If you have a small amount of unwanted fat that you would like to get rid of, but you’re not up for surgery, one of the new non-surgical fat removal procedures may be a good alternative. Non-surgical procedures make up 82% of the total number of plastic surgery procedures, according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). The Plastic Surgery Channel recently had a chance to interview a leader in the field of non-invasive fat removal. Dr. Richard Baxter, a board certified plastic surgeon from Seattle, Washington tells us what’s new, what works, and who’s the ideal candidate.
Richard A. Baxter, MD
and Carolynn Grimes
What is noninvasive fat reduction?
“Noninvasive fat reduction may sound like science fiction, but new technologies now provide an alternative to liposuction for at least some. Liposuction is a popular procedure and it’s safe when done by a skilled plastic surgeon in an accredited surgical facility, but it is surgery. Like all body contouring procedures, invasive or not, liposuction is for reduction of localized areas of fat that are out of proportion to the rest of the body and resistant to change with diet and exercise.”
What are the newest technologies?
“There are two FDA-cleared technologies for noninvasive fat reduction available now, one using freezing cold therapy called Zeltiq, and the other using what is called high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, called Liposonix. Both of these destroy fat cells non-invasively in a single treatment session, and the body then re-absorbs the destroyed fat tissue over about 8 to 12 weeks. I have been using the Liposonix system for several months now and what I like is that it can be focused with great precision into a specific layer so there is a good amount of control. Planning is similar to how we mark for liposuction, but at the present time liposuction can remove more fat cells. Liposonix is an alternative for smaller volume cases.”
Who is the ideal candidate?
“The specific indication for Liposonix is waist circumference reduction, which in the clinical trials was about an inch on average following a single treatment. We are exploring its use in other areas such as thighs and hips. As we gain more experience and information about HIFU technology, I expect that the possible uses will continue to expand.”
Is Liposonix safe and reliable?
“Liposonix has a 10-year history of clinical development and there were no significant adverse events in any of the clinical trials, and none in my experience using it in practice. It is reliable in properly selected patients; those who can “pinch an inch” but don’t have a lot more than that. We have been fine-tuning the treatment protocols for better results and get measurable improvements in a very high percentage of patients.”