LipoSonix: High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for your medspas body scuplting.

Tested on pigs with slow metabolism, LipoSonix wants to be the first to have a technology solution to liposuction. No word yet on if the test pits show impoved body image.

From the LipoSonix site: 

procedure.gifLipoSonix is taking a rigorous, science-based approach to technology development. All new clinical studies begin with the demonstration of patient safety and then progress to detailed efficacy studies that provide evidence for the aesthetic benefits of our device.

LipoSonix achieves targeted reduction of tissue volume by precisely focusing high intensity ultrasound energy to cause thermocoagulation of adipose tissue. A custom designed ultrasound transducer delivers energy across the skin surface at a relatively low intensity, but brings this energy to a sharp focus in the subcutaneous fat. At the skin surface, the intensity of the ultrasound energy is low enough so that no damage occurs. The focusing of the ultrasound beam at specific depths beneath the epidermis, combined with proprietary application techniques, results in adipose tissue thermocoagulation. This result is achieved through several mechanisms of action, including temperature rise secondary to direct absorption of ultrasonic energy and mechanical processes such as cavitation, streaming, and shear forces with their inherent thermal effects.

Once adipocytes have been disrupted, chemotactic signals activate the body's inflammatory response mechanisms. Macrophage cells are attracted to the area to engulf and transport the lipids and cell debris. This results in an overall reduction in local adipose tissue volume. The goal is to achieve precision that will result in effective non-invasive body sculpting.

LipoSonix' initial efforts involved extensive pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo testing to demonstrate proof of principle and refine specific treatment protocols. Initial human feasibility studies were performed on patients undergoing abdominoplasty surgery, allowing for detailed evaluation of the patho-physiological process. The safety of these trials was assessed through evaluation of extensive blood panels, gross pathology, histological analysis, and non-invasive imaging (including computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound.

Abstracts from Plastic Surgery 2005 (.pdf), 2006 (.pdf); the American Academy of Dermatology 2006 (.pdf); and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2006 (.pdf)

(hat tip: Engadget , Medgadget, & Gizmag)