Liposuction News: A New York Point of View
Here’s some interesting news from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (via Medscape): researchers have reduced subcutaneous fat in pigs with an injectable ice slurry solution. What’s more, the solution seems to eliminate fat in proportion to the amount injected, and no tissue damage has been noted.
This suggests that yet another less-invasive way to get rid of fat deposits may be on the market one day soon. We’ll be watching this story from our vantage point in New York; other liposuction enthusiasts may want to follow it as well.
The Contrast with CoolSculpting
One reason the injectable ice slurry technique is intriguing is that it may turn out to be more effective than non-invasive cryolipolysis treatment such as CoolSculpting. Cryolipolysis targets fatty areas of the body with a paddle-like device used on top of the skin to destroy fat cells. Advantages of this non-surgical option include no anesthesia, no incisions and no downtime.
Some disadvantages of topical cryolipolysis also relate to the fact that the technique is non-surgical. Specifically, patients can experience limited results requiring two and even three rounds of treatment. Uneven contours are also possible. Side effects including persistent pain, hyperpigmentation and frostbite-like burns also occur on occasion. RealSelf members rate CoolSculpting as 82% “worth it,” and while not terrible, it’s not a result we would be happy with in our practice in New York. Liposuction is still the best option for most of our patients.
The Potential for the Injectable
Along with the Boston researchers, we believe that the ice slurry solution may have some potential for future use in patients with stubborn fat deposits. A key advantage of an injectable solution is the possibility of more dramatic fat decreases than a topical technology like CoolSculpting. It should also help avoid complications like burns and hyperpigmentation.
On the other hand, there could be concerns as well. The study’s lead noted that those who receive injections may feel “quite cold at first,” which makes us wonder whether treatment might be too uncomfortable for patients. A New York plastic surgeon reviewing the Massachusetts General study expressed concern about the appearance of skin and internal tissues over the long term, as the body changes due to aging and weight fluctuations.
Another consideration is how well the injections might perform in different areas of the body. The plastic surgeon in New York also suggested that injections may not offer the precise fat removal required for “more nuanced areas of the body” like the face and neck.
We are glad to see doctors looking into new ways to remove fat deposits, and due to increasing demand for this type of treatment we’re sure the research will go on. When we have confidence that a new technology has merit for specific patients, we are keen to take a look ourselves. This is why we chose to bring Kybella into our practice and offer it to select patients for very targeted, relatively small fat deposits.
In the future, there very well could be a range of options for removing fat, from non-invasive, topical treatments through injectables and finally liposuction with cannulas. Perhaps ice-based injectables will fall in the middle of that spectrum, meaning they will work reasonably well for patients with localized but decent-sized fat deposits who do not want surgery. Time will tell.
For now, our patients seeking treatment for love handles, belly pooches, saddle bags, a fatty chest and bra rolls are best served by liposuction in New York. True, surgery requires IV sedation, small incisions and a recovery period, but it is a one-and-done solution that’s tried, true and very precise. In our thirty years of experience with liposuction in New York, we’ve still found no better way to address those problem areas that diet and exercise can’t fix. But we’re watching the research!
Contact us if you’d like to arrange a consultation. We would be happy to work with you