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.
Saturday, September 26th, 2009
You may have seen my segment on the Rachael Ray Show Friday where I discussed the new Zerona laser. Does it really work to reduce inches without pain, downtime, needles, or surgery? The answer is yes.
In my experience, the majority of patients who have Zerona treatments achieve inch loss. The studies appear to show an average of 3-4 inches after 2 weeks of 40 minute treatments every-other-day. This is consistent with what I’ve seen in my office when measuring four areas: hips, waist, and each thigh. So yes, it does work when the protocol is followed. It is the only machine that I know of that can do this.
That being said, there are people who do not get 3-4 inches of loss. For this reason I’ve instituted a policy where the patient receives a $1000 credit towards the procedure of their choice if they do not achieve at least 3 inches of total loss from the four areas. Why not refund the whole fee? The company that makes the machine leases it on a “per use” basis. That means that every time I use the machine I pay them a fee which I cannot get refunded.
So overall, the Zerona appears to be a safe, effective way to reduce inches without pain or downtime. It’s not a valid substitute for liposuction, though, since the results are not nearly as dramatic as surgery. As time goes on, I expect that we’ll find ways to improve the technology and protocols to get even more impressive results. Until then, it’s not a bad deal at all!
Thanks for reading.
Michigan-based Plastic Surgeon
Anthony Youn, M.D.