Why is it so hard to learn about Lipozap?

Tom at RealSelf on 30 Apr 2008 at 12:34pm

Technology combination is muddying the waters in the aesthetics market, such that consumers often get left in the dark on whether a cosmetic procedure is safe and effective.

Dr. Robert Singer, a La Jolla-based plastic surgeon and member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery pointed out to me that there are an increasing number of over-hyped technologies that claim a benefit, without valid evidence of reliability of benefit, if any. "There will be additional combinations of technologies that claim significant results, although each of the individual technologies were failures in achieving what they previously claimed they could produce."

The lack of transparency by some firms offering these new body slimming or skin rejuvenating technologies represents a formidable challenge to consumers who simply want the facts. 

Let's explore a cosmetic treatment offered in California called Lipozap. Up until recently our team hadn't heard of Lipozap, but added it to RealSelf.com after receiving several comments about the body slimming treatment. 

This week a reader described the post-procedure pain in heart wrenching detail. Lady2soothe writes that her Lipozap caused:

little pain during the actual  procedure, but, I was in so much pain on the way to the parking lot I felt as  though I might pass out and seriously considered calling the paramedics. By  the time I got home the tears were rolling down my cheeks. I stayed on my  couch for 3 days, trips to the bathroom were my only exercise, as I couldn’t  even bare eating. It was agony. The uncontrollable spasms in my legs curled my  toes and made my right shoulder ache.

This inspired me to get more information on Lipozap.  Searching google for Lipozap lead me to Lipozap.com, a dead site

What is lipozap? The lipozap website isnt helpful

So I called the Lipozap number and found out that it's a "laser lipolysis procedure" that doesn't require vacuuming typical of traditional liposuction. They told me Lipozap is FDA approved (October 06), leads to permanent fat removal, and is appropriate for someone who has a BMI below 31. Sounds great, right? So to learn more I was referred to their other website, lasershaping.com.  This site offers no explanation of the technology...more promises and proclamations.

In a Lipozap review a RealSelf member described Lipozap as another name for smart lipo. Yet, when I asked the company, the response was "Not sure its the same.  Lipozap could be the same as smart lipo if smart lipo is laser lipolysis"  Huh? 

Our editors have created this Lipozap description which differs from the Laser Shaping Clinic representative:

LipoZap is a body fat reduction treatment. LipoZap treatment combines fat-dissolving injections like Lipodissolve with massage, infrared heat, and radiofrequency wave therapy to break down fat cells.

This description is similar to that provided in this Ripoff Report (send me a note if you know the answer!).

After another hour of futility, digging for details that included the FDA website, I gave up.

This begs the question, if providers of services like Lipozap share limited information--essentially ignoring consumer demand for facts and greater transparency--should we conclude they're hiding something?

Comments (46)

