December 31, 2006 We’re a funny bunch us human beings, and there’s no greater testimony to this than the number of liposuction procedures performed each year in the United States, which shows numbers growing from a mere 50,000 15 years ago, to an annual number approaching half a million. It’s the most popular plastic surgery procedure, mirroring US$35 billion a year sales of weight loss products and US$63 billion a year sales of low carb, fat, sugar, and calorie products. Liposuction is used to remove localized areas of fat so the body can be sculpted. The procedure is performed by vacuuming excess fat from the body using a cannula which is inserted through small incisions in the natural creases of the body. It’s a routine and safe procedure these days, but recovery takes at least a few days off your normal activities and you could still be wearing compression bandages up to a month later. Now a new procedure similarly reduces fat from localised body regions, (e.g. stomach or thigh or in industry parlance, your Banana fold, Buffalo hump, Cankles, Chubb, Doughnut or Wings), without requiring an incision or a lengthy recovery time. The procedure focuses high-intensity ultrasound through the skin into precise locations within subcutaneous adipose tissue, permanently disrupting the adipocytes without damaging the epidermis, dermis, or underlying tissues and organs. Treated tissue is resorbed via normal inflammatory mechanisms. LipoSonix has the potential to be offer non-invasive body sculpting to the masses with low cost and even lower time and recovery overheads. One to watch in 2007.
Early human clinical trials have demonstrated the safety and mechanism of action of the procedure, leading to a US$27 million venture capital investment in mid 2004 to significantly ramp up product development and clinical activities. A total of US$40 million has been invested in the company to date and the product is expected to reach market some time in 2007.