Non-surgical Fat Removal
Liposuction is the most popular procedure performed. Thousands of men and women undergo liposuction every month to remove unwanted bulges and bags of pesky fat pockets. However, the risks, downtime, costs and pain of recovery can deter many individuals from improving their physiques. With the hope of spot-reduction or target fat loss via pills or lotions, serums and potions - fat removal is becoming a big business. What we need is a non-invasive, nonsurgical, and less expensive method to improve our thighs, abs and hips - not another cannula.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a sure-fire way to remove target fat pockets without losing it every where else. No more suction? No more anesthesia risks? Too good to be true? It sure is a fantasy that may be in the minds of many of us but soon, it may be a reality. There are devices and techniques in the works now to bring non-surgical fat ablation to the world.
UltraShape Nonsurgical "Liposuction"
The UltraShape Machine just might be our ticket to thinness for those of us who do not have significant volume to remove. UltraShape was designed and is manufactured by an American-owned, yet Israel-based company. These Israeli surgeons have come up with a way to melt fat by using external high frequency ultrasound paddles - very much like external ultrasonic-assisted liposuction. The ultrasonic energy passes harmlessly through your epidermis and dermis to rupture the fat cells beneath. SO what happens to this ruptured fat?? It is removed by your body, naturally and so far - without risk. Up to 500cc of liquefied fat can be absorbed by the body per treatment.
The company insists that fat cell destruction is possible without harm to the under and overlying muscles or other tissues as seen in standard external and internal ultrasonic-assisted liposuction procedures which are vulnerable to burns and other thermal wounds. BUT - the machine has yet to be tested officially on human beings. Pigs are getting skinnier in Israel as these porcine patients undergo frequent treatments while maintaining a normal diet. Some are even being fed more to study the effects of obesity and adipose tissue in conjunction with the UltraShape machine.
So how much can be removed? It is said up to an 1/8 to a 1/4 of an inch in the treatment area - far less than what can be achieved with standard liposuction. However, there is reportedly no pain, no bruising, no bleeding, no risk of infection or burn and you can return in 3 weeks for more treatments.Well, when's it coming here?!
Collagenase Chemical "Liposuction"
New York plastic surgeon, Zachary Gerut, MD was testing his theory regarding scar tissue eradication with the proteolytic enzyme, collagenase. Collagenase is a naturally occurring substance in the body which can eradicate collagen [:of a group of proteolytic enzymes that decompose collagen and gelatin - Merriam-Webster]. Lo and behold he noticed that the fatty tissue at the injection sites (on the abdomen) in lab animals were subsequently "destroyed" and absorbed, harmlessly, by the animal's body.
Dr. Gerut got to thinking and of course there is a big market for fat removal - over 800,000 procedures worldwide each year, are sucking out their fat cells through invasive suction-assistant lipectomy procedures - aka liposuction. The FDA has given the okay for testing in human lipomas (fatty tumors). Therefore testing on fat pockets will more than likely be tested as well as performed "off-label" if the approval goes through for the tumors.
My concerns? What is the level of control over the amount of fatty tissue which is obliterated? What stops the enzyme from "eating" too much fat. Is there a such thing??? YES! Aggressive fat loss may be an issue - hence the clinicals. Only time will tell.
Topical Fat Ablation
Topical creams to effectively remove or lessen target fatty areas? Don't you wish. If these creams truly worked, the amount of invasive liposuction procedures would be waaaaaaaaay less. There are non-prescription (OTC) creams or lotions which you can rub into the skin and are reported (by the companies who manufacture them) to be absorbed all the way to the fat layer and "melt" it. Ingredients may include aminophylline, diiodo-l-thyronine, DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol),forskolin, and yohimbine. Topical localized fat loss products are believed by some to cause localized fluid loss (topical diuretic) from the tissues and NOT fat loss. I, for one, can't tell you if they work or not. I wonder how such a product can actually reach the subcutaneous fat intact and unchanged. Considering any product which can effectively penetrate the epidermis and dermis will surely be "attacked" or absorbed (at least in part) and carried off by the blood and lymph for excretion. In topical anesthetics subject to the body's discontent. They are a little expensive for my budget - but if they works, they work. Much cheaper than liposuction.
Of course, all of the companies which sell these products maintain that their products DO work, some are "lucky" enough to get reported about in beauty magazines, and even some people I know believe they work. Dermalin-APg is one of them, and although I have never tried it - I suppose I SHOULD. Dermalin reports cellulite improvement as well due to superficial fat loss (not removal, just lessening). It has gotten really good reviews in beauty magazines but clinically, I have unbiased no proof. However, Dr. Daniel B. Mowrey of Klein-Becker (the company which manufactures Dermalin) claims that fat cells literally "deflate" when Dermalin is added to a petri dish containing whole fat cells.
My best friend said she noticed a little circumference loss when she began using Dermalin, but she had started a thyroid pill and an exercise program a few weeks afterwards so she wasn't sure what gave her results. She did, however, begin the Dermalin several weeks before and said she noted a "little" improvement. This particular company offers a money back guarantee so I can't see how you would lose - but like I said I haven't tried it yet. I will try it soon and let you all know what I think.
There are spray and gel topical spot reducers as well such as DermaLean and Cutting Gel, but who knows if they really work. It doesn't seem possible but I am not a scientist - just a consumer not willing to give my money away for snake oil. I have to say one ingredient, Forskolin, is proven as a thermogenic.
By the way, there are many poor products out there so be careful. I personally wouldn't buy a product that you could not get a refund on (or one advertised on a freebie site with banners everywhere) because for all I know they could be some fly-by-night snake oil salesmen rebottling Lubriderm with a few of their own "additives" to make it appear original.
Fat Loss Supplements
You can NOT lose target areas of fat with ANY type of pill. If your metabolism is improved you will lose fat all over and if you are at a good weight you will look too skinny elsewhere thereby making those target areas appear larger. Many of these "supplements" contain ephedra, ma huang, willow bark, and others and either speed your heart up to a bursting point and they age you fast, or some will make you urinate a lot of fluid making you look *thinner*. Also, unless you need to look good for a competition, bikini party, photos shoot or TV appearance stay away from diuretics.It is usually temporary and unhealthy.
Andrew J. Miller, MD
Shain A. Cuber, MD
Associates in Plastic Surgery
1150 Amboy Avenue
Edison, NJ 08837
Andrew J. Miller, MD
Shain A. Cuber, MD
Associates in Plastic Surgery
5 Mountain Boulevard
Warren, NJ 07060
Erwin J. Bulan, MD
Bulan Plastic Surgery
75 Main Street
Millburn, NJ 07041