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Dear Laurie, It was my pleasure to help. Thank you for your acknowledgement.
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I got my money back!! I wrote a letter to GEMoneybank telling them my situation and that I did not get all my treatments as well as the treatments not workng. I asked them to suspend my account until a dispute could be filed and to reimburse all that was financed except for the bodysuit. A letter came back a few weeks later denying my request stating I needed to settle my claim with the store I purchased the care from> Well duh, they are out of business which I clearly stated in the first letter, so I felt they were messing with me. I then immediately sent another letter threatening to get them added to the class action law suit as they probable were in cahoots with the Lipozap people to finance their deals for a year no intrest. I attached my original letter. I did not get another letter from them, but on my next statement, it showed a credit for the whole amount that I had paid and that I still owed. I did not need to fill out a dispute form. My husband called and requested a check be sent to us for the amount we had credit for and 2 weeks later a check came in the mail. I called the attorney and asked them to now take me off of the class action law suit as I got my money back. Good luck to all of you who still have not. Be tough in you letter and don't give up. Laurie
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Hi Lili, All I did was call CareCredit and explain the situation. The young lady I spoke with was very helpful by suggesting I write a letter to (she gave me the address for The Disputes Dept.) They sent me a claim form which I filled out, attached a copy of one of the pages of the Class Action Suit, and returned within a few days. Shortly thereafter I receive a letter telling me I had been credited in full and I was debt free with their company. About a week ago I receive a check for the full amount I'd actually paid them, including finance charges and interest. Hope this was helpful. I'm sure they will give you the same consideration.. Good luck
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I would just like to add that it sucks what happened to every one. I hope you all get your money back in some way or another. Only corporate level knew about the shut down.So do not blame the whole staff. People were just told what to say and did not know how to defy the money-hungry corps. The doctors and nurses had NO IDEA that the company went out of business until one day they showed up to work and was told they had no job awaiting them, no PTO pay, no severance and no more health insurance. The nurses and doctors really had no part in the corporations poor tactics and lies. Some of them were threatened and told what to say. So please do not badger the clinical staff. Also, they were real doctors and nurses. Most of them were good MD's and Nurses (minus some clinical managers) and had no idea.Many of them are still left unemployed because of the bad name. Supposedly, the company did not come out as another med spa. The former president is now operating under an entirely different medical company in MRI equipment. The clinical staff was also considering class action lawsuit. Good luck with your lawsuit...suck 'em dry.
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Josephine, as I told the other lady, I would gather your paperwork, write a letter of the details and fax it to Kathryns office.
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I paid 2,000 for Lipo Zap got the test shots and had a bad REACTION to it. I called them a few days later and told them I did not think it would be in my best interest to get it done and they said the money is non refundable I never got any procedure done and they owe me 2,000 and they are no longer in business. I already left Kathryn the laywer a message is there any other action I should take like contacting there office in Canoga Park or contacting Better Business Bureau? Let me know thanks Josephine
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I put down $2600 for a July 11th surgery and the place closed down. I just can't believe that such a scam can be so wide spread in this country. I would not trust any more of these types of treament centers and I will talk about it to how ever will listen so that other women will not have to fall pray to such junk.
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Oh no! I just got a Lipozap treatment last week on my upper and lower abdominal! it is lumpy and gross! im in so much pain and now they are out of business!!?? what am i supposed to do?!? I have 4 open wounds on the four sides on my body!?!
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I just called Lipo Zap/Laser Shaping Centers and guess what??? THEY ARE OUT OF BUSINESS!! How am I supposed to get reimbursed for the treatments I did not receive??
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I was so shocked and to find out that Laser Shaping Center is out of business. I took out a loan with Capital One and paid them but I did not receive any treatment yet. I was scheduled for my first treatment on July 15 but they had called and notified me that the appointment has been cancelled and no further treatment will be schedule. I want my money back but I could not get a hold of them. If anyone out there have any information, please let me know. Thanks.
