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May 2005
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Fat Could Be 'Contoured' Away Without Surgery

UltraShape Device Being Tested

Plastic surgeons are working on a way to trim body fat without making an incision, KMBC's Maria Antonia reported Monday.

The procedure is called contouring. Doctors place an ultrasound device on problem areas, such as the stomach or thighs, and aim energy waves at fat cells to destroy them. In Dallas, doctors have already tested contouring on people. Plastic surgeon Dr. John Burns told KMBC he has used the UltraShape device on American study subjects.

The machine is computerized and delivers a uniform ultrasound pulse over the treatment area, which lasts about 90 minutes.

The energy is aimed at the fat cells in a certain area. The released fat is then recycled by the body.

"A nonsurgical approach to remove the fat cells to prevent storage is an exciting capability, very exciting," Burns said.

Dr. Spencer Brown was hired by UltraShape critique the testing of contouring in Israel and London.

"One treatment in the abdomen in those countries reduced the circumference of the waist by about an inch," said Brown, who is the research director in the plastic surgery department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

"We are very careful. I am very careful in looking at technology that's genuine," Brown said.

Brown said the UltraShape device has been tested on about 60 people so far.

Brown expects his test results will be analyzed further while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers its approval. If approved, UltraShape might be available by 2006.

Last week, UltraShape presented contouring at a plastic surgery convention. Some doctors pointed out that one treatment of contouring doesn't remove as much fat as liposuction.

KMBC obtained before and after pictures of a person who underwent one treatment of contouring and showed the pictures to women who were exercising at New Lady Fitness in Leawood, Kan.

"It's too good to be true," one woman said.

"It looks somewhat better," said one woman working out.

"Oh yeah, I'd do that in the back of my legs!" an exerciser said, laughing.

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