A new fat-melting procedure developed by a brother and sister team may be paving the way for the liposuction of the future. NanoLipo is a system whereby fat is melted away with nanoparticles of gold heated using infrared light.
Please note: our Melbourne clinic does not offer NanoLipo, as this technique has still not passed clinical trials to establish efficacy and safety. We do high-quality, smooth, safe liposuction and fat-freezing treatments.
How does NanoLipo work?
NanoLipo uses a solution of gold nanorods injected into fat, where the particles diffuse through the fat because they are so tiny. An infrared laser beam is then applied to the area from outside of the skin, which heats the gold and bursts the fat cell. This creates the melting effect, which is actually burst fat cells with their liquid contents released. The liquified fat is then suctioned out with a needle.
Who developed NanoLipo?
The brother and sister development team consists of Adah and Khalid Almutairi, and so the story goes, came about a few months after the birth of Adah’s son. Adah was a few kilograms heavier than she wanted to be, and was lying in bed on a beach holiday dreaming about melting her excess fat away as she went to sleep. In the morning, she reports, she had a lightbulb moment.
Adah is a nanomedicine expert and professor at university, and knew that gold nanoparticles heat up quickly when exposed to infrared light. Gold nanoparticles are being tested for their ability to kill cancer cells. Adah’s brother, Khalid, is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. The pair decided to work on the idea and see if it had legs. Turns out, it does.
Regular liposuction and NanoLipo intersect
Liposuction now has more avenues in terms of technique than ever before (think laser lipo), but it is still incredibly limited. Most liposuction involves mechanical suction, referred to as suction-assisted liposuction. The fat is injected with tumescent fluid, then a tube is inserted under the skin in a fanning motion to suck out the fat. This is a process that, without a good practitioner, is fraught with problems.
While the tumescent technique has revolutionised the safety and results of liposuction, it still must be performed underneath the skin manually. Other tissue is damaged in the process, resulting in some swelling and bruising. While regular liposuction techniques are much improved, being able to effect dramatic change while keeping other tissue completely intact has been somewhat elusive.
NanoLipo means nothing mechanical is occurring underneath the skin, though the fat is sucked out using a needle. Other techniques that are surgery-free include fat freezing, which works using a very similar concept, except using cold temperatures and of course omitting the gold.
The reason NanoLipo and other temperature-linked liposuction treatments work is because fat responds to temperature differently to other tissue, so you can heat the fat to a temperature that melts it (or freezes it), but leaves other tissue unaffected.
Experiments on bacon and butter – frying fat
The first experiments started in the lab with fatty bacon and butter, with the 40-nm-long gold nanorods injected into the fat, then the slab of fat fanned with infrared light. This particular laser is usually used for hair removal. The fat was liquified in a minute or two.
The siblings then patented their invention and started the process of bringing NanoLipo to life as a company. The results so far have been impressive, with the time it takes to perform this type of liposuction a fraction of a normal liposuction surgery.
In clinical trials, NanoLipo allowed the removal of more fat when compared with conventional liposuction, and resulted in better physical measurements a month after surgery. Suction times were cut from an average of four minutes to an average of 10 minutes.
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