Fighting fat with lasers

November 8, 2010

It's called Zerona. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the device, saying it is both safe and effective. So just how effective is it? We followed one woman through the process and we have her results.

Marie Sorbello always tries to eat healthy foods. She also walks for exercise. But she says as she inched closer to age 50m keeping her weight down became a struggle -- especially around her stomach which she calls her trouble zone.

"After you have kids, you're never really the same," Sorbello of Mullica Hill, N.J., said. "So I have an apple shape."

Hoping to get rid of her belly fat, Marie turned to Zerona. It's a non-invasive procedure that uses low-level lasers. It's FDA-approved to contour the body and melt fat around the waist, hips and thighs.

Dr. Susan Kirchdoerffer of the Reflections Medical Spa says she decided to offer it because the company guarantees results.

"It guarantees the patient will lose an average of three inches," Dr. Kirchdoerffer says. "If they do not lost three inches after their treatment the company will continue the treatment until the patient is satisfied."

So to track Marie's progress, we brought in our own independent personal trainer Tony Steppich. He took Marie's measurements before her treatments. Then she underwent 6 treatments over 2 weeks.

In the treatments, the laser beams circle her mid-section; 20 minutes on the front, 20 on the back. Dr. Kirchdoerffer says the lasers work by liquefying fat within the cell.

"The fat gets released and expressed into the extra cellular space so the lymphatic system picks it up and takes it away."

Marie says you feel nothing and because of that she was skeptical.

"I was laying there thinking, 'This isn't going to do anything.'"

But according to Marie's post-Zerona measurements, it worked.

"I'm pretty amazed actually," trainer Tony Steppich said. "Very surprised."

Here's the breakdown:
From her waist she went from 23 inches to 19.5.
Marie's hips went from 37 inches to 34
Marie's thighs went from 13.5 inches to 13
Overall, from her bust to below her hips, Marie lost 10.5 inches.

As for weight, Marie only lost 4 pounds and not much is noticeable between her before and after photos.

Dr. Sue explains fat doesn't weigh much so you won't see a huge difference on the scale. Plus, Zerona is not intended to help you lose a lot of weight; it's intended to help re-shape your lower half.

Marie says her clothes are fitting looser and Zerona did change her shape. She's happy with her 10.5 inches lost.

Many doctors also ask patients to drink extra water and take a simple supplement during the time of their treatments. Most people go through 6 to 12 treatments and full results are seen 2 to 4 weeks later.

As for the cost, Zerona runs between $1,700 to $2,400. Insurance will not cover the Zerona treatments.

It is not recommended for anyone with heart or liver problems.

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