a nonsurgical procedure that uses targeted ultrasound technology. It’s designed to eliminate fat cells in the abdominal area, but it’s not a weight loss solution.

Ideal candidates should be able to pinch at least an inch of fat in their midsection and have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or less.

Preparing for UltraShape

Schedule an appointment with an UltraShape provider to see if it’s the right fit for your body and your expectations. UltraShape is noninvasive, so little preparation is needed before treatment. But in general, try to stay in good physical shape to maximize UltraShape results.

Your doctor might recommend that you drink about 10 cups of water the day of the treatment to stay hydrated. You should also avoid smoking for a few days before treatment.

Targeted areas for UltraShape

UltraShape is FDA-cleared to target fat cells in the following areas:

  • in abdominal circumference
  • on the flanks

How does UltraShape work?

The UltraShape procedure is noninvasive, so you won’t need anesthesia. The ultrasound technology targets fat cells in the abdominal area without damaging surrounding tissue. As fat cells walls are destroyed, fat is released in the form of triglycerides. Your liver processes triglycerides and removes them from your body.

The procedure usually takes up to one hour. Your doctor will apply a gel to the targeted area and place a special belt around your abdomen. They’ll then place the transducer over the treatment area. The transducer delivers focused, pulsed ultrasound energy at a depth of 1 1/2 centimeters below the surface of the skin. This technique can stress the fat cell membranes and cause them to rupture. After the procedure the remaining gel is wiped off, and you can return to your daily activities.

UltraShape Power was cleared by the FDA in 2016. It’s the newest version of the original UltraShape technology.

Risks and side effects

Aside from a tingling or warming feeling during the procedure, most people experience little to no discomfort. Because of the measured energy of the UltraShape technology, fat cells should be destroyed without harming the skin or nearby nerves, blood vessels, and muscles.

According to the 2016 clinical data, UltraShape doesn’t cause pain, and 100 percent of people reported the treatment as being comfortable.

What to expect after UltraShape

Regular day-to-day activity can be resumed immediately after treatment in most cases.

Results may be seen in as little as two weeks after the first UltraShape treatment. For optimal results, it’s recommended that you receive three treatments, spaced two weeks apart. Your UltraShape provider will help you decide how many treatments are necessary for your individual needs.

Once the treatment eliminates the targeted fat cells, they can’t regenerate. However, other fat cells in the surrounding areas can grow bigger, so maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine after UltraShape is paramount.

How much does UltraShape cost?

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), in 2016 the average price of a nonsurgical fat reduction such as UltraShape was $1,458. The total cost depends on the number of treatments performed, the UltraShape provider’s fees, and your geographic location.

UltraShape is considered an elective procedure and is not covered by medical insurance.

UltraShape vs. CoolSculpting

UltraShape and CoolSculpting are both noninvasive body contouring procedures that target fat cells in specific areas of the body. There are differences to keep in mind.

UltraShapeCoolSculpting
Technologyuses ultrasound technology to target fat cellsuses controlled cooling to freeze and destroy fat cells
SafetyFDA cleared in 2014FDA cleared in 2012
Target areasabdominal area, flanksupper arms, abdomen, flanks, thighs, back, underneath the buttocks, under the chin
Side effectsgentle on the skin, and typically has little to no side effects or discomfortassociated with minor redness, tenderness, or bruising
Costthe national average cost in 2016 was $1,458 the national average cost in 2016 was $1,458
CMS Id: 122550