FAQs

  1. What is Zerona?
    Zerona is a patented low-level laser system specifically designed to contour the body by losing inches in circumference off specific body areas (waist, hips, thighs) without any pain, downtime, needles or surgery.
  2. What is the cost?
    The cost of the Zerona Laser treatment depends on the individual’s overweight condition. Please contact our office at 403 278 3411 for more information.
  3. What is the action mechanism behind Zerona?
    The 635 nm wavelength of the Zerona is specifically absorbed by the mitochondria (the cell’s energy generator), temporarily weakening the structure of the cell membrane. This creates a temporary opening allowing for the fat contents to seep out from the fat cell into the interstitial space from where it is processed by the lymphatic system.
  4. What results can I expect?
    In a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study, patients were treated 6 times over a 2 week period and lost on average 3.5 inches in combined circumferential measurements of their waist hips and bilateral thighs.
  5. Can all patients benefit?
    Clinical research has shown that patients, on average, lost 3.5 inches in circumference of f  hips, waist and thighs. To maximize the chances of every patient responding as significantly or better, four things are important to consider:

    1. The general health of the patient. As a rule, we do not treat sick patients. We wait until their condition has improved. We do not treat patients who have a condition listed in the contraindications document.
    2. Hydration is critical. Patients make sure to drink plenty of water (ideally at least 8-12 glasses of 8 oz of water) spread out throughout the day. Diuretics (coffee, alcohol, etc) are discouraged.
    3. The lymphatic system should be mobilized. The patient should be active and walk for 30 minutes every day.
    4. Use Curva. Curva is a proprietary blend of supplements designed to assist the body in processing the liberated fat. Curva should be taken twice daily with meals.
      Please refer to the Zerona protocol for more detailed information.
  6. What areas of the body can I treat?
    Essentially all parts of the body where subcutaneous deposits of fat can be found may be treated with Zerona, especially those resistant to diet and exercise. Most patients start with treating their waist, hips and thighs as these can be treated simultaneously with the 5 lasers of Zerona.
  7. Once liberated, what happens to the fat?
    Once liberated, triglycerides are absorbed by the lymphatic system where they are transported to lymph nodes. Macrophages (immune cells) release liposomal acid lipases (LAL) which break down the triglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerol. These are then small enough to enter the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, several things may occur:

    • Some of the free fatty acids are readily available to be used as fuel by the body.
    • What does not get consumed as energy will get to the liver where it will either be oxidized or re-processed for storage. More research is underway to determine exactly how much gets oxidized versus re-stored, but clinical evidence suggests that fat does indeed get oxidized (no visible or measurable redistribution of fat, either in the treated areas or at the systemic points).
  8. What happens to cholesterol and triglyceride levels post Zerona?
    A study was performed using Zerona to check cholesterol and triglyceride levels. None of the patients demonstrated a statistically elevation in their triglycerides and cholesterol levels. In fact a statistically significant reduction in both low density lipids (LDL) and cholesterol levels was observed. More research is underway to assess if Zerona may be a useful medical therapy in reducing LDL and cholesterol levels.
  9. Do you treat larger patients (BMI>30) differently than other patients?
    Clinically, larger patients will benefit from Zerona. To show a significant benefit, we recommend doing 12 or more treatments. Many centers treating obesity will combine Zerona with a program of weight loss and exercise. The significant improvement in body shape over a short period of time motivates patients to continue with their diet and exercise program.
  10. Is it safe?
    Yes. Zerona works on the principle of photochemistry whereby laser light is used to accelerate naturally occurring processes within cells. There is no damage to the fat cell (adipocyte).  The treatment is painless and normal activities can be resumed immediately.
  11. How deep does Zerona affect fat cells?
    Clinical evidence (Dr. Neira) demonstrates that the 635nm wavelength is capable of interacting with fat cells to a depth of at least 5 cm.
  12. What is the systemic effect?
    A systemic effect was first noticed on patients getting treated with LLLT for chronic pain. Patients reported a reduction in pain in areas that had not been directly irradiated with the laser. Since then, several studies have demonstrated that LLLT has a paracrine effect on fat cells, where cellular inter-communication leads to fat cells responding to treatment even though they were not directly irradiated with laser light. Our retrospective study on 567 patients has shown that patients can expect an improvement in non-irradiated areas (neck, chest, arms, knees, etc.). This improvement however, is more modest than that achieved with directly irradiated areas.
  13. What is the Zerona guarantee?
    We guarantee that patients will experience 3 inches lost across the 5 standard measurement points after 9 Zerona treatments to waist, hip and thigh or 2 inches lost after 9 treatments to one target area ( waist or thighs). The guarantee is valid only if the Zerona protocol is followed and appointments are not more than 72 hours apart. The guarantee is adjusted to 12 treatments if age over 50 or conditions such as diabetes, limited physical activity or smoking, may affect circulation and cause a more sluggish lymphatic system. If patients do not experience the 2 or 3 inches improvement across the 5 standard measurement points, they will receive 3 more treatments at no cost to help further their results.
  14. Where are measurements taken?
    The measurement points for men are at 5 levels from the chest to lower abdomen. The measurement points for women are as follows:

