Ultrasound has been used to destroy fat cells. This involves pulses of sound waves that focus on fat cells and destroys the walls of the fat cells. This method is non-invasive, although ultrasound has also been used invasively to aid liposuction.
Lasers are applied to the surface of the skin to non-invasively heat fat cells to the point where they are destroyed. Treatments can take 25 minutes. Lasers can also be used together with invasive liposuction to augment fat destruction.
Liposuction is an invasive procedure to remove unwanted fat by using a metal cannula or hollow tube that is inserted to areas of fat, after injection of anesthesia, and removes the fat by suctioning it through the hollow tube. This requires the surgeon to move the cannula to break up that fat, often assisted by lasers or ultrasound to help more easily break up the fat.