Recycled body bits ... there are many uses for our excess baggage.
Recycling tummy tuck by-products has become a big business. But do patients have a right to know where their unwanted fat ends up?
Last October, Rebecca Travers, a PhD student, got in her Renault and drove to a private hospital in Bath, England, known for its cosmetic surgery. Travers wasn't interested in having a tummy tuck. She wanted the fat that was left after the tuck was done. At the appointed time, and with the patient still sedated, the theatre staff produced the sample - abdominoplasty can result in quite large pieces of intact flesh and this weighed around 1kg. Travers placed it into her container - a metal tray in a plastic box - and then she drove back to Bath University to begin her analysis.
She was investigating adipose tissue - fat - and is part of a growing number of medical researchers and specialists who see in cosmetic surgery what many miss: the waste. Cosmetic surgery, after all, is all about removing excess fat and tissue. The mission of these experts is to rescue it from the incinerator.