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Landmark Discovery In Manipulating Fat Could Revolutionize Plastic Surgery

Armen Hareyan's picture

Plastic Surgery

Physicians and researchers may have discovered a natural way to fill-in pesky crow's feet and get rid of unwanted fat in the thigh and abdominal areas.

According to a study published online in the July 1 issue of Nature Medicine, physicians have been able to selectively add fat in targeted areas of the body in laboratory animals by injecting a natural chemical (neuropeptide Y) found in the body. Likewise, they have found blocking this chemical (neuropeptide Y2R blocker) can prevent the development of fat.

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The study, partially funded by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) National Endowment for Plastic Surgery, could revolutionize aspects of cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, says the ASPS.

"This is the first well-described mechanism found that can effectively eliminate fat, rejuvenate the face, or re-contour the body without surgery," said Stephen Baker, MD, DDS, ASPS Member Surgeon and study co-author. "Unlike current methods, this natural chemical could prove to induce a person's own body to remove or add fat. We are very excited about the animal findings, however; we know more research is needed and predict that studies in humans may not begin for another two years."

Patients could say goodbye to saddle bags and have results similar to liposuction, the third most popular surgical cosmetic procedures, by using the natural chemical to block the pathways that make cells create fat. In fact, this discovery could deliver the unproven promises of mesotherapy and LipoDissolve, which are touted to non-surgically remove localized fat.

Patients tired of staring at marionette lines or deflated lips could also see significant benefits. This natural chemical could be used to induce cells into making fat in a specific area. The patient's own body would naturally fill in wrinkles or augment lips without the high re-absorption rate found with current fat injection techniques.

"Through injections of the natural chemical, reconstructive plastic surgery patients may be able to produce their own fat in a targeted site, helping to fill in areas for breast and facial reconstruction that have been affected by disease or trauma," said Dr. Baker. "This discovery could be a future option for the more than 56,000 patients who had breast reconstruction in 2006."