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Hi, I read your email, did you get an answer? I'm in the same boat your in...$4800 on care credit plan and before I had any treatment they went out of business. Have you had any response on a refund? Linda
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Yes Linda I was very lucky,the bank (CareCredit w/GE bank) waved my fees (7/17/2008) and therefore in my favor. I sure hope you will get your money back, I wrote the bank it's worth a try. good luck
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Thanks for responding...I will continue to call and mail care credit regarding a refund.
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My original post does not appear on this page any longer, so I am re-posting along with additional comments for those who missed it the first time around. After much research I decided to do Lipozap (APPARENTLY NOT ENOUGH RESEARCH). My final reasoning for starting the Lipozap procedure was my doctor, Dr. Susanne Trout was on staff as Medical Director, and I felt, if she's backing this procedure, it's gotta be good. I started Lipozap Treatments Feb. 07. Lower abs, upper abs and back bra line ($2800), The nurses and tech’s are incredibly thorough, and their customer service skills are comparable to any 5 star hotel. Boy was I fooled, they're very good actors! My first treatment was to my lower abs. They did not lie. The procedure was virtually painless. However by the time I returned home 30 minutes later it was all I could do to get through the front door. When I complained I was told the first treatment is always the hardest. My 2nd visit was to treat my upper abs and bra line. Again, little pain during the actual procedure, but, I was in so much pain on the way to the parking lot I felt as though I might pass out and seriously considered calling the paramedics. By the time I got home the tears were rolling down my cheeks. I stayed on my couch for 3 days, trips to the bathroom were my only exercise, as I couldn’t even bare eating. It was agony. The uncontrollable spasms in my legs curled my toes and made my right shoulder ache. I spent considerable time discussing my pain with the nurse who called to do the follow up. The following week I spoke with an Administrator. She stated ½ treatments would remedy the pain and swelling and made jokes about a man who'd gone snow skiing the day following his treatments. They did their best to console me. I asked for a refund but they assured me 1/2 treatments with longer intervals between treatments would remedy the situation. Treatment #3 & 4 were halved. However nothing changed. Pain, swelling, spasms. Again I spoke with nurses and Admin. The head nurse laughed and told me she'd had the procedure and not only finished her work day, but had even returned to work the following day with no pain and minor swelling. A few days later, still in severe pain I again asked for a refund. This time I spoke with the Retention Administrator who after discussing my situation for 45 minutes became thoroughly upset when I suggested getting my orthopedic surgeon involved, She went so far as to begin screaming at me. After calming her down, can you believe I had to calm her? She offered to refund a VERY small portion of my fully paid treatment. Now 3 months later, with no treatments since March, still nothing but brusing and nodgles and lots of swelling. I've spoken repeatedly with Admin. Staff, they've REFUSED, even though their advertisements state, "Money Back Guarantee if not completely satisfied". Now the interesting thing is I've had major back surgery and this procedure is causing horrible swelling in my back culminating in severe spasms to my legs. To put it mildly, I hurt. The ab swelling has gone down but the lumps are still present, and my back still hurts. Since they won't return my money I had decided to continue treatment, however, yesterday (6/29) I had 1/2 treatment # 5. I feel like I was kicked in the back & yes, I do look like I'm 6 months pregnant. – I Would NOT recommend Lipozap. - TO MY WORST ENEMY! - I'm seriously considering seeking legal remedies. - Dr. Adams has promised to call me this coming Monday with info. regarding re-imbursement. - As of today July 12th, I'm still quite swollen and very lumpy, I have yet to hear from Dr. Adams or for that matter anyone on the staff including the young lady who has until this point made follow up calls. By the way Dr. Trout is no longer on staff. Anyone know why? - Kinda makes you wonder................. Additionally I have suffered severe Urinary Tract Infections with each and every treatment. Nov. 16, 2007. Finally got in touch with Dr. Trout’s secretary. She informed me the doctor had disassociated herself from Lipozap because they have not fulfilled their testing procedures and does not want to be associated with any treatment not FDA approved. I have seen Dr. Trout at her office in Beverly Hills, and I do consider her to be my doctor. I had consulted her regarding Liposuction, however at the time, I could not afford the treatment. Dr. Trout was professional, informative, friendly, and her prices, although too expensive for me, were very competitive. I did not bother to consult her to ask anything about Lipozap. I just assumed because she was the Medical Director, this would be a good thing. - Apparently, she had disassociated herself from MedAesthetica Medical Group because she DID NOT feel associating herself with using unapproved treatments or non-FDA medication. This was BEFORE I even went in for my consultation. MedAesthetica just didn't bother to remove the link to Dr. Trout. It's my fault I didn't call Dr. Trout personally until after the fact, by then I had already discontinued