With every passing year, it seems there are more promising fat removal options than ever. If you’re looking for a quick fix, these treatments swear that they'll suck, tuck, or freeze fat off of your body in a snap. And that all sounds great—in theory.
The latest high-tech weight-loss tool promising to make losing fat a lazy girl's dream is the Zerona fat loss laser.
Here's how it works: The application of these FDA-approved lasers liquefies your fat cells, says Wright Jones, M.D. and double board-certified plastic surgeon. The procedure involves what’s called a cold laser, or Low-Level Laser Therapy, which uses low levels of light to stimulate fat cells. This kind of laser doesn't heat your body tissue, so you shouldn’t feel anything. When the zapped fat cells collapse, their content is naturally released as waste from your body (a.k.a. you poop it out), resulting in fat loss.
Plastic surgeons hone their fat-blasting lasers on your waist, hips, and thighs (it hasn't been tested on the arms, neck, or face yet) for 40 minutes per session. You'll spend 20 minutes on your front and the same on your back. Jones says that he recommends patients undergo the procedure three times a week for at least two weeks to see results. He also says that patients shouldn't wait more than 72 hours between treatments or else the fat cells may begin to refill.
Can It Help You Lose Fat?
Similar to cryolipolysis (a.k.a. CoolSculpting), the Zerona laser aims to contour the body, meaning it won't help if you have 20 or more pounds to lose. And even though the before and after photos of women who've undergone the treatment are seriously jaw-dropping, researchers aren't convinced the lasers are that effective at reducing fat. A 2011 study from the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine examined the results of five patients who underwent six treatments over a two-week period. The researchers found that there were no significant reductions in their measurements. In fact, the biggest drop overall was a half inch. Plus, ultrasounds showed that no patients lost a significant amount of fat.
However, a 2012 study of 689 subjects found that patients lost an average of five inches total from their bodies after undergoing the same two-week treatment as the previous study. Though many patients ended up gaining centimetres back.
Should You Try It?
If you’re interested in trying a procedure like this, Jones says it’s best to do your research. He says the best way to do that is to discuss your options with a plastic surgeon or dermatologist.
Whether or not you're the ideal candidate for Zerona depends on your current weight, your lifestyle, and the condition of your skin. Patients who are overweight, don't maintain a healthy lifestyle, and have loose skin won't see the results they want, says Jones. "My recommendation is to find an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon who can explain each option and help you decide which is best for you,” he says. And that might mean trying to lose weight the old-school way by switching up your diet and getting active, instead.
This article originally appeared on womenshealthmag.com.