Weight Loss Wednesday: Some claim machine melts away pounds

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by Meg Farris / Medical Reporter

wwltv.com

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 18 at 1:58 PM

It's new weight loss technology that is not like anything you have seen before. Take a rest on an exam table while a light in the room melts the fat away. There's no pain or cutting but is it effective.
 
Krystal is a healthy 22-year-old who works out regularly. But still, she wanted to contour and slim down her body.
 
"Everyone that I saw was like, 'Oh my gosh like you look so much thinner' and I was like, 'Oh, thank you,'" said Krystal.
 
So she turned to new technology, where studies show an average loss of a little more than three and a half inches from four areas of the body combined.
 
"Often times things that sound too good to be true really are too good to be true. But I think the proof has been in the putting and that we have had patients who have lost over five and six inches or changed pants size by doing this," said Metairie Dermatologist Dr. Diane Rose.
 
Dr. Rose recently purchased a machine called Zerona. It's looks like an octopus-shaped lamp. Patients just lie down on their backs for 20 minutes, and then on their stomachs for another 20 minutes, while low energy laser beams twirl around on areas they want to shrink.
 
"I had a few very thin patients do the procedure and they did not lose that many inches, but were very happy," said Dr. Rose. I had one patient who had had a suit that she couldn't get into and after she finished it, not only could she zip up the skirt but she could put her finger between the waist band and the skirt."
 
What's reportedly happening is fat, right under the skin, is being liquefied, the cell wall broken down so the fat can spill out and be metabolized away. The patients get six treatments over two weeks. Dr. Rose says patients are also put through a month long routine of walking 40 minutes a day, drinking an increased amount of water and no alcohol, eating a healthful diet, and taking a special supplement called "Curva."
 
So how does she know that it's not, cutting alcohol, the healthful diet, and the walking 40 minutes a day, that's really taking that fat away.
 
"And I think that that's a really good point, except that they do have the clinical studies where they actually went in and biopsied the fat," said Dr. Rose.
 
The Zerona got FDA clearance for being safe but has not yet gotten FDA approval for being effective.
 
While there are studies on the Zerona that doctors say are promising, they still say they want to see more.
 
"I will not say no to it but my acceptance of it will be, 'let me see a little more data,' " said LSUHSC and Metairie Plastic Surgeon Dr. Kamran Khoobehi.
 
"There still needs to be more research in it, but it seems to be effective actually from a lot of the data that's out there now," explained Dr. Kim Edward LeBlanc, Head of the Department of Family Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.
 
"It's probably going to be a first generation and improvements will be coming down the line," said New Orleans Dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo. "I think it's perfectly safe. I think as far as someone who is adventurous and understands that the results may not be predictable, I think it is a safe option that a patient could explore."
 
"Some people claimed a nine-inch reduction, but some people claim no reduction, so it may not work on everybody," said Otolaryngologist and Metairie Plastic Surgeon Dr. Stephen Metzinger. "But if you have the money and the time and you're willing to put in your two weeks, it may be worth it to you."
 
Both plastic surgeons Dr. Stephen Metzinger and Dr. Cynthia Mizgala say what's missing are long term results.
 
"I have talked with physicians who have used it and had excellent results. Some patients loosing over 14 inches, but again, this is a combination of different areas and also that it may not be just a two week treatment, that maybe multiple treatments will give you even better results," said Metairie Plastic Surgeon Dr. Cynthia Mizgala.
 
All the doctors say it's safe, painless, there's no down time and no risk of infection. And that's what this mother of four needed, a way to get rid of her genetic saddle bags that won't go away even with her active routine. A medical condition keeps her from having liposuction but the Zerona was safe. And her husband noticed the change.
 
"He thinks it's worked and he likes what it did, commented about the way a pair of pants fit me over the weekend. So that was good. I'm actually wearing a dress that I would not have worn for the past year because it's fitted and a year ago it was too tight on my thighs," said Jennifer Walkenford.
 
Like everything else, the technology will keep inching forward, but if you can't wait to see if it melts your inches, the first external laser has made it's debut.
 
The makers of the Zerona say it might not work as well on people who have internal scar tissue from previous liposuction, especially laser liposuction.

The cost ranges from $1,800 to $2,400 for the 6-week treatment.
 

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