Plastic surgeons in Kansas City, Mo, are using an ultrasound machine to trim body fat. They call the procedure “contouring.”

“A nonsurgical approach to remove the fat cells to prevent storage is an exciting capability, very exciting,” says John Burns, MD, a Dallas-based surgeon who has used the device on American study subjects.

The ultrasound machine is computerized and delivers a uniform pulse over the treatment area. The process takes about 90 minutes. Doctors place the device on problem areas, such as the stomach or thighs, and aim energy waves at fat cells to destroy them. The released fat is then recycled by the body.

The device has been tested on 60 patients so far. If approved by the FDA—as the developers hope—it will be marketed later this year.