Practice skepticism when it comes to the efficacy of noninvasive fat removal devices, advised Matthew A. Avram, MD.

"Fat removal has a long history of ‘snake oil’ salesmanship," Avram said at the Summit in Aesthetic Medicine, which was sponsored by Skin Disease Education Foundation (SDEF). "You can count on this to continue, because many of these devices do little, if anything. It is important to critically assess these technologies in this emerging field."

Focused Ultrasound — Avram, faculty director for procedural dermatology training at Harvard Medical School and director of the dermatology laser and cosmetic center at Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston, discussed the evidence surrounding devices for noninvasive fat reduction.

One non–FDA–cleared modality being studied is focused ultrasound, which delivers mechanical, nonthermal energy to the thigh, abdomen, and flanks. A study of 30 patients who were treated once a month for 3 months demonstrated a circumference reduction of 2-4 cm in the treated sites (Lasers Surg. Med. 2007;39:315-23). Liver function tests, a lipid panel, and liver ultrasound showed no adverse systemic effects from the procedure.

However, Avram noted that the study is limited because there was no untreated control group and that circumference "is an inherently imprecise measure of improvement that can be manipulated." MRI would prove objective improvement, he said, but it was not performed in this trial.


[Source: Skin & Allergy News]