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Obesity

New Collagenase Treatment Dissolves Body Fat without Surgery

From his extensive experience as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Los Angeles area, Dr. Michael Omidi knows that many patients tend to seek out ever more natural-looking results while opting for minimally-invasive procedures. Given this trend, it comes as no surprise that many new treatments utilize naturally-occurring substances to produce spectacular effects without surgical intervention. One such substance called collagenase has been generating quite a buzz lately due to its astounding fat-burning properties.

A naturally-occurring enzyme that can be found all over the human body, collagenase works by breaking up the connections between fat cells. When injected into target areas such as the abdomen, hips, and thighs, collagenase effectively dissolves pockets of fat. Once broken down, the remaining fat is then absorbed by the body.

At this point, injectable collagenase is already being marketed for the treatment of Peyronie’s disease and Dupuytren’s contracture. With regards to its fat-dissolving properties, however, the treatment is still undergoing FDA-approved clinical investigations. Thus far, researchers have been principally focusing their efforts on ascertaining the efficacy of collagenase in the treatment of lipomas, benign fatty tumors that present as soft lumps under the skin. The treatment involves injection of the collagenase mixed with saline into the lipoma and typically yields observable shrinkage of the tumor within weeks.

Given the fact that lipomas consist of normal body fat, however, the treatment has a veritable potential to revolutionize the field of plastic surgery allowing for a safe and non-intrusive way to melt body fat. According to Dr. Zachary Gerut, a principal investigator of collagenase clinical trials conducted at the Vanderbilt University, this substance is “found all over the human body, we’re just putting a little bit extra in a certain spot to get rid of the fat” [1]. As such, collagenase injections may prove to highly appealing to patients seeking to get rid of excess fat while not willing to undergo surgical procedures such as abdominoplasty or liposuction.

Seeking to accommodate patients who may not need surgery, Dr. Omidi constantly keeps up with the latest developments in non-intrusive cosmetic procedures. He would love to hear your thoughts regarding this particular injectable treatment. Let us know whether you’d consider the collagenase injections for nonsurgical fat reduction once it receives the FDA approval.

Latest Studies Indicate the Growing Popularity of Liposuction

· Cosmetic Surgery, Diet, Obesity · No Comments

Recently published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery [link 1], a new study bemoans the lack of reliable information concerning liposuction on the web. In particular, the authors single out numerous websites created by plastic surgeons and practices with the intention of advertising their liposuction services. According to the study, approximately two thirds of these websites exhibited “substantial shortcomings” with regards to offering trustworthy information about liposuction. Professional societies and academic centers, on the contrary, received higher grades on delivering quality information to their online readers.

In order to counter this scarcity of trustworthy information, let’s carry out a quick survey of recent studies to sum up the well-known benefits of liposuction as well as to keep tabs on the latest developments in this technique.

According to a common knowledge, liposuction consists in removing aggregations of excess fat. What frequently goes unmentioned is the fact that, in the course of performing liposuction, skilled plastic surgeons must not lose sight of the larger goal – body contouring. The aim of body contouring is not merely to do away with all the excess fat but, ultimately, to sculpt the most flattering and natural-looking silhouette. In lieu of this goal, liposuction typically seeks to eliminate the fat rolls from the flanks while preserving desirable voluptuousness in other areas of the body. In some cases, this procedure may successfully remove unwanted fat while leaving the patient with flabby, hanging skin. In order to address this issue, experienced surgeons may combine liposuction with other procedures such as a tummy tuck to produce ideal body contour.

As a recent article in The Observer [link2] notes, the popularity of liposuction is no longer limited to the female patients. Along with injectable fillers and botox, liposuction is becoming increasingly popular with men. “Before you imagine that these liposuction procedures are only for middle-aged women, think again,” writes the author Margaret Abrams: “Everyone wants an easy fix when it comes to weight – even elderly men.”

Indeed, there are many reasons for the popularity of this procedure. Considered to be minimally invasive, liposuction is fairly safe and effective when it comes to delivering immediate results. A recent study published in Annals of Plastic Surgery [link 3] describes it as the most common cosmetic surgical procedure worldwide and notes that its application goes beyond cosmetic or aesthetic purposes. For this reason, the authors call on third-party public payers and insurance companies to reconsider reimbursement policies associated with this increasingly popular procedure.

