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Beverly Hills dermatologic surgeon David Amron is on a mission. Dubbed a “liposuction expert,” from his enclave in Beverly Hills, Amron performs body contouring procedures with a keen aesthetic eye and superb level of care. Amron is the Founder of Spalding Drive Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, as well as Beverly Hills Doctors Surgery Center. He specializes in non-surgical facial rejuvenation and is recognized internationally for his unique approach to artfully sculpting and shaping the body for women and men. As a pioneer in the field, he offers multiple types of body sculpting and fat removal procedures that can be done individually or combined, depending on the patient, for a truly customized experience and outcome. Another thing that stands out about Amron is that he is not the typical “Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon.” His well heeled international clientele tout his caring beside manner and the special interest he takes in all of his patients, not only the ones you see on the big screen.
Lipedema is an often-misdiagnosed fat storage condition affecting millions of our national and global population. It primarily occurs in the legs, specifically the anterior thighs, knees, and ankles. Often, it will also appear in the upper arms in later stages. It develops the appearance of tree-like, column-like legs, with disproportionate fat storage and a lot of non-pitting edema, or excess swelling. A lot of times there’s a cuff around the ankles in lipedema patients. It’s different from obesity and fat legs. Obesity is being overweight, and fat legs may just be a part of genetic disproportion, but with lipedema, there’s also prominence of swelling, and again, that sort of column-like look to the leg. Commonly there’s a genetic inheritance component to lipedema. It occurs almost exclusively in women, and usually appears after puberty and progressively gets worse. It affects approximately 11 percent of the female population — 17 million women in the U.S. and 370 million women worldwide. For the most part, lipedema is resistant to diet and exercise.
Various medical treatments have been met with limited success, and the only real possible cures are tumescent lymphatic sparing liposuction (which many surgeons are reluctant to perform) and water-assisted liposuction (WAL). There are a number of things that have been done, but nothing with the same results. One of the main treatment therapies is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). It does seem to significantly help with the swelling that comes with lipedema, however, there’s a lot of maintenance involved, and it doesn’t really seem to make a difference in terms of the disease itself. There are several doctors and healthcare providers around the country who are treating lipedema medically. The medical treatment primarily revolves around the use of medicines such as Cimetidine and supplements such as Selenium, as well as others, to reduce the inflammation and swelling. The role of decongestive therapy also involves MLD, leg elevation, and compression is used to reduce swelling.
Lipedema is a very under-recognized condition, especially in the United States, and I’m one of the few doctors with experience in surgically treating lipedema patients. I want to further advance both the knowledge and awareness of lipedema among the medical community, as well as within the general public. There are many treatment centers in Europe, especially Germany, a country at the forefront of initial research and treatment for lipedema patients. Unfortunately, there are very few treatment centers in the nation, but I’m currently in the process of advancing my practice to treat more and more lipedema patients around the world. I’m also setting up an extensive protocol, both pre- and post-surgically, to treat these patients in a comprehensive fashion. Along with that, I am aligning myself with many medical experts around the country, including Dr. Karen Hebrst, who is a worldwide expert in fat disorders, such as lipedema. We’re working together to establish protocols, and also collaborating on studies among lipedema patients to not only advance therapies, but also to increase awareness, so that possibly one day, lipedema might be more recognized by insurance companies in terms of coverage. Lipedema patients are not only suffering from the aesthetic effects of the disease, which creates emphasis on disproportionate areas, but they also suffer in terms of their lifestyles. As lipedema progresses, patients experience a series of symptoms including: discomfort, pain, numbness, and often immobility. Patients begin to experience a viscous cycle of worsening swelling and pain, such that they can’t properly exercise, which certainly makes the condition worse.
I’ve been an expert in liposuction surgery for the past two decades, and in recent years, there’s absolutely been an exciting area of advancement in regards to noninvasively targeting fat. I’ve been observing this area very carefully, and there are several devices that work well. Some are better than others, but UltraShape is the most specific, noninvasive device that exists, and it represents the next generation of approaching fat non-surgically. It’s much more customized and focused on how it works, versus other, more nonspecific modalities. As a key opinion leader for Syneron, the developer of UltraShape, I’m one of the first few surgeons in the nation to offer the treatment. Before UltraShape was released to other surgeons, I already made the decision to incorporate it into my practice as a great alternative for patients who do not want surgery.
It’s important that patients do their research to select a surgeon they trust — they shouldn’t be quick to make a decision, or fall prey to some price-driven marketing campaign. The patients I see have taken the time to learn and understand the procedure, and they come to me as an expert in the area. I am really here for guidance, and to help patients determine what the best course of action may be, whether it’s surgical or nonsurgical. Patients want a procedure that will deliver the best results, and one that doesn’t involve a lot of recovery time. That’s one of the advantages to some of the noninvasive techniques that are now entering the marketplace. UltraShape is entirely painless and works very, very quickly. In as little as two weeks, patients already start to see improvements in their bodies. In regards to traditional liposuction, when patients understand my approach, which uses local anesthesia as to general anesthesia, they’re often impressed by how little downtime they experience. Patients will leave my office half an hour after their surgeries, and are able to go home and walk around. The next day, patients are usually up and going, and in as little as two days, most are back at work and doing their daily routines, including light exercise.
If patients have reasonable expectations, and are evaluated properly, noninvasive treatments provide a great alternative for someone who wants to avoid surgery. Noninvasive approaches are an area of significant growth in the industry, because now, we have the ability to remove and destroy fat tissue. This area is getting better and better, not only in terms of non-surgically removing fat, but also in terms of tightening up the skin. I use a variety of technologies, and we’re seeing fantastic improvements in cellulite in ways we wouldn’t have seen years ago. I’m currently developing a new approach, Integrative Body Contouring, which provides the patient with a more comprehensive treatment. The approach is now more holistic, and instead of doing a liposuction procedure to simply remove fat, Integrative Body Contouring will address the role of many different facets – how overweight the person is, his or her ability to lose weight, as well as the role of exercise and muscle tone. Additionally, proper hormonal balance is critical, so we’re incorporating anti-aging medicine into the treatment, addressing patients who are hormonally challenged and adding corresponding therapy as part of their overall procedure. I’ve always been a purest in terms of all of the new improvements that have entered the marketplace. I always return to the most important factor, which is the trust a patient places in his or her surgeon. I’m very excited about all of the recent technological advances, but again, the most important factor to me will always be selecting the right doctor.