Traditional liposuction requires an invasive procedure to remove fat from areas such as the abdomen, thighs, neck, and arms. But there's another way to slim down without surgery or even downtime. It's called noninvasive laser lipo, and it relies on laser energy instead of incisions to slim the body quickly and with minimal effort on the part of the patient.
We asked Heather of Advanced Laser Body Care in Chicago to help us understand how exactly the treatment works. To get started, click one of the links below:
Note: Sometimes the term "laser lipo" is used to describe conventional surgical liposuction that incorporates lasers to enhance the results, but that's not how we're using it here.
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Unlike conventional liposuction, the idea of noninvasive laser lipo is not to remove fat cells, but to shrink them.
During each session of i-Lipo—the brand of laser-lipo device Advanced Laser Body Care uses—a technician places pads equipped with laser diodes directly onto the skin. The laser energy penetrates down to the fat cells and creates tiny holes in their membranes. This causes the fat cells to release their stored fatty acids, glycerol, and water into the body and then shrink, potentially resulting in lost inches. The body then flushes out the expelled fat-cell contents via the lymphatic system or burns them for energy.
"Think of your fat cells as groups of juicy grapes," Heather says. "The laser beam reaches the fat cell and shrinks the contents, and those grapes become raisins."
The pool of ideal candidates for laser lipo is a little bit smaller than for traditional lipo because the procedure isn't perfect for extensive weight loss. It might be right for you if you're:
Still not sure? Make sure to schedule a consultation! If you purchase one of our deals and are not a candidate, we’ll refund your money.
"You're gonna be very relaxed," Heather says. "We're gonna put you in a nice little cocoon, which helps speed up that metabolic process."
From there, the technician applies the pads to the targeted area, inundating it with laser energy for about 10 to 20 minutes. If necessary they may then move the pads to focus on another area and repeat the treatment. And that's about it. You may see a difference immediately, but for best results, you'll need to return.
Here are some fast facts about the recommended cycle:
Though some clients begin to notice results after only a few sessions, most require 6–8 treatments to see maximum results.
Two treatments per week for four weeks are recommended.
Because the treatment is not invasive, no downtime is required.
The cost of laser lipo can vary considerably depending on the size of the area you want to treat, as well as your location and the experience of the clinic you visit. A typical series of eight sessions can easily cost upward of $1,000. However, look for one of our deals on laser weight-loss treatments, which can cut costs dramatically. A typical deal from us might cost about $50 for a single treatment, or around $30–$50 per treatment if you purchase multiple sessions at once.
There are many trade names for various laser body-contouring treatments, and discussing them can get confusing since those names are sometimes (incorrectly) used interchangeably. Two popular laser devices, the i-Lipo and the Zerona, both use low-level laser energy in their nonsurgical lipo treatments, but they're not quite identical.
The i-Lipo device contains more than 30 laser diodes, and it's applied directly to the skin in the form of pads. By contrast, the Zerona device hovers just above the skin and uses just 5 diodes. Some believe this difference makes Zerona more comfortable but the i-Lipo more effective. There's far from a consensus on this matter, though.
Find out more about Zerona and how it works.
All parts of the body that store fat can be treated.
The most common treatment areas include:
Because i-Lipo does not destroy fat cells but rather empties them of their contents, the fat cells are capable of storing fat again. A balanced diet is the only way to ensure lasting results.
"When you're at home, we want you to make some good dietary choices," Heather explains. "[Eat] lean protein. Stay away from alcoholic beverages and sugar." Those who take in more calories than they burn will see their improvement start to decrease over time.