New Procedure May Help With Obesity Disease

Combination of techniques may treat affliction that disproportionately

By Dr. Bruce Hensel and Matthew Glasser
|  Friday, Jul 11, 2014  |  Updated 9:54 PM PDT
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Regardless of what they do, some women can't lose weight -- and it's not their fault. It's often a disease called lipedema, and now a Southern California doctor has come up with a unique treatment that can help these women lose the weight. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 11, 2014.

Dr. Bruce Hensel

Regardless of what they do, some women can't lose weight -- and it's not their fault. It's often a disease called lipedema, and now a Southern California doctor has come up with a unique treatment that can help these women lose the weight. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 11, 2014.

Some men and women have trouble losing weight no matter how much they diet and exercise. In some cases, it may be a fat-storage disease called lipidema.

Seventeen million women suffer from lipidema, a disease that causes disproportionate fat accumulation in the legs, abdomen and arms.

"Diet and exercise doesn't help," said Jasna Tursic, who was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago.

Another woman who with lipidema, Lisa Maria Jones, said she has struggled with her weight.

"I started dieting," she recalled. "I went on this ridiculously low-calorie diet and I was not successful." 

Both local women were treated recently for the problem with a new procedure that combines multiple techniques.

“This is not easy, typical liposuction surgery,” said Dr. David Amron, a cosmetic surgeon based in Beverly Hills at Spalding Drive Plastic Surgery, who performed both surgeries. “These are very difficult areas to do. Many (are) areas that surgeons typically will avoid unless they have a lot of experience.”

Amron does the procedure in four steps.

First, he injects numbing medicine to the affected areas. Then, he uses an ultrasound and a laser to loosen and remove some of the fat tissue. That is followed by what Amron calls "debulking" - liposuction to remove the heaviest fat.

He then does a laser procedure for additional skin tightening. The entire process takes two-and-a-half hours.

Jasna said she saw immediate changes.

“It wasn’t painful. Recovery was very quick and results were great,” she said. "I feel amazing. (It) changed my life in so many ways."

Dr Bruce says: “Since obesity is a medical problem, this treatment may sometimes be covered by insurance. Any woman or man who is having trouble losing weight should visit a specialist to see if this is a problem."

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