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The FLARE Research Study

The principal investigator for this study is Rachael E. Van Pelt, PhD. This research study is approved by the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB protocol #07-0339)

Purpose of the Research Study:
The goal of this study is to see where the fat that is eaten in a meal (dietary fat) is stored once thigh fat tissue has been removed by liposuction. This research study will determine whether removing thigh fat by liposuction changes how a woman’s body handles dietary fat. The study will further test whether there are differences between premenopausal and postmenopausal women in how they metabolize dietary fat.

We are looking for women who are:

  • healthy, non-smoking women aged 35-60 years
  • either premenopausal (normal menstrual cycles) OR
    postmenopausal (no longer have menstrual cycles)
  • not using any birth control or hormone therapy
  • no diabetes or other chronic disease
  • no previous liposuction or gastric bypass surgeries
  • stable body weight (no large weight gains or losses in last 2 months)
  • willing and able to undergo hip and thigh liposuction surgery

Liposuction Surgery: All liposuction surgeries for this research study are done at the top ranked University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) by a board certified plastic surgeon, Christopher Law, MD. Dr. Law is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has been performing liposuction surgeries for more than 15 years. The liposuction procedure itself is not experimental. Dr. Law uses the state-of-the-art 'tumescent' liposuction technique which minimizes bruising, swelling and pain during postoperative recovery. All surgeries are done in one of the newly built UCH operating rooms under general anesthesia. Following the liposuction procedure, postoperative recovery occurs at the Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC) where 24 hour hospital nursing care is provided at no additional cost to the study participant.

Research Study Participation:
Volunteers who meet the entry criteria and whose screening tests are within normal limits will be invited to participate in the research study. The plastic surgeon, Christopher Law, MD, must also agree that each study volunteer is a good candidate for hip and thigh liposuction surgery. Those who qualify and agree to participate will be randomly placed into either a surgery group or a control (delayed surgery) group. Random placing occurs by chance, like the flip of a coin. Neither the study participant nor the investigators have control into which group someone is placed. There is an equal chance of ending up in either group. However, surgery is available to both groups at the same cost. The surgery group will have surgery at the beginning of the study and the control group can have surgery at the end of the study. Those who qualify and agree to participate will undergo testing over the course of 14 months at UCH and Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC).

Costs of liposuction:
The cost of the liposuction surgery through UCH is $4750. This surgery price is based on a 2.5 hour liposuction procedure (done in an OR under general anesthesia) which suctions four areas of the inner and outer hips/thighs. A 2.5 hour procedure is considered normal/average for liposuction. There is a possibility that a procedure could take longer, though it is not expected. If a surgery takes longer than the expected 2.5 hours, there may be extra costs involved. Also included in the price are: compression garments and prophylactic antibiotics, normal care in the post- anesthesia recovery room, and overnight recovery (24hr nursing care) at the CTRC.

Study volunteers will be compensated up to $850 for completion of all research tests over the 14 month study. Thus, the final overall cost of the surgery comes out to $3900.

Patients will be asked to pay the $4750 at the time of surgery. The hospital does not offer a payment plan, so patients who are looking for financing should consider other credit options.

Benefits for Research Study Volunteers:
It is a commitment to participate. However, there are benefits to participation that go beyond having the surgery. Study volunteers will receive, at no cost, information regarding their health status, including testing for diabetes, cholesterol, body fat and bone density. Eligible participants will also receive monetary compensation.

If you believe you qualify for the study and are interested in participating, please call Molly Krause  at 720-848-7557 or

To view or download a copy of the FLARE Consent Form, please click on link. The document is in (.pdf) format. FLARE Consent Form

Links to Additional Information:
For information about plastic surgery, visit the
American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or the
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
For information about surgical weight-loss visit the
University of Colorado Surgical Weight Loss Center.