The assignee for this patent, patent number 8647338, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "'Cosmetic surgery' is a phrase used to describe broadly surgical changes made to a human body with the usual, though not always, justification of enhancing appearance. This area of medical practice constitutes an ever-growing industry around the world. Obviously, where such a procedure fails to deliver an enhanced appearance, the procedure fails to meet the desired goal. One of the reasons that the majority of current procedures fail to deliver upon their promise is that, for the most part, current procedures are invasive, requiring incisions and suturing, and can have serious and unpleasant side effects, including but not limited to scarring, infection, and loss of sensation.
"One of the more common forms of cosmetic surgery is the 'face-lift.' A face-lift is intended to enhance facial appearance by removing excess facial skin and tightening the remaining skin, thus removing wrinkles. A face-lift is traditionally performed by cutting and removing portions of the skin and underlying tissues on the face and neck. Two incisions are made around the ears and the skin on the face and neck is separated from the subcutaneous tissues. The skin is stretched, excess tissue and skin are removed by cutting with a scissors or scalpel, and the skin is pulled back and sutured around the ears. The tissue tightening occurs after healing of the incisions because less skin covers the same area of the face and neck and also because of the scars formed on the injured areas are contracting during the healing process.
"Traditional face-lift procedures are not without potential drawbacks and side effects. One drawback of traditional cosmetic surgery is related to the use of scalpel and scissors. The use of these devices sometimes leads to significant bleeding, nerve damage, possible infection and/or lack of blood supply to some areas on the skin after operation. Discoloration of the skin, alopecia (boldness), is another possible side effect of the standard cosmetic surgery. The overall quality of the results of the surgery is also sometimes disappointing to the patients because of possible over-corrections, leading to undesired changes in the facial expression. Additionally, face-lift procedures require a long recovery period before swelling and bruising subside.
"The use of lasers to improve the appearance of the skin has been also developed. Traditional laser resurfacing involves application of laser radiation to the external layer of the skin--the epidermis. Destruction of the epidermis leads to rejuvenation of the epidermis layer. The drawback of the laser resurfacing procedure is possible discoloration of the skin (red face) that can be permanent.
"Another laser procedure involves using optical fibers for irradiation of the subcutaneous tissues, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. Re36,903. This procedure is invasive and requires multiple surgical incisions for introduction of the optical fibers under the skin. The fibers deliver pulsed optical radiation that destroys the subcutaneous tissues as the tip of the fiber moves along predetermined lines on the face or neck. Debulking the subcutaneous fat and limited injury to the dermis along the multiple lines of the laser treatment results in contraction of the skin during the healing process, ultimately providing the face lift. The drawback of the method is its high price and possibility of infection.
"Electrosurgical devices and methods utilizing high frequency electrical energy to treat a patient's skin, including resurfacing procedures and removal of pigmentation, scars, tattoos and hairs have been developed lately, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,264,652. The principle drawback of this technology is collateral damage to the surrounding and underlying tissues, which can lead to forming scars and skin discoloration.
"Other forms of cosmetic surgery are also known. One example is liposuction, which is an invasive procedure that involves inserting a suction device under the skin and removing fat tissues. As with other invasive surgical procedures, there is always a risk of infection. In addition, because of the invasive nature of the procedure, physicians usually try to minimize the number of times the procedure must be performed and thus will remove as much fat tissue as possible during each procedure. Unfortunately, this procedure has resulted in patient deaths when too much tissue was removed. Assuming successful removal of excess fat tissue, further invasive surgery may be required to accomplish desired skin tightening.
"The prior art to date, then, does not meet the desired goal of performing cosmetic surgery in a non-invasive manner while causing minimal or no scarring of the exterior surface of the skin and at the same time resulting in the skin tightening."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention provides an apparatus and method for creation of a controlled injury or alteration to the subcutaneous tissue and/or underside of the dermis, with the following healing process leading to the contraction of the skin; and/or to the controlled destruction of fat cells, leading to their permanent loss. In the present invention the damage to the subcutaneous tissue, underside of the dermis, and/or fat cells is caused by electroporation.
"An apparatus in accord with the current invention comprises a voltage pulse generator, an applicator with two or multiple electrodes of different shapes and sizes and a cable connecting the electrodes to the pulse generator. The pulse generator produces set of high voltage pulses of predetermined amplitude, duration and number to cause necrosis in a treated area of subcutaneous tissues.
"A method in accord with the current invention comprises application of electrical pulses to the electrodes positioned on the skin in a treatment area. For a face lift, flat and needle-like electrodes are used, the last one providing a strong and non-uniform electric field predominantly normal to the surface of the skin. The amplitude, duration and number of applied pulses are selected to cause necrosis of fat cells to a predetermined depth in the subcutaneous tissue and a limited necrosis of the underside of the dermis. A number of lines of predetermined pattern are exposed to electroporation. Later, during the healing process the skin on the treated area contracts. The injury to the tissues made by electroporation is very gentle and selective; it does not produce scars on the epidermis, the most external layer of the skin.
"A method of weight loss and body sculpturing in accord with the present invention comprises application of electroporation pulses to a significant volume of fat tissue. In this case both electrodes are flat and attached to the arms of a forceps. The electrodes are moveable towards and away from each other and are capable of pinching skin with underlying subcutaneous fat and electroporating it. Application of flat, parallel electrodes produces a electric field is uniform in the tissue that effects only fat cells.
"For weight loss a voltage generator coupled to multiple needle type electrodes may be used.
"In another embodiment of the present invention, an electroporation apparatus for bulk weight loss may comprise apparatus for production of a pulsed magnetic field and its application to the area to be treated. In this embodiment of the present invention, a curl electric field for the electroporation of subcutaneous fat is created by the pulsed magnetic field. Curl electric field causes eddy currents in the tissue and at an appropriate amplitude above kills the fat cells."
For more information, see this patent: Chornenky, Victor I.; Jaafar, Ali. Method of Destroying Tissue Cells by Electroporation. U.S. Patent Number 8647338, filed
Keywords for this news article include: Surgery, Treatment, Medical Devices,
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