Laser Your Fat Away?

Since yesterday I did a blog about measuring fat, I thought I’d follow it up today with some information on the latest fad, of “lasering fat away”.  For a “quick fix” of losing fat, there are very little options available.  Basically the only scientifically accepted method is liposuction.  However this is major surgery, which has the usual associated risks as well as requiring a recovery period.  Not to mention the cost.

However recently there have been many ‘clinics‘ offering what they claim to be a new “scientifically proven” method of Laser Treatment for Fat.  A quick Google of “laser fat treatment” will give you a long list of clinics willing to take your money in exchange for the promise of melting away your fat by laser.  I look at their promises, and it includes:

  • No pain
  • No needles
  • No downtime
  • No diet
  • No exercise, etc

Proven to work? Note that they don’t state what exact treatment the laser is “FDA-Cleared” for. It certainly won’t be ‘fat loss’.  Someone needs to sue these guys to stop them from ripping people off!

They also explain that the treatment:

The technique uses a tiny laser to break up the membrane of fat cells. This allows the oil stored inside the cells to seep out and be broken down by the liver.

So does it work?  Well, I did some research through Google and found that the claims for the effectiveness of laser treatment for fat all lead back to one study that was done and reported in Science Daily.  Many sites claim that this study proves that the treatment works.  See this text from ehow:

A 2006 article in Science Daily magazine, “Free-electron Laser Targets Fat,” reported that scientific studies indeed prove the laser’s effectiveness on ridding fat with infrared light, and completely without invasive procedures.

So I did a bit more digging and found the original article in Science Daily.  You can read it here.

So what did the study do?  Well they got “surgically discarded human flesh” and exposed it to laser light to see how it would heat in comparison to normal water.  After that:

The researchers then exposed fresh, intact pig skin-and-fat tissue samples, about two inches thick, to free-electron laser infrared light centered around the two most promising wavelengths, 1210 and 1720 nm. To imitate potential surgical conditions, the pig skin was placed next to a cold window, which mimicked the application of a cold compress to the skin prior to laser exposure.

The researchers then said that the results showed “proof of principle”, and that it had the “potential for several medical applications”. That language certainly doesn’t sound to me like a definitive statement that it is a “proven treatment for fat loss”. In fact, if you read further, the researchers show that they were most excited about coming up with a treatment for acne!  They also said that they envision “that laser treatments could emerge for other medical conditions involving lipid-rich tissues, such as atherosclerosis, which causes heart disease and stroke.”  Anything there about fat loss?  Nope.

So I’m afraid that I’m not convinced that laser fat treatment is “proven” to work.  Interestingly, during my research I came across a blog from a patient who underwent “Zerona” fat laser treatment.  Reading their blog, they were very excited before starting the treatment however in the end this was their opinion:

“I’ve concluded that this procedure does not work—my feeling is that any weight loss that people experience comes from the supplement, Curva (NOT the Zerona sessions themselves).

So, save your money people!  Lose fat through healthy eating and exercise.  Not only will you lose fat, but you will gain energy and get all your blood work (e.g. cholesterol etc.) at healthy levels.  Even liposuction can’t do that!

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