By Judy Gerstel
You just lie there and relax on your lunch hour, listening to your iPod or reading a magazine and the fat simply melts away. No down time. No side effects. No lumpiness. Too good to be true? That’s what Toronto dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett thought when, at a physician’s meeting, she came upon Ultrashape, a new technology developed in Israel. “It’s focused ultrasound that targets fat cells,” says Kellett. The machine is already ensconced at Kellett’s clinic, DLK On Avenue, and she’s expecting approval from Health Canada within weeks.
Kellett is the first in North America to offer the non-invasive fat blasting technology that uses acoustic waves to rupture fat cell membranes, allowing the liquefied fat to be excreted naturally and safely by the body. It’s similar to the ultrasound technology used to blast away kidney stones.
Since ultrasound has been around for so long, why wasn’t this fat-blasting technique developed sooner? The challenge, she explains, was attacking the fat cells without affecting the surrounding blood cells and nerve cells, “making sure vessels and nerves remain intact in the area.”
A sophisticated computerized tracking system prevents the possibility of targeting the same area twice. Kellett cautions that Ultrashape is not used for weight loss but for contouring. “The ideal patient,” she says, “is fit and healthy but has stubborn areas of fat.”
Gynemastia, or fatty breasts, in men, round tummies, love handles, buttocks, hips and saddlebags on thighs are ideal targets for the technology, she says, and it’s also appropriate for postnatal care. Only areas with 1.5 cm or more of fat are suitable for treatment.
And now in development is a smaller device for contouring upper arms and areas of the face. Patients usually just feel a warm, perhaps tingly sensation as the transducer is gently, smoothed across the targeted area. The procedure will feel familiar to anyone who has had an ultrasound scan during pregnancy.
After treatment, patients can resume all normal activities but are instructed to eat a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet for a few days because the body is already “mobilizing the fat.”
Each session for one area takes about one hour. Three sessions, three to four weeks apart, are recommended for each area treated.
Patients can reasonably expect a loss of about 2 cm after one treatment session and 4 to 7 cm after three sessions. Each session costs about $800 to $1,000, depending on the size of the area treated.
With swimsuit season approaching, it’s not surprising that Kellett already has a waiting list for Ultrashape.