3 Jun

Guest Post
Just when you thought you were becoming a plastic surgeon maven who could reel off every filler substance on the planet and define Botox and what it’s used for, along comes new technology! With the constant information overload, it’s often hard for the lay person to make head or tails out of the latest sci-fi type of developments. Dr. Richard Chaffoo is a board certified San Diego, CA plastic surgeon who is here to give consumers a cheat sheet on the newest advances in body contouring.


In summary, Dr. Chaffoo feels that small procedures yield small results. In addition, the costs of these procedures can really add up as they often need to be done in a series of treatment sessions. You might spend close to the amount of money you’d spend on traditional liposuction and not get the same result.” He adds, “All of these technologies need to be measured against the gold standard, traditional liposuction performed by a board certified plastic surgeon. Also, many of these technologies are used in the office by non plastic surgeons that don’t have privileges to do any surgical procedures nor do they have adequate training.”



ZERONA® is the first non-invasive body slimming procedure to effectively remove excess fat. unlike other lipo and body slimming procedures, ZERONA® allows patients to continue daily activities without interruptions from surgery, pain, wounds, bruises, or garments. The ZERONA® protocol utilizes the Erchonia® Laser Scanner, which is the safest and most researched low level laser in the world. ZERONA® is also FDA approved for laser assisted liposuction.


Voluminous adipose tissue can appear when fatty material is present, and this, in turn, can bring about enlarged subcutaneous fat regions. Because subcutaneous fat is close to the skin’s surface, laser emulsification can have a dramatic effect on them. The collapse of adipose arrangements has been noted after laser therapy, reducing their volume and providing effective body slimming results. When the fat cells have reduced the body naturally excretes the fat over time giving the patient proven results after around six treatments over two weeks. This occurs during the body’s normal detoxification process.


Te ZERONA® treatment liquifies the fat and the cell dumps it into the intercellular space. There are two types of fat cells – Subcutaneous and viscera subcutaneous fat is located directly above the skeletal muscle and below the skin. Its superficial placement is what ensures proper depth penetration of the laser energy. Patients containing a high volume of visceral fat (fat below the skeletal muscle) are not ideal candidates for this procedure. However, they may still contain subcutaneous fat; therefore, you can treat the individual by just ensuring they adopt a healthy diet to address the visceral fat.


Through clinical studies it has been demonstrated that the Zerona® low level laser stimulates the fat cell to emulsify (liquefy) the fat within the cell. Then the liquefied fat moves from inside the cell through a temporary pore formed in the cell membrane to outside the cell where it is in the interstitial space until absorbed by the lymphatic system. This results in millions of fat cells becoming smaller so inches are reduced off the waist, hips and thighs. The fat cells are not injured in any way by this process.


What can I expect at my appointments?

You can expect 40 minutes to relax, read or do absolutely nothing. The Zerona® treatment is completely painless. There is no heat or any sensation whatsoever while being treated. Each treatment you will be met by your physician or technician who will position the laser at the desired areas of the body, he/she will step out for 20 minutes while the front of your body is treated and then will return to reset for the backside of your body for an additional 20 minutes. After you are done you can get back to your normal activities immediately with absolutely no downtime, nor pain, swelling or any discomfort. This is a symptom –free process except for losing unwanted inches.


How is it different than liposuction?

Liposuction is an invasive procedure that removes the entire area of fat cells from deposits beneath the skin using a hollow stainless steel tube (called a cannula) with the assistance of a powerful vacuum. Liposuction can be accomplished either with the use of general anesthesia, or with IV sedation, or totally by local anesthesia. In contrast, the Zerona® treatment is a 100% non-invasive that uses a low level laser applied externally to stimulate the fat cell and emulsify and release fat. There is no use of anesthesia, nor any pain, gels, creams, numbing agents, needles and no downtime.



Zeltiq is a device that kills fatty tissue by putting the body’s metabolism to work. Research has shown that cold temperatures can be devastating to fatty tissue, even though those same temperatures have no permanent adverse effect on skin cells. Zeltiq’s Cryolipolysis technique for improving body contour uses a suction applicator with cooling plates on areas where fat reduction is desired. The plates are pressed against the selected body area. In a procedure that takes about an hour, that area is cooled to a temperature that kills fat tissue while leaving the outer skin cells unharmed. Within several days the destroyed fat cells begin to shrink, and are then digested by and removed from the body through metabolic processes. Usually within two to four months, patients see a reduction in the area of fat targeted and an improvement in body contour.


No Needles

One widely used technique for fat removal, liposuction, involves suctioning fat out of the body. As with any invasive procedure, there are certain risks that can include infection, scarring, changes in skin pigmentation, and a possible “lumpy” appearance afterwards.

Zeltiq is non-surgical. No needles, incisions, pain relievers, or recovery time are needed. Risky side effects are not a problem. The procedure is performed in the doctor’s office, and when it is finished the patient can resume his or her normal life without missing a beat.


Zeltiq is intended for use by people who are in good health overall and want to lose a little fat in certain areas. It is not a weight loss tool, nor is it intended for use by the severely obese. The Food and Drug Administration has cleared its use in this country for various dermatological applications, and an application is pending for its use in fat reduction. It is already employed in Canada and Europe for that purpose.



The new FDA-approved laser-assisted liposuction treatment that melts stubborn fat deposits and tightens skin in about an hour. SmartLipo™ is a minimally-invasive body contouring treatment that is generating attention by melting away fat and tightening skin in about an hour, with local anesthesia and little downtime. SmartLipo™, or laser-assisted lipolysis, is a minimally treatment that utilizes a laser to quickly melt stubborn areas of fat and tighten skin on the face, neck, arms, back, abdominal area, hips, thighs and knees. This technology liquefies fat so it can be easily drained or be absorbed by the body’s lymphatic system where it is then flushed naturally from the body. An added benefit of SmartLipo™ is its skin tightening capability, which further enhances the results especially for 40+ men and women. Recently FDA-approved, SmartLipo™ is a physician-performed treatment that is performed with a local anesthetic in about an hour.


SmartLipo has some very distinct advantages over conventional liposuction when treating small areas of fat. The treatment is performed with local anesthetic and the laser probe is so small that sutures are not even necessary. Most people are back to their regular routines, with slight modifications, in a day or two. With SmartLipo the skin is tightened by the laser.


When compared to conventional liposuction, SmartLipo™ results in less bleeding, less bruising, less swelling and less discomfort. The incisions are so small that sutures are not even necessary. In addition, traditional liposuction requires general anesthesia or IV sedation. SmartLipo™ is performed under local anesthesia and liquefies the fat, which promotes skin tightening through thermal heating and tissue coagulation allowing men and women with loose skin – who previously were not ideal candidates for conventional liposuction.

About Dr. Richard Chaffoo, MD, FACS, FICS

Richard Chaffoo, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.I.C.S., is triple board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He is also President of the San Diego Plastic Surgery Society and Chief of Plastic Surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital, Encinitas.


Dr. Chaffoo completed 3 post-graduate surgery fellowships at Stanford University Medical Center and UCSD Medical Center and has over 20 years of facial aesthetic surgery experience.


Bio- ‘Through a partnership with San Diego skin care specialist Dr. Susan Stuart, Dr. Chaffoo’s San Diego plastic surgery patients also can choose medical spa procedures for beautiful skin.’


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  1. Rebecca A. June 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    what about the possible adverse effects of these new treatments? it seems odd that fat would just “melt” away – where does it go?

    • Aleya June 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      Good point! I’ll get back to you on that.