A Med-Spa Owner Explains Why i-Lipo Isn’t Too Good to Be True
George Thompson, owner of Texas’s Total Med Solutions, has been offering i-Lipo treatments at his clinics for a year and a half—resulting in more than 1,400 treatments so far. To put their clients’ minds at ease, he and his team of nurse practitioners and laser-certified aestheticians back all first-time i-Lipo treatments with a guarantee: the patient will lose half an inch from the treatment area in 20 minutes, or they get their money back.
“In the year and a half we’ve been doing this with the guarantee, we’ve never had to refund anybody,” George said.
It’s hard to argue with that. But it’s also hard to understand it. How are external lasers producing these kind of results? What does losing half an inch really mean? Does the weight stay off? We talked on the phone, and George explained the whole process to me.
GROUPON: First off, let’s talk about results. I see “inch loss” terminology in weight-loss ads all the time. How do you guys measure that?
GEORGE THOMPSON: There are a lot of games in the industry. For example, some lasers say you’ll lose three-eighths of an inch after six treatments, but that’s the sum of the losses at 10 different points on the body. I feel like, just take one measurement! So we use a tape measure, and then we also use a Sharpie to make sure we measure the exact same place before and after. If we’re doing the thighs, we’ll take one measurement per thigh, and add the losses together. But other than that, there’s no fancy math.
G: Can you describe the typical i-Lipo results? So you guarantee half an inch, but most patients lose more, I imagine.
GT: The majority of patients will lose an inch, and there’s many people that lose more than that. People have lost 3.5 inches in one session.
G: What are some variables that affect a patient’s reaction to the treatment?
GT: It depends on how much fatty tissue you have. You’ll typically see bigger results when you have more weight to lose. But even somebody who weighs 105 pounds, they could come under the i-Lipo, and they’ll lose at least half an inch to an inch.
G: Do the results last? How do you even measure if they last, since people eat and stuff?
GT: You know, it’s like anything else that doctors do. No matter how well a weight-loss program works, if the patient goes to McDonald’s afterward and eats for the next two weeks, they’ll gain back everything they lost. The patient has to change their behavior for the results to stick.
Our goal is to help people reach their goals. It’s a whole lot easier to maintain than to try to lose that weight yourself. A lot of people need a jump-start, some help getting there. i-Lipo is that help. If you go out and you eat as many calories as you burn after an i-Lipo treatment, the weight’s going to stay off.
How It Works
G: Let’s get into the mechanism of i-Lipo a little bit. How does it work?
GT: i-Lipo is a low-level laser that creates pores in your fat cells. It emulsifies and liquefies the fat within the cells, too, so it actually oozes out of the pores and into your intracellular space. Then we have a suction device, which we use with the laser during i-Lipo Ultra treatments. The suction device helps to move that released fat to the lymph nodes, which is where your body processes it and flushes it out.
G: How does the laser drain your fat cells without affecting your other cells?
GT: It’s a low-level laser, so it’s not strong enough to penetrate into your organs. Its effects stay pretty superficial, and fat is stored in the more superficial layers of the body. And it’s just the right frequency to disrupt those fat-cell membranes.
G: What are the most common treatment areas?
GT: Love handles and stomach are probably tied for most common—stomach is where I’ve seen the most impressive results—and then the thighs are the second most popular after that. Thighs are most popular for cellulite reduction.
But you know, it’s versatile. We’ve got a chin nodule that goes under your chin—we don’t do the half-inch guarantee there—but it does work there, too.
G: What is the basic i-Lipo treatment experience like?
GT: You’re lying down, and there are four pads—they’re each about the size of two side-by-side iPhones—that need to lie on your bare skin. So you don’t have to be naked, but you need to expose the treatment area, at least while the pads are Velcroed on. They’re attached with an elastic Velcro strap.
G: How long does each treatment last?
GT: Each treatment is broken up into two 10-minute sections. For the first, the pads are on one side of the treatment area; for the second half, they’re on the other side. A complete treatment lasts 20 minutes.
G: How many of those treatments should someone undergo?
GT: They recommend eight treatments.
G: What is the sensation like?
GT: It’s maybe one or two degrees warmer than your skin. And that’s it!
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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Mae Rice is a staff writer who writes about eyelash extensions, French food, what "business casual" even means, and other style and food topics.