Science Rescues the New Year’s Resolution
Bill J. Johnson, MD, MMM
For centuries women and men have sought a way to remove fat from a localized area. We want to get rid of the muffin top or the lower tummy. Many different devices and techniques have been used over the years to try and work it off, knead it off, shake it off; anything to get it off. Nothing worked until liposuction came along in the 1980’s. Liposuction is effective and safe in removing localized fat, but some people don’t want surgery or can’t afford even the short downtime of liposuction. More recently “high tech” techniques like mesotherapy (a.k.a. LipoDissolve) and Zerona have been heavily marketed to the public. These techniques also have limited or no results and have understandably made people wary of high tech devices promising loss of inches. Liposonix represents a real advance in the area. Liposonix permanently destroys fat cells in a given area, and this has been shown in at least seven (7) published studies. More studies are underway and promise to confirm and improve Liposonix effectiveness. Let’s take a closer look at some of the failed techniques that have promised similar results and Liposonix – a technique that works.
Each of us deposits fat in places that are genetically predetermined. That is why most of us have body shapes similar to our parents or grandparents. There is no known way to change how this fat distributes. You cannot selectively burn fat. You can work out and lose weight, but weight comes off from the area your genetics determine, not an area you are working. The only way to permanently remove fat from an area is to remove or destroy the fat cells that give us the shapes we don’t want. Until now, the only way to achieve this was liposuction in the area removing the unwanted cells. Now we can destroy those cells and allow our bodies to remove the debris and contents naturally using Liposonix.
There have been many devices to try to exercise out, sweat out or push out fat from an area. While some of these may achieve limited success for a few days to a week or so, they have no ability to permanently remove fat from an area. Any short term results from these techniques come from removing body fluids from the area. Fat and fat cells aren’t changed, and all of these techniques ultimately fail.
Mesotherapy uses special chemicals injected into the localized fat to destroy fat cells. Mesotherapy has been around in the medical literature since the 1950’s. Numerous studies have been done for the last 50 years and none have shown consistent results. As a result of poor research studies and patient complaints across the country, the FDA is considering banning mesotherapy as a therapy. Currently, the drugs used are individually FDA approved for other uses, but mesotherapy itself is NOT FDA approved. Recently, a national company named F.I.G. used a huge marketing budget to sell mesotherapy to thousands of patients. F.I.G. went bankrupt suddenly, leaving hundreds of patients unable to receive treatments that they had paid for already. This left a “black eye” on the concept of removing localized fat and made people leery of new techniques. Other clinics still use mesotherapy, typically with inconsistent and limited results.
Zerona uses “cool” lasers to empty fat from fat cells, while leaving the fat cells intact. Zerona also cannot change how much fat the cells treated are genetically programmed to store. Many Zerona facilities also claim the fat itself is eliminated from the body. This is NOT true; your body has no means to eliminate fat except to burn more calories than you eat. Inevitability, all of the fat returns to the cells that were emptied and no long term changes are seen. The National Library of Medicine maintains an exhaustive database on published medical research worldwide. Zerona has two studies that have shown effects at two weeks, but did not follow patients for a longer period. A third study questions the effectiveness of the treatment. Zerona has experienced decreasing patient satisfaction. Typically, no more than 30-40% of patients are happy with their treatment. That number decreases even further with patients questioned 6 months or more after their treatments. Once you understand that the fat cells are left intact, it is easy to understand why Zerona has been disappointing.
Liposonix represents a true breakthrough in removing localized fat. Liposonix uses High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) to permanently destroy the fat cells in a given area. The cells are gone forever, so the fat cannot go back to the treated area. While we have not changed your genetics, we have permanently removed the programmed fat cells that gave you the shape you didn’t like. HIFU has been used effectively for over a decade in cardiology and cancer therapy, among others. The technology has a long track record of safety. Liposonix has at least seven (7) studies in the National Library of Medicine database showing its effectiveness. It has also been confirmed to be very safe with no long term adverse effects. Depending on the study, patients have seen between 2.5 and 4.6 cm (1-1.8 inches) of average reduction in the waist. The cells are destroyed, so the debris and contents of the cells are dealt with naturally by the body. The materials are carried to the liver by our immune and lymphatic systems. The liver then metabolizes the material normally like any other fat. Liposonix is NOT a weight loss technique. But it is a revolutionary technique to permanently remove inches in a localized area.
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