Maybe you've heard about how gold nanoparticles are going to revolutionise our lives. Is that day here? No. But do we now have gold nanoparticle-assisted liposuction? Yes.
The grossly fascinating technique, which is currently being tested in animals before it moves to human trials, uses gold nanoparticles to melt unwanted fat. Liposuction as it's currently performed is not a pretty process. (Beauty, pain, etc.) Surgeons scrape a sharp strawlike needle back and forth, breaking up fat cells before they're sucked out. But fat isn't the only thing that gets removed -- nerves and connective tissue can be damaged too. So how about a gentler, more refined technique?
Gold nanoparticles have been used to kill malignant tumours, so USCD professor Adah Almutairi reasoned it might work with fat too. She teamed up with her brother Khalid, a cosmetic surgeon to develop the new technique, which Chemical and Engineering News describes like this:
The plan was to inject the nanoparticles into the fatty area, fan infrared laser light over it in a controlled fashion, and then simply suck out the melted fat and the particles with a thin needle. Because fat melts at a lower temperature than the one at which connective tissue or nerve cells burn, the strategy "maintains the integrity of the tissue," Khalid says.
They initially tested the technique by melting butter and bacon (mmm) and then moved on to animal trials. Human trials could start later this year. This is exactly what we envisioned the nanoparticle revolution to be, right? [Chemical and Engineering News]
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