The desire for fat reduction is a near universal one that crosses all age, gender and ethnic lines. From the countless number of diet and exercise approaches to the opposite choice of liposuction surgery, loss of body fat can be successfully done with varying degrees of individual effort. But between these two ends of the fat loss spectrum lies the developing field of non-invasive body contouring. The concept of losing fat without surgery through an external device is both appealing and promising.
External ‘machine-driven’ methods for fat reduction are not new. Whether it was the belt-driven shaking machines from the first half of the last century to sitting in a sauna box and sweating it off, letting something else do the work and hopefully losing weight will always catch the public’s attention. Taking a pill, of course, is the simplest and requires the least amount of effort. But you probably didn’t get overweight or develop those few fat areas by taking pills, so it seems unrealistic that you can lose this fat by pills alone. While science and technology has come a long way, does today’s non-invasive body contouring devices really work…or are they just a modern-day version of the old ‘shaking machine’?
The newest technology for non-surgical body contouring is Zerona. This is an external cold laser that helps make fat cells leaky and loss some of their lipid contents. While people think of a laser as being a focused beam of light that hits a target and causes it to vaporize or melt, cold laser technology is different. It can pass through the skin without injuring it and penetrate up to 5 cms (2 inches) in depth. This can reach localized fat and exert its photochemical effect. The concept of photochemical-induced leakiness of fat cells is a bit hard to grasp but its physics are a little similar to the way cell phones actually work. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around cell phone technology to understand how all these messages and images are flying around and get to their intended recipients….even when I am on an elevator or a plane. But despite my ignorance I have plenty of evidence every day that it does work. So I won’t hold it against photochemical-induced fat loss simply because I don’t completely understand the science behind it.
The effects of Zerona on fat is very short-lived so multiple treatments are needed, spaced but a few days apart. Over a course of several weeks and multiple treatments, many patients have been shown to lose several inches around the waist, hips and thighs. But along with the treatments it is advised to drink water and take a niacin supplement to support the lymphatic clearance of the released fat. Herein lies the important difference from today’s technology and yesterday’s devices of hope…the use of some modest lifestyle changes and good patient selection.
Non-invasive body contouring is not a substitute for what liposuction can achieve or for the large amounts of weight loss that occur from bariatric surgery. Rather it is intended to benefit those who have some stubborn areas of fat that are just not responsive to what you can do at home with your best efforts. And for those who do not feel they have enough of a fat problem to justify surgery or want to do anything to try and avoid that solution. By using these criteria, most patients that use Zerona have more modest fat collections. This size of the problem and the modest lifestyle changes that are part of the program account for the generalized success and satisfaction that occurs from this non-invasive body contouring device.
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