1.) http://journals.lww.com/prsgo/Fulltext/2016/06000/Systematic_Review_of_Quality_of_Patient.2.aspx#

2.) http://observer.com/2016/08/new-plastic-surgery-procedures-will-melt-away-your-fat/

3.) http://journals.lww.com/annalsplasticsurgery/Abstract/2015/08000/Functional_and_Therapeutic_Indications_of.23.aspx

FDA Approves a Weight-Loss Stomach Pump

· Diet, Obesity · No Comments

FDA’s recent approval of a new device that literally empties contents of a person’s stomach brings good news to those looking for more drastic ways to lose weight. The AspireAssist device is primarily intended for particularly obese individuals at least 22 years of age who have had difficulties losing weight by other means such as dieting or weight loss pills. This radical new treatment delivers tangible results with most patients reporting a loss of approximately 12 percent of body weight. AspireAssist distinguishes itself from other weight loss treatments by eliminating contents of the stomach before they can be digested. As such, it offers an effective new way to lose weight while providing an alternative to surgery. According to the initial FDA study, patients who used the device lost three times more weight than those who only relied on exercise and nutrition counseling. Given the fact that at least one in three American adults and one in six children are considered obese, FDA’s green light to this stomach pump device has the potential to make a difference in ongoing efforts to combat the obesity epidemic.

How does AspireAssist work?

In spite of offering a radical new means to losing weight, the AspireAssist device is considered minimally invasive. This treatment involves an endoscopic procedure, performed under sedation, whereby a tube is extended from the skin of the abdominal wall into the stomach. The tube is attached to the device about the size of a smartphone that can be used to pump the contents of the patient’s stomach into a toilet. It is advised that patients eliminate no more than 30 percent of stomach contents. Following this procedure that lasts up to 10 minutes, the device refills the stomach with water contained in a small reservoir. It must be noted that AspireAssist calls for regular visits to the doctor to shorten the tube as the patient gradually loses weight. In order to make sure that patients follow through on their trips to the doctor’s office, the device comes with a safety feature that automatically shuts it off after 115 cycles and can only be renewed by the physician. While the patient may choose to keep the device over an extended period of time, it can be easily removed at any time with the hole in the abdomen eventually closing up on its own.

Is it right for you?

The FDA approval comes with a proviso that AspireAssist should only be used by adults (22 years of age and older) who have been unable to lose weight through non-surgical interventions. It is not recommended for moderately overweight individuals. Keeping in mind that obesity presupposes a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30, AspireAssist is designed primarily for significantly obese patients with a BMI between 35 and 55. Furthermore, this form of treatment is not advised for patients experiencing eating disorders such as bulimia. Indeed, some detractors have disparagingly described the procedure as “assisted bulimia,” arguing that it essentially enables binge-and-purge behavior. In defense of this device, Aspire Bariatrics CEO Katherine Crothall has maintained that it contributes neither to overeating nor to eating disorders.

Opting for a more fair and balanced assessment of AspireAssist, Dr. Shawn Garber, President of the New York Bariatric Group, praises the device for being safe and effective, but also notes that surgery may still be the best option for morbidly obese individuals: “The most popular procedure is sleeve gastrectomy – but there is a subset of patients that are scared of surgery, or there are

people that because of their health conditions can’t have surgery. This is a great option for those patients.”

 

Are there any risks associated with this treatment?

Upon the FDA approval, AspireAssist immediately sparked considerable controversy among doctors and social commentators alike. Some nutrition specialists were quick to pan it as a “bulimia machine.” One endocrinologist and diabetologist, Dr. Joseph Gutman, even announced plans to rally other physicians to sue the FDA for their approval of AspireAssist. Detractors like Gutman argue that, instead of encouraging obese patients to adopt healthy eating habits and more active way of life, the device enables the root causes of obesity such as overeating and sedentary lifestyle. That being said, Dr. Shelby Sullivan who participated in test trials for AspireAssist stresses that “there is no such thing as medical bulimia or assisted bulimia” and insists that “patients eat less with this therapy then they did before.”

Treatment with AspireAssist comes with the risk of side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, occasional indigestion, potential leakage, bleeding, and infection around the site of tube placement. The use of this device is contraindicated for patients with uncontrolled hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease, stomach ulcers, pregnancy, certain types of previous abdominal surgery, and eating disorders such as bulimia or binge-eating disorder. For these reasons, patients who use AspireAssist need to be carefully monitored by their physicians over the course of weight-loss program. Ideally, this form of treatment should be accompanied by a lifestyle counseling designed to assist patients in adopting healthier eating habits and limiting their calorie intake.