PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Anna Yarow tried and tried, but just couldn’t get rid of her belly fat. She’s afraid of liposuction, but a little needle doesn’t bother her. So she agreed to take part in a clinical trial testing a new injection that can break up pockets of fat.

It uses a naturally occurring enzyme called collagenase.

“It’s found all over the human body, we’re just putting a little bit extra in a certain spot to get rid of the fat,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Zachary Gerut.

Until now, cosmetic surgery has been the only real option for removing excess fat from under the skin. But just a week after getting the injections, Anna said her muffin top was gone.

Researchers have found collagenase works by dissolving the connections between fat cells, breaking them up. The fat is then absorbed by the body and broken down.

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“The body just cleans up whatever’s left,” Dr. Gerut said.

A plastic surgeon in New York and a researcher at Vanderbilt University are currently conducting the clinical trials.

Their research will lead to a phase-three clinical trial that the FDA will use to consider approving collagenase for the treatment of benign fatty tumors known as lipomas.

“There’s an indefinite number of people who have a tremendous number of lipomas,” Dr. Gerut said.

“I have three on my rib cage,” said patient Arthur Auster.

Auster has had more than 30 lipomas. He’s had to have many of them surgically removed, which has left him with scars.

So if collagenase can get rid of lipomas, researchers say it stands to reason that it also could be used to target fatty trouble zones – like the stomach and thighs.

“If you can melt fat in a little capsule, meaning lipomas, you can pretty much melt fat anywhere in the body,”  Dr. Gerut said.