Marketing light years ahead of Clinical Research
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.
Zerona Effectiveness - Save Your Money for Liposuction
My advice to you is to save your money for liposuction which works on everyone.
Zerona is a generalized “whole body” slimming non-invasive low level laser treatment coupled with oral medications, daily minimal water intake requirements. It uses photochemical rather than a thermal or ultrasonic mechanisms to alter the fat cell by making the fat cell membrane more permeable - letting fat out that is absorbed by the body. The company aggressively markets to many medical specialties as a medical breakthrough that works dramatically on most patients. This was not our experience.
According to Zerona, after 6 treatments and 2 weeks, the majority of patients will realize between 3-9 inches of generalized slimming, rather than localized fat reduction in a specific spot. Although FDA approved at this time and favorable controlled studies have been done it is our office experience that this technique was not efficacious. We first tried it on 6 members of our office staff, including myself and one of our patients who is a professional blogger (you can look up her experience on "tweentyfouratheart. com. There were no significant changes despite following all directions faithfully. We have stopped offering this treatment and have returned our machine.
We have had great results with Zerona but I am not sure if it could be specific to only one area
Our results we Zerona in the last two months has been loss of inches through out the body and not just the areas of treatment. I am not sure if Zerona could be that specific to treat only one area.
I must add that our patients have been very pleased with the treatments and so far it has surpassed my initial expectations. I still do not have enough experience to comment on long term results.
Zerona works, but not as dramatic as liposuction for spot reduction
Zerona works, but for spot reduction in your saddlebags, liposuction is expected to produce a more dramatic change. However, Zerona is completely non-invasive so doesn't have risks associated with surgery. For sculpting and spot reduction, you might be more satisfied with liposuction, if you are a good surgical candidate.
I used a Zerona in my office and found that most patients were very happy with the improvement that it provided however it was very unpredictable. Some patients would lose 3 inches and some 10 inches. There is no way to control who loses how much and from what area. I would bet that trying to lose in one place like the saddlebags does not give you the improvement you are looking for.