Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
One of the hottest things in plastic surgery is noninvasive fat removal. I’ve mentioned on the Rachael Ray Show that fat removal without any invasiveness is the ‘holy grail’ of plastic surgery, and I still stand by it. I’ve gone over the Zerona a few times on this blog, but what about Zeltiq, a.k.a. Cryolipolysis? Does this device actually remove fat without surgery or needles?
Well, let’s review the different fat removing technologies:
1. Diet and exercise – The best way to lose fat, period. But everyone wants the quick fix nowadays.
2. Liposuction – The only proven way to remove fat cells permanently. I do this surgery all the time.
3. Fat melting injections – Also goes by the names mesotherapy and Lipodissolve. This involves injecting medications off-label in an attempt to destroy fat cells by the caustic nature of the medications injected. Suffers from a lack of standardization and a bunch of yahoo plastic surgeon wanna-be’s doing it (but not everybody).
4. Zerona – These low-light laser treatments have been shown in multiple studies to take off an average of 3-4 inches after undergoing six treatments over two weeks, taking niacin and other supplements, performing regular exercise, and drinking a lot of water. I believe this definitely works, and have seen some patients lose 8-9 inches total when measuring the thighs, waist, and hips. The problems are two-fold: Patient Expectations (I found most patients to be ultimately unsatisfied even with major inch loss) and Lack of Control (Some patients who wanted to lose from the thighs lost from the hips instead, and vice versa). That being said, I do believe it works. I just couldn’t figure out how to get happy patients out of it, so I got rid of it!
5. Zeltiq – a.k.a. Cryolipolysis - This device acts by cooling the skin to such extremes that the fat underneath the skin becomes damaged and eventually cleared out by the bloodstream. Because the skin is much more resistant to the effects of temperature and trauma, it remains undisturbed. Initial studies have found approximately a 25% reduction in the thickness of fat after this treatment. Sounds good, right?
Well, sorta. Would you pay $2000 to lose only 25% of the thickness of your fat? That doesn’t sound like a lot of change for 2 G’s. I’m holding off on buying it until I see more impressive results.
For my post on Zerona, click here
For my previous post on Zeltiq, click here.
For my previous post on mesotherapy and lipodissolve, click here.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
In plastic surgery news, Medicis, the company which produces Restylane and Perlane, has just announced that it is acquiring Liposonix, a Seattle-based company which specializes in nonsurgical fat removal. Liposonix is a pioneer in focused ultrasound technology as a noninvasive way to reduce fat. It’s being used in Europe, but is not available in the U.S. They are hoping that their machine will achieve FDA approval by 2011, if not sooner.
What’s the big deal? Well, we are always looking for ways to reduce fat without surgery(or exercise!). External ultrasound has been used in the past, but to my knowledge has never been proven to actually permanently reduce fat. It was a hot topic at one time, but has cooled over the past several years. With technology improving, however, it is possible that the Liposonix machine may produce results superior to the disappointing results of the past. In my office we utilize external ultrasound for cellulite reduction via the Dermosonic technique, but it is not proven to permanently remove fat cells. Yesterday our local Fox affiliate aired a segment on cellulite reduction where I described the cause of cellulite and how cellulite reduction works. Click here for streaming video of it.
Liposonix is a far cry from mesotherapy or Lipodissolve, however, which is by no means non-invasive. I saw a patient recently who had several treatments of Lipodissolve to the fat and loose skin of her tummy. To be honest, the fat did appear to have been significantly reduced. However, she was left with a bunch of leftover loose, hanging skin. She emphasized to me that the treatments were excruciatingly painful and cost several thousand dollars.
I am very interested in the possibilities of fat reduction with Liposonix. No matter what people may falsely advertise however, I know of no proven way to permanently remove fat here in the U.S. except via liposuction…. so far.
For the Medicis press release, click here.
Thanks for reading.
Anthony Youn, M.D.
Monday, April 14th, 2008
Good Morning America and 20/20 have recently broadcast investigations of Lipodissolve. Click here for their online story: ‘Lunchtime Lipo’ Draws Concern From Doctors. There is also a link to a streaming video of the GMA segment, where some patients are interviewed who developed disastrous results.
A few points:
For my other posts on mesotherapy and lipodissolve, click here.
Thanks for reading.
Anthony Youn, M.D.