Lipozap treatments. Wish I had just saved up the cash and used Dr. Trout's services instead. After many phones calls I have now been told I will receive a form in the mail so I may request a refund. I was also told someone will in 4 to 6 weeks (ahhh 4 to 6 weeks???) to discuss whether I will be permitted any kind of refund. Even though I’m only halfway through treatment. A letter date Jan. 8, 2008 from MedAesthetica Clients Services gave me three options. #1 Transfer the rest of the Lipozap Treatments for credit on the VelaSmooth procedure. # 2 A credit in the amount of $262.50 toward other services such as Fotofacial, Lazer Hair Removal, Botox, Fraxel, etc. #3 A $262.50 Refund. I called Crystal Hernandez, at MedAesthetica, I left a voice mail. She has never bothered to return my call. April 29, 2008. I still look pregnant, actually I look much worse than when I started Lipozap. I still have lumps even though last last treatment was July of 2007. We’re talking 9 ½ months ago. And bruising too. LipoZap was a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE mistake! Anyone interested in joining the class action suit please follow the link below. Also take the time to look at the Better Business Bureau Report - RipOff.com, check out the articles on the Internet including the major news networks, CBS, NBC, ABC etc. Obviously I’m not the only one complaining! Here are the claimed problems with LipoZap that we are investigating:We have not been able to find scientific evidence that injecting “fat melting” solutions is safe, nor that shows that these injections work." I received the above post from the Better Business Bureau . Thought you all might be interested. May 30, 2008 It's been almost a year (June 2007) since I had my last Lipozap Treatment. I still have lumps and nodules which frequently send out painful bee string sensations. Discoloration is still present. I still look swollen and pregnant. My skin is lumpy. I'm making payments to Credit Care on a monthly basis, just to show good faith on my part so when we do finally get the class action suit settled (which unfortunately may be years) they’ll see I’ve fulfilled my part of the bargain - Lipozap refuses to return my calls, they also refuse to acknowledge the Better Business Bureau's inquiries. Lipozap customers may be able to fight soon for some type of justice? Heres a website if ya got suckered out of your $ from lipozap, or have pain. Here you go, here is a new website that warns about customers who tried and got lipozap treatments, or may be also for future patients? They do want to hear from former lipozap customers including what happened to them, and maybe if they want your money back, or an apology in case you still have pain? (I imagine). Here is the lipozap class action website. - http://lipozap-class-action-lawsuit.com/lipozap-sham.html and I quote "Here are the claimed problems with LipoZap that we are investigating: We have not been able to find scientific evidence that injecting “fat melting” solutions is safe, nor that shows that these injections work." June 11, 2008 By the way, "Alina" is the employee who, after discussing my situation for 45 minutes became thoroughly upset when I suggested getting my orthopedic surgeon involved. She was the one who began screaming at me. And I had to calm HER down? She is a liar and a thief; she helped steal my money as well as the money of others. The police have a name for people like Alina; they're called "Perps", which is short for "Perpetrator", which means "Responsible for". Alina obviously enjoys gloating as well; please see above nasty remark to bcoctail.
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Just to let everyone know; I received a letter from GE Money Bank (ie) CareCredit, stating they'd totally dismissed my debt and restored the entire amount charged for LipoZap.
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Congrats I hope that they can do the same for me. I'll also keep everyone posted. Have a great week.
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Dear Lady2Soothe, I spoke with the lawyer and she also recommended for me to write a letter to Carecredit concerning the Lipozap case. I've already paid them in full within the first 6 months of my procedure so I don't know if I will have the same luck as you did. Could you give me some advice as to how you were able to resolve this case with Carecredit? Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you =)
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Hello to all my new “I got beat by Medaesthetica Friends! I received the following from the Better Business Bureau today. Thought you all might be interested. Received from the Better Business Bureau 5-30-08 Medaesthetica Medical Group, Inc. 6320 Canoga Avenue, 13th Floor Woodland Hills, CA 91367 In the absence of any response from the company this complaint despite our two requests to them, we are closing our file on this complaint. This unanswered complaint will become part of the information we report to the public on this company for the next three years. Should any government agency request our files on this company, your complaint will also be included. If you have settled this complaint directly with the company, would you please email us to let us know that, as well as any other comments you might have. Your help in doing this is important to ensure that our report to the public on this company is accurate. Thank you for using the Better Business Bureau. Complaint Complaint Classification: Credit/Billing/Coll. Complaint Description - Posted 4/30/2008 Lipo Zap Procedure DID NOT work as advertized. Painful. Lumpy. Bruised. And DID NOT disolve anything but my bank account. I want my money back for the entire procedure as it did not do what they advertized. Complaint Summary I want my money back for the entire procedure as it did not do what they advertized. Resolution Sought Refund my entire payment Additional Information Date Problem First Occurred: 2/23/2007 Product or Service: Supposedly disolves fat. Model Name or Number: Date Purchased: 2/23/2007 Order Number: Amount Paid: $2600.00