    • Directly below the bra
    • The waist
    • Lower abdomen (2 to 3 inches below the umbilicus)
    • Hips at the widest point
    • Thighs: 2 to 3 inches below the crotch
  15. When are measurements taken?
    Measurements are taken:

    1. Before the first treatment
    2. At the end of treatment 9 or 12
    3. 1 week after the final treatment if desired
  16. When can patients start noticing results?
    This depends on how effectively their lymphatic system processes the liberated fat. Age and lifestyle are but a few parameters that may influence the rate of improvement. To optimize processing, it is recommended that patients stay optimally hydrated by drinking 2-3 litres of water spread throughout the day and eliminating diuretics(caffiene and alcohol) and that they mobilize their lymphatic system through gentle physical activity (daily 30 minute walk or mild exercise). The ideal patient should begin to notice a difference in how their clothes fit at the time of their 5th or 6th treatment.
  17. How long will results last?
    Zerona does not destroy fat cells but empties them of their content which means that fat cells are capable of re-storing fat should the patient have a persistant caloric imbalance. A balanced diet is the only way to ensure long-term improvement. Patients who eat more calories than they burn will see their improvement decrease over time.
  18. Is the fat simply redistributed?
    No. Once liberated, triglycerides are broken down into free fatty acids and glycerol and enter the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, several things may occur:

    • Some of the free fatty acids are readily available to be used as fuel by the body.
    • What does not get consumed as energy will get to the liver where it will either be oxidized or re-processed for storage. More research is underway to determine exactly how much gets oxidized versus re-stored, but clinical evidence suggests that fat does indeed get oxidized (no visible or measurable redistribution of fat, either in the treated areas or at the systemic points).

    Clinical evidence from a retrospective study on 567 patients across the U.S. clearly demonstrates that Zerona is effective not only in the irradiated areas, but also at systemic points, demonstrating that there is no measurable re-distribution of fat.

  19. Would treatments longer than 20 minutes for each area be more beneficial?
    No. Clinical work demonstrated that the fat cells begin to open after only 6 minutes of laser exposure and that most of the fatty material is excreted after 15 minutes. Increased benefits will only result from an increased number of treatments, not increased exposure during each individual treatment.
  20. Why does it not work as well on areas with previous liposuction?
    Patients with previous liposuction have had their fat cells mechanically removed. Zerona works by emptying fat cells of their content, so Zerona will not be effective on areas that have only a few fat cells left. Liposuction also creates a lot of fibrotic tissue which further hampers results.
  21. Why do you need to treat every 2 days?
    Clinical research shows that the pore created by the laser only remains open for 24 to 72 hours. To maintain the pore open over a period of time sufficient to get optimal results, treatments every 48 hours are considered optimal.
  22. Why 9-12 treatments?
    9-12 treatments are required to keep the pore in the fat cells open long enough for the majority of triglycerides to seep out into the interstitial space.
  23. Would more treatments lead to better results?
    Yes, additional treatments will lead to improved results.  We recommend additional treatments for patients with BMI (body mass index) over 30, age over 50, and conditions that may affect circulation and result in a sluggish lymphatic system such as diabetes, limited physical activity, smoking, etc.
  24. Do patients lose weight?
    The study performed to validate the efficacy of Zerona focused on circumferential measurements of hips, waist and thighs and did not include monitoring the weight of the patient.  This does not mean that patients do not lose weight however, just that we have no clinical evidence to back a weight loss claim. Anecdotal evidence from centers using Zerona who have been monitoring weight have noticed that patients saw a reduction both in their weight and in their total fat percentage.
  25. What can I do to optimize my Zerona results?
    To optimize results, it is recommended that patients stay optimally hydrated by drinking 2-3 litres of water spread throughout the day and eliminating caffeine and alcohol. They should mobilize their lymphatic system through gentle physical activity (daily 30 minute walk, mild exercise or the whole body vibration machine) and have healthy, low fat nutrition . We also recommend that patients wear a compression garment (Spanx or Under Armour) throughout the process. For more information, please refer to the Zerona Protocol.
  26. Why should patients avoid alcohol during the Zerona process?
    There are three main reasons why alcohol should be avoided with Zerona:

