What is the Zerona Laser Treatment?
Zerona® Laser Treatment is intended to be a non-invasive alternative to liposuction. The promotional material describing the Zerona Laser Treatment suggests that shining a low-energy laser on the skin causes damage to the fat cells below the surface of the skin. Specifically, these promotional materials suggest that the cell walls become “porous” after being exposed to the Zerona Laser Treatment causing the fat stored within them to be excreted. Over the two-week treatment period, consisting of six, forty-minute sessions, the fat cells in the target areas allegedly become smaller and flatter. However, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this method of body sculpting is effective. The company touts FDA approval for the device. However this only means that it is safe to expose the skin to the laser light from the device. It does not also mean that the treatment does what the manufacture claims.
Safe, Non-invasive, Effectiveness Questionable
Despite the testimonials of allegedly satisfied patients who have had Zerona Laser Treatment, there is no independent, peer reviewed studies showing that this treatment is effective. Individuals reporting on RealSelf.com have raised significant questions regarding the effectiveness of this treatment. Interestingly, the Zerona Laser Treatment protocols also call for altering your diet. Any calorie restriction that is severe enough is likely to cause weight loss. This does not mean that also shining a laser at your body further enhances the body contouring simply caused by a calorie restriction. It is unclear if the Zerona Laser is more effective than shining a laser pointer at your body. What does appear accurate is that this treatment is probably completely safe. However, if you spent thousands of dollars for a treatment that is supposed to contour your body and are disappointed, this may be of little solace.
Zerona vs. Laser Liposuction
Zerona Laser is not surgery or liposuction. It is simply a fancy low energy laser shined on the skin. The treatment is a bit of a light show so one might have the impression that it is actually doing more than it is. However, it is not a surgery or invasive procedure. In contrast, Smartlipo™, or laser liposuction uses a small cannula assisted with a laser. The aspect of the surgery that seems to please most patients is that their liposuction is performed under local anesthesia with a mild oral sedative. Like tumescent liposuction, the down time for laser liposuction is minimal under local anesthesia. The results are comparable to what can be accomplished with other methods of performing liposuction under local anesthesia.
Unlike Zerona Laser Treatment, laser liposuction is similar to tumescent liposuction in that local or general anesthesia is administered and the procedure is invasive. Laser liposuction yields visible and proven results only because it is essentially tumescent liposuction ― the laser has no scientifically-proven impact on the procedure.
Why all the hype?
Marketing people understand that the public is fascinated by lasers and is under the impression that any treatment with laser must be better. However, due to a loophole in how the FDA approved devices, manufactures only need to show that these devices are safe. This is a much less rigorous standard that drugs are held to. Drugs must be proven both safe and effective. So when a company reports that their device is FDA approved, the public may think that devices also must meet the safe and effective standard; is not the case. Consequently, device manufactures have more leeway in marketing their devices compared to drug manufactures. Care is therefore needed in assessing device claims.
About Dr. Steinsapir
Dr. Steinsapir is an expert cosmetic surgeon who has skillfully handled liposuction procedures in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills for over 20 years. He only performs tumescent liposuction under local anesthesia because of its superior results and fast, comfortable recovery time. He is a board certified opthalmologist and fellowship trained in oculoplastic surgery and cosmetic surgery in Southern California where he specializes in cosmetic surgery with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques and surgery, and leadership in medical technology. Dr. Steinsapir has a private practice and also serves as an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Contact us today to learn how Dr. Steinsapir’s experience and training make him an expert provider of liposuction.