Q: Dr. Eppley, I want to get your opinion. I want to get rid of some body fat. I am not obese but need some help getting rid of some fat areas. I really don’t want to get liposuction and am interested in trying the Zerona. What has been your experience with its use? Do you think it is worthwhile to do? Or should I just go ahead and get liposuction?
A: As you have read about it and probably seen it in magazines or on TV, Zerona is a non-surgical device for circumferential fat reduction most commonly used for the waist, hips, and thighs. (although it can be used anywhere) It works by emitting a low-level laser energy that targets fat cells through a photochemical process. This causes the fat cells to temporarily open up and release fat which is then safely removed and broken down without side effects or downtime.
Its manufacturer has done a considerable amount of marketing largely based on his clinical study that was used to get FDA approval. In this study, they showed an average inch loss reduction of 3.65 inches across patient’s waist, hips, and thighs in as little as two weeks.
While this sounds great, I decided in my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice to do my own study. We studied our first 10 patients who underwent a full series of Zerona body slimming treatments. Our results were an average circumferential measurement reduction of over 6 inches. On a patient satisfaction scale, seven (70%) were extremely satisfied and saw significant improvement, two (20%) were satisfied as they saw improvement but had hoped for more, and one (10%) saw little change or improvement and was not satisfied.
Our first Indianapolis results were better than expected. When it comes to the measurements, know how they are derived. When you have an average of 6 inches lost, this does not mean it comes from the waistline or from one single body area measurement. Rather it is the collective number of inches lost from a combined number of cirumcumferential measurements including the waist, hips and thighs.
Should you get Zerona treatments? It is reasonable to do of you understand that Zerona is not magic nor is it equivalent to liposuction surgery. And it may not work well for everyone. But most patients do end up see some visible body changes and were happy that they had the treatments. Because I want to have happy and satisfied patients, and do not want to see patients waste money if avoidable, we credit much of what patients pay for Zerona towards the cost of liposuction surgery should they decide to go that route after a Zerona treatment program.
Dr. Barry Eppley
The desire to eliminate excess fat is both universal and historic. The sheer number of diet books, meal programs, and fat burning medications and supplements are a testament to what the majority of the American population would like to do. If one of these approaches was universally effective, there would not need to be so many treatment choices.
Liposuction is a proven surgical method to reduce spot areas of fat and trim down specific body areas, but it is surgery and involves expense and recovery. Lipodissolve injections are a non-surgical method of spot fat reduction but it is a slow and somewhat uncomfortable process that really works for the smallest areas of fat.
Along now comes ZERONA. Imagine a painless body slimming method that is medically proven to remove fat and inches without surgery with zero pain and downtime. Seem too good to be true? As a weight loss method…yes. As an effective body slimming method that can shrink your tummy, hips and thighs without surgery…no.
ZERONA is uniquely different from liposuction and other body slimming methods. How does it work? Using a low frequency ‘cold’ laser that uses the 635nm wavelength, the energy passes through the skin without injury and penetrates up to 5 centimeters. The laser energy causes the fat to emulsify through a photochemical process. Not to be confused with a photothermal (heat) or photoacoustic (vibration) method, this non-heat generating process makes the fat cells ‘leaky’. The fat cells shed their liquid fat content, now known as free-fatty acids, which is subsequently absorbed through your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system transports it to the liver where it is processed and broken down, and most importantly, not re-circulated and stored again as fat.
ZERONA is more than just a machine, it is a process. Through a typical series of 9 treatments, up to 5 inches off of the hips, waist and thigh in two to three weeks can be achieved. But, to aid the lymphatic process, the patient must significantly increase their water intake, and take a twice-daily niacin supplement during the treatment process. The treatment sessions require a commitment and must be done every two to three days to really be effective. Once the fat cells get leaky, you can’t let them heal themselves by missing treatments or having them too far apart. Each treatment session takes just under an hour, and is painless. Some have described them as almost ‘zen-like’ which I interpret as relaxing and non-stressful. Equally important, the patient can get up, go and return to all regular activities without any restrictions. There is no pain, bruising, or need for restrictions, but daily exercise (such as brisk walking, light running, or other cardio training) can increase the final results by aiding in lymph mobility.
If you are looking for a quick, safe, and affordable way to lose some fat areas, ZERONA may be a good option. For some people, it will be an effective alternative to liposuction and may eliminate the need for liposuction procedures altogether. For others it may not be a magic pill, but does offer a jump start to a healthier lifestyle…and along the way you may be able get back into that favorite pair of jeans.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: I have always been bothered by these fat collections on the lower part of my stomach and around into my back. Despite working out regularly and really focusing on these araes, I have been unable to lose them. Several years ago I tried fat-dissolving injections (I can’t remember their name) but they were very painful so I never did it more than one time. I have been hearing about the Zerona laser and it seems that these fat treatments do not cause any pain or swelling afterwards. This sounds almost too good to be true. Do you think as a plastic surgeon that it really works?
A: Zerona is the newest and most popular method of non-invasive fat removal. Using cold laser technology, it has the ability to pass through the skin and disrupt the membranes of the fats cells. This causes release of fat when the cell membranes breaks open. This released fat is absorbed and eliminated through the lympatic system. This is proven science and is significant enough that its clinical data passed through and was approved by the FDA. Through the concomitant use of exercise, increased water intake, and oral supplements, the effects of the laser are enhanced.
Is Zer0na a replacement for liposuction….no. It is effective but not that dramatically effective and effiicient as actual surgery. I think it is a proven method that for the right patient can be very effective at making visible fat reduction. Its success is patient-specific and better results are undoubtably obtained when the patient follows all of the adjunctive recommendations.