The Zerona is a low level laser which is being promoted and used for body contouring. It works by causing a tiny puncture to the fat cell, which spews out its contents, which are then eliminated by normal body metabolism.
The Zerona laser is being very heavily marketed essentially to anybody who hangs up a shingle and will listen. Not only are dermatologists and plastic surgeons being pressed to buy or lease this device, but chiropractors, hair transplant clinics and dentists too.
This is troubling since many of these physicians, or should I use the au currant term practitioners, lack the critical skills needed to make a true, unbiased judgment on what is best for their patients (or customers, as the case may be).
The FDA granted approval for the Zerona based on a single study which showed that the Zerona diminished pain following breast augmentation surgery. This had nothing to do with the destruction of fat. Further, as many of you know, the FDA requirements for approval are much less stringent for devices like this than it is for drugs.
There is only one clinical study which I could find in the literature regarding the Zerona. This was published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 41:799, 2009. Analyzing this paper critically there are a few problems. First, one of the authors is the CEO of the company which manufacturers the Zerona. He also owns the patent on this device. Might there be a conflict of interest here? Methinks yes. ( I am also troubled that this author bills himself as a PHD on you tube and talks, yet in the aforementioned paper there is only a BS degree after his name. ( Perhaps, he obtained his PHD after the article was submitted, since articles are published some months after being received.) Also, one of the authors of this paper has no degree at all. Not that all brilliant scientists have gone to college...but still.
As far as the paper itself: there was a 63% success rate of at least 3 inches. This sounds good, but what about the other 37%? Plus, among the 63% successes, how many are going to notice much of a difference? Enough to feel that they got their money's worth? Realize the enrollees were either receiving free treatment or were being compensated. As is standard, the physicians involved in the study were using the lasers free of charge ( were they given a sweetheart deal afterwards to buy the machine..or rewarded to be on their speakers bureau..not mentioned..but unfortunately this too is a common practice).
Most important, there is a trend toward regaining the fat in this study. Will the "successes" look good six months after treatment? Fat regenerates. How long do these results last?
I am not saying this technology does not work. Maybe it does. However, until there is more data available, I will keep my healthy skepticism.
Meanwhile, I will monitor this web-site. It will help us all, if those who have had this procedure comment on its results 6-18 months afterwards.