NEW TREATMENTS USING EITHER COLD LASER LIGHT OR FREEZING REDUCE FAT WITH LITTLE PAIN OR DOWNTIME
BY NANCY McVICAR
Stretch out on a spa bed, listen to your favorite music or read the latest bestseller, and take two inches off your waist in 40 minutes.
Sounds highly improbable, but for some people, and for a price, it is possible.
New treatments make it possible to reduce the layer of fat just beneath the skin using either cold laser light or a freezing technique – with little or no pain and no downtime.
In August 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a machine called the Zerona Lipolaser for body sculpting and fat elimination.
“I’m a plastic surgeon and I do liposuction, tummy tucks, and other procedures, but this treatment is for people who don’t want anything that invasive,” says Dr. Michael Rodriguez, who practices in Plantation.
“We guarantee a reduction of three inches, but we’ve seen as much as a 14-inch reduction in the waist. The heavier you are, the more you can lose,” Rodriguez says. “But there are no miracles. It’s not going to make Rosanne Barr look like Cameron Diaz.”
According to Rodriguez, the cold laser light penetrates to the fat layer below the skin liquefying the fat so that it can be removed as waste from the body.
The cost is around $2,700 for six treatments done over a two-week period. But not everyone is a good candidate. In some men, for example, the fat in their abdomen is too deep to be reached by the laser light.
The Centers for Body Enhancement (bestnewbody.com) has placed Zerona machines in doctors’ offices in Aventura, Parkland, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Miami Beach and Doral, in addition to Rodriguez’s office.
“People can see immediate results – one to two inches the first time,” says Tim Reed, director of the company. Having done upwards of 30,000 treatments, Reed says the company has refined the procedure to get the best results. “We can pretty much predict where they will be at the end of the treatments. I don’t think anybody else does that.”
An alternative treatment is done by another machine with a Z name, the Zeltiq, which grabs hold of the area you want reduced and freezes the underlying fat without harming the skin, muscle or nerves. The body’s immune system gets rid of the dead fat cells gradually over the next couple of months, says Dr. Leyda Bowes, a Harvard-trained dermatologist practicing in Miami (bowesdermatology.com).
“A good candidate is a person who is within normal body weight, but has excess fat in certain areas – love handles, fat on the back, the belly,” Bowes says. “It’s not for someone who is much overweight.”
Bowes’ husband, Dr. Dieter Manstein, invented the procedure which was developed by the Zeltiq company and approved by the FDA in September 2010.
“It’s in more than 30 countries now, with more than 150,000 treated,” Bowes says. “Our office has done more than 1,500.”
The price varies, from $600 to $1,400, depending on the area being treated, but most people require only one treatment, Bowes says, with a 20 to 25 percent reduction in the fat layer.
“We measure our patients before and after,” Bowes says. “It’s not for weight reduction, but we do still weigh patients, and we’ve found that if they gain weight after the holidays, they still don’t have weight on the love handles.”