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The reason why it is difficult to gather any information LIPOZAP is simple. They are now operating under the name "Laser Shaping Centers" offering another fat reduction treatment that is minimally invasive and they are no longer trying to push their injectable procedure due to numerous problems with the thousands of patients they treated. Look up lasershaping.com and you'll find the company making an attempt to conceal their true identity. They other company name is Aesthetic Network Associates, which changed from MedAesthetica when the company's doctor was able to fool another investor into coming on board. Alina Abkar on the picture of laser shaping center's website is actually the former Vice president of the company, she has recently resigned, most likely to join the company's doctor in starting up another new company. Michael Goldstein did a t.v. news segment featuring lipozap on local LA t.v. This bad press, including floating rumors of class action lawsuits, caused this company to steer towards another direction and hide their identity. Its hard to keep up with this company and all its changes, they just laid off over 40+ clinical staff due to the fact they weren't doing well in this business. Another sign that people are better off researching doctors who have been in the business for many years with a solid reputation.
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Thanks for the info. Do you know how the company fig is related to these providers?
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To clarify the comments made by bcocktail, I am listed as an employee on the website's testimonial page. I'm sorry you are upset about your termination of employment with the company and felt you had to voice your frustration on this website.
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I started my lipozap procedure (offered by Medaesthetica) back in June of 2007 and ended it on February 2008. I paid $4000 for this procedure that targeted my saddlebag, banana roll, inner thigh and love handles. Each procedure was slightly painful but the actual pain was living with bruises and swollen areas for 3 weeks before the next excruciating session. Lipozap promises that there is hardly any downtime but that is far from the truth. They forget to say how hard it is to go to work and sit on the swollen areas all day and have to deal with oversized swollen thighs and covering them up. They forget to mention that you will feel like crap and therefore not go out for a very long time. I was supposed to finish my whole procedure but instead asked them to change my last two sessions to velasmooth for I could not take it any further. During the 8 months traveling back and forth to Medaesthetica, I had decided to improve my eating habits and joined the gym to get better results. My last visit to Lipozap was for measurements and I found out that I was exactly the same size as when I first started except now I have nudgels, bruises, wiggly or loose skin and $4000 short. The nurse and chief staff suggested that I write an email to the corporate regarding this matter. She stated that it is highly unusual for the procedure not to make any improvements and that the review board will examine my photos and measurements for possible reimbursement or exchange for other services. The following day I got an email from Client Services with a list of things for me to fill out so they can contact me after they review my case. They said it will take about 4-6 weeks for them to get back to me but it has been more than 2 months and I have not heard back from them. I've sent them repeated emails inquiring the status of my review but not a single call or email has been returned. I am so dissappointed and will like to kick myself in the a** for listening to false radio advertisements like Lipozap sent. Meanwhile, I have increased my excercise routine to 4-5 times a week to get rid of these nudgels but they don't seem to go away and also added alot more veggies and fruits to my diet. I will never recommend this procedure to anyone. It was a waste of my time and I feel bad for all those like myself who got fooled into this "miracle" solution. I really hope everyone who had this procedure done will step up and file a lawsuit against them before they close their doors and open another medical spa under a different name.
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Although I have never undergone any treatments for any procedure and only making a visit for an initial consultation. Lipozap now has $ 5200 for doing abosolutely nothing. I cancel my procedure, which was to cost $ 4200 after I discovered the charges and told, I would have to pay for lab work etc. etc. We need to do something together about this... phil
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I read your e-mail and agree that we need to do something together. MedAesthetica Medical Group, Inc. no longer exist and lots of people are left hanging with the rip off treatment.
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