Surgeon does self-liposuction

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- An overweight plastic surgeon performed liposuction on himself on camera to promote the potential use of stem cells that can be harvested in such operations.
Dr. Robert Ersek, 66, who conducted the operation with the help of liposuction's French inventor, said he would encourage patients to save their liposuctioned fat from now on. Dr. Yves Gerard Illouz, who was in town for a plastic surgery seminar and who at one point during Ersek's operation advised him on his technique, agreed.
"This will be the future," Illouz said of stem cells. He said that in five years, adult stem cells derived from tissue, such as fat, and other organs will be successful in fighting disease and injuries. Illouz performed the first liposuction in 1977.
Adult stem cells are different from embryonic stem cells, which are controversial and involve the destruction of fertilized human eggs.
"It's unbelievable," said Ersek, who was captured on film by television and newspaper cameras, as well as by a staff member. "I'm the actor, the director and the cinematographer."
After using a local anesthetic to numb his left side, Ersek used a metal wand to suck out the fat. Attached to a long, clear tube with a collection bottle at the end, Ersek stuck the wand deep into his abdomen and pushed it from side to side.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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