Frisco clinic becomes second in state with procedure recently approved by the FDA | SummitDaily.com

Frisco clinic becomes second in state with procedure recently approved by the FDA

In the age of fad diets and weight-loss everything, an old adage like "never trust a skinny chef" sounds outdated at best and offensive at worst.

Yet there's a kernel of truth in the saying: If a chef doesn't love his cooking, chances are a gourmand won't like it either.

The same can be said for just about any industry. At Allure Medical Aesthetics and Laser Center, in Frisco, Dr. Heidi Worth is the proverbial "fat chef." She researches every new procedure before bringing it to her clinic, particularly when the procedure is as promising as UltraShape.

This January, Worth became the second physician in Colorado with access to UltraShape, a fat-reduction device and procedure that was approved by the Federal Drug Administration last April.

And what did Worth's research look like? She went under the knife, so to speak.

"I feel great," says Worth, who earlier this year went through the same treatment cycle her patients will encounter. "My pants fit a lot better."

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But UltraShape doesn't involve traditional knives. Unlike liposuction and other surgical weight-loss procedures, the procedure is noninvasive and requires very little recovery time. Treatments last an hour and a half from start to finish, including pre-procedure preparation time, and most clients begin with three separate sessions. Worth says a handful of clients begin to see results as soon as the first treatment, with final fat-loss results ranging from 1 inch to 3.5 inches.

"I've been really waiting for this to hit the United States for years," Worth says. "I've tried a lot of other machines over the last four or five years, just as we were getting into body shaping, but I didn't find anything that was really good for me or my staff. We just encountered lots of side effects we didn't want."

RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME

Since the '60s, weight-loss procedures have been a final option for people who struggle with weight and weight-related issues. Those procedures have become more common and streamlined over the past two decades, and the majority of clinical procedures now tackle fat cells with one of two methods: heat or cold.

As Worth explains, humans stop developing new fat cells when they reach adulthood. Most outpatient weight-loss procedures disrupt or "pop" those cells, releasing fat into the body where it is typically processed by the liver.

For Worth, the problem with hot or cold treatments is discomfort. Many of the heat procedures involve lasers and can lead to extreme discomfort during and after the procedure.

Cold treatments work in the opposite way, freezing fat "like a stick of butter," Worth says. Yet she says those treatments also have a slew of side effects, including temporary and even permanent nerve damage that has led to hospitalization.

"They were just not right for my practice," Worth says of the various hot and cold procedures she's researched over the past seven years. "We keep up on the literature and read the reports, so that helps us decide what's best for our patients."

And Worth truly believes UltraShape is the best option for her patients and practice. Rather than heat or cold, it uses targeted beams of ultrasound to disrupt fat cells. The beams can be targeted just about anywhere — thighs, abdomen, glutes — and cause no pain, just like the ultrasound of a newborn.

"I liken this to having a layer cake," Worth explains. "You lift one layer out, scoop away the frosting, then put the cake back together. That frosting doesn't have the ability to grow back and neither does fat."

The ultrasound procedure requires no anesthesia or other drugs — clients sit through measurements and photographs, nothing more.

UltraShape has been available in Europe for nearly a decade, which gave the FDA and physicians like Worth plenty of data to pore over before bringing the procedure to the stateside public.

"This is the right fit for us, the right fit for up here," Worth says. "It's great to see the research coming from countries that have had it longer than us. We benefit from their thoughtfulness."

ONE SIZE DOESN'T FIT ALL

While Worth lauds UltraShape for its simple, pain-free treatments, she says it's not for everyone. It's made to target small, isolated pockets of fat, not treat obesity or other serious weight conditions. The doctor says it's best for people who are close to an ideal body-mass index but just want a bit of help removing the final traces of unseemly fat.

"We don't live in the tropics," Worth says. "Most of us don't spend nine months wearing shorts and halter tops, but we want to look good in our clothes. If someone said, 'I can get rid of that little paunch or that little pocket of fat,' it's an appealing thing."

And that's what makes the procedure ideal for the mountains, Worth says. Many of her clients are active and athletic, so serious treatments like bariatric surgery are unnecessary. They're also more expensive than UltraShape, which Worth says is one of the most affordable outpatient weight-loss procedures. Pricing varies from patient to patient based on the number of visits and size of the treatment area.

"Compared to something like surgery, this is very reasonable for permanent fat removal," Worth says. "Once you have those three sessions, you're done. There's no maintenance to the fat-removal portion of this. Skin tightening will require a bit of work, but that's about it."

UltraShape pricing

Before committing to an UltraShape treatment, Dr. Heidi Worth with Allure Medical Aesthetics says all clients should first schedule a free consultation by calling the Frisco office at 970-668-0998.

Fat reduction series: $3,000 for three treatments ($2,500 for first-time clients)

Skin-tightening series: $1,200 for three treatments ($900 for first-time clients)

Combo series: $3,600 for three treatments, including fat reduction and skin-tightening ($3,000 for first-time clients