Why Doctors Are Turning to This Laser to Destroy Fat

As Las Vegas plastic surgeon Christopher Khorsandi, MD, puts it: In-office treatments for losing inches come in a range of treatment types—from quackery to quasi-surgical.

“Other than skin tightening, no other noninvasive treatment is more requested than fat removal. And who wouldn't want to lose some unnecessary inches with a simple procedure?”

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The good news: “Over the years a number of devices have been brought to the market with the promise of noninvasive fat removal, and many of them fell short on their claims. If significant changes are wanted, nothing will ever come close to the efficacy of liposuction, but for many, surgery is not an option,” he says. “Noninvasive fat removal falls generally in three categories: Heat-based destruction of fat cells, cold-induced destruction of fat cells and ultrasound cavitation destruction of fat cells.”

In Newton Centre, MA, plastic surgeon Joseph Russo, MD’s office, one specific treatment has been showing promising results. “A relatively new laser called the SculpSure is one of the only lasers FDA-approved for actual fat destruction,” he says. “SculpSure uses a diode laser to destroy the fat cells, providing permanent results. Its advancement is significant because unlike other modalities, it takes just 25 minutes a treatment, can treat multiple areas at once and is well-tolerated.”

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“Most people need just two treatments to see optimal results,” he adds. “I prefer this method to freezing since heating the skin causes tightening. If fat is going to be destroyed in the area, skin tightening will enhance the overall outcome.”

Dr. Russo does stress that noninvasive treatments are beneficial alternatives, but do not replace surgical procedures, and this should be considered in a person's expectations. “Going this route usually requires more than one treatment and time to see results. The amount of fat loss when being treated with a fat destruction device is also fairly immeasurable because the destroyed cells remain in the body until it metabolizes them out through the lymphatic system. One important thing to remember is that even if the fat is destroyed or removed, the body can always gain fat—it will just be in a different area of the body than what was treated.”

Both doctors agree that there will be more technological attempts for fighting fat in the future, as none of the current offerings has proven to be, as Dr. Khorsandi puts it, “a magic bullet” for fat. “As long as waistlines in this country continue to expand, there will be a demand for such devices.”

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