    • Alcohol is a diuretic and it is critical that the body stays optimally hydrated throughout the treatment program.
    • Alcohol also contains a lot of calories: a 5-ounce glass of red wine packs 100 calories! This directly conflicts with the recommendations of the program which calls for a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
    • Third and most importantly, alcohol is processed as fat by the liver which directly restricts the body’s ability to process the newly liberated fat. Once liberated by Zerona, the fat that is not used up as energy is processed by the liver using enzymes. The total amount of fat being processed at any given time is limited by the amount of enzymes produced by the liver. Alcohol is processed as fat by the liver using the same enzymes. So, when the liver is busy processing alcohol, it is not able to process the fat liberated by Zerona. Hence more time and treatments are required to achieve results.
  27. Is Zerona effective in treating larger patients?
    Yes. Many centers treating obesity will combine Zerona with a program of weight loss and exercise. The significant improvement in body shape over a short period of time motivates patients to continue with their diet and exercise program. Zerona treatments can be used to kick start a weight loss program or added if a patient experiences a frustrating weight loss plateau. We recommend 12 or more treatments to acheive the desired results.
  28. How does Zerona compare with other body slimming technologies?
    Zerona is the only technology that has been clinically validated in peer-reviewed journals to be approved by the FDA and Health Canada as being safe and effective for body slimming of multiple areas. Other body slimming devices damage important fat cells (adipocytes), can be uncomfortable, are limited in the size of the target area they can treat at one time, and it takes longer to feel the results. Zerona is the only truly non-invasive device that safely achieves significant results over a short period of time.
  29. How long has Zerona been in use?
    The laser tissue interaction behind Zerona was identified prior to 2002. LLLT has been used routinely as an adjunct to liposuction since 2004. Zerona was introduced in the U.S.  in 2005 and is being routinely used by over 650 practices in Canada and the U.S..
  30. Is there a risk of fat embolism?
    No. Fatty embolism occurs when clumps of fat cells enter the bloodstream after trauma (typically from a long bone fracture). Zerona does not rupture fat cells. With Zerona, triglycerides are first processed by the lymphatic system where they are broken down by lipases into free fatty acid and glycerol before entering the blood stream, so there are no risks of fat embolisms with Zerona.
  31. Should we begin a treatment on a patient who is currently menstruating?
    Zerona does not have any effect on menstruation, so this is not a contraindication. A majority of women experience water retention during their period, which may affect measurements.
  32. What is the FDA approval status of Zerona?
    At first, Zerona was used off-label as “a device reducing pain and inflammation as an adjunct to liposuction”. However, in August 2010, the FDA approved Zerona for the specific indication of circumferential reduction. The FDA ruled that:

    • Zerona is a device using low level laser light for the disruption of adipocyte cells within the fat layer for the release of fat and lipids from these cells for non-invasive aesthetic use.
    • Zerona is indicated for use as a non-invasive dermatological aesthetic treatment for the reduction of circumference of waist, hips and thighs.
    • The clinical data submitted by Erchonia (the manufacturer of Zerona) provides reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the product.
      Zerona is the only aesthetic device specifically cleared for the reduction of circumference of multiple areas. The FDA has also deemed appropriate not to make use of the word temporary in the approval, suggesting that, provided patients adhere to a healthy lifestyle (whereby the balance their food intake with their energy expenditure), results should be permanent. Finally, the FDA agrees that Zerona is not only safe but also effective for the indication. It is very atypical for the FDA to make statements regarding the effectiveness of products and is testament to the strength and quality of the clinical data submitted by Erchonia.
  33. What about negative comments on the internet?
    A number of factors may lead to a small number of dissatisfied patients. The most common is when a patient has unrealistic expectations that Zerona Laser treatments will give successful results despite continued bad habits such as high fat or calorie intake, drinking alcohol, low activity levels and failure to follow the Zerona Protocol. In this day and age, the digital media provides disgruntled individuals with the perfect tool to be vocal but reports can be biased and incomplete. This invariably happens with any device or product on the market. Another factor may be the training and experience of the clinic using the Zerona Laser. High quality and ongoing training is provided to all Zerona clinics. We are confident that our diode positioning technique and certified staff acheive excellent and consistent results.
    It is unfortunate that happy patients are far less likely to post comments about their positive experience!
  34. How is it different than liposuction?
    Liposuction is an invasive procedure involving the mechanical removal of fat cells. By contrast, Zerona is completely non-invasive and only affects fat cells temporarily. Zerona does not
    compete with liposuction; it is simply a body shaping option available to patients who do not wish to undergo a surgical procedure.
  35. Does Zerona help with loose skin?
    There have been no studies specifically looking at the effect of Zerona on loose skin and SBMI (the Zerona Laser company) never makes claims that cannot be evidenced in a clinical study. Anecdotal evidence suggests that patients undergoing Zerona have noticed an improvement in skin tone and texture.
  36. Does Zerona improve the appearance of cellulite?
    There have been no studies specifically looking at the effect of Zerona on cellulite. Anecdotal evidence suggests that patients undergoing Zerona have noticed an improvement in the appearance of cellulite.
  37. Can Zerona cause cancer?
    No. Zerona uses low levels of light in the visible spectrum (635nm) to stimulate our cells to be more efficient and accelerate the rate of naturally occurring processes. Low level light therapy has been evaluated for over 40 years and there has never been any indication that it may cause cancer. However, patients with untreated or active cancer should not be treated.
  38. How is Zerona different from LEDs?
  39. LED stands for light emitting diodes. With the technology fast improving, they are becoming increasingly ubiquitous (very bright tails lights on modern cars, for instance). They are similar to lasers in that they can emit a very precise spectrum of light. They are different from lasers however in 2 significant ways: LEDs’ cannot