Of the emerging trends discussed at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's (ASAPS) annual meeting, held this weekend in San Diego, fat-melting and fat-grafting procedures have taken the forefront.

Do these innovations really deliver what they promise?

"Presentations at the annual Hot Topics seminar focus on some of the most intriguing innovations in both surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic treatments," says New York plastic surgeon Alan Gold, MD, president of the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF), cosponsor of Hot Topics with the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation (PSEF). "Every year the Hot Topics seminar proves to be one of the most popular sessions, so this year we there will be two Hot Topics programs — one at the beginning of the Meeting and one at the end."

The following are among the presentations included in this year's Hot Topics program:

Injection Lipolysis (Otherwise known as Mesotherapy or LipoDissolve): V. Leroy Young, MD, a plastic surgeon in St. Louis, Ill, will be discussing ASERF's clinical trial on injection lipolysis. The trial will study 10 patients receiving four injection lipolysis treatments to one side of their abdomen. MRIs and biopsies will be performed on the patients, and photographs of the patients will be taken before and after injections are administered. The goal of this study is to find out if injection lipolysis actually works — and how it works. Safety concerns will be reviewed during the study.

Lipo-Transfer: Kotaro Yoshimura, MD, a plastic surgeon from Tokyo, will be presenting new advances in Lipo Transfer. One common problem with this procedure is the difficulty predicting the survival rate of transplanted fat or the risk of fibrosis and calcification. To overcome the problem, Dr. Yoshimura has developed a strategy called Cell-Assisted Lipotransfer (CAL), which employs patients' adipose-derived stem cells and can be applied to breast augmentation. He expects that this technique will improve the survival rate and prevent post operative atrophy of transplanted fat tissue.

Laser-Assisted Lipolysis: Arturo Prado, MD, Barry E. DiBernardo, MD, and Jeffrey M. Kenkel, MD, will present on laser-assisted (fat destroying) Lipolysis. Dr. Prado, a plastic surgeon in Chile, will report on his randomized double-blind study that compared traditional lipoplasty and laser-assisted lipoplasty. Dr. DiBernardo (Cutera, Cynosure, Lumensis and Apira Science), a plastic surgeon in Montclair, NJ, is going to discuss the first preliminary clinical trial of SmartLipo. Dr. Kenkel (Palomar), a plastic surgeon in Dallas, Tex, will discuss his clinical experience with CoolLipo and ProLipo.

As plastic surgeons concerned about patient safety, we want to be sure that the treatments we recommend are backed by good science and sufficient clinical experience," says Foad Nahai, MD, ASAPS President and a plastic surgeon in Atlanta, Ga. "Many of these innovations in aesthetic surgery may prove to be widely beneficial, but at the beginning they must be used cautiously and, of course, only with the patient's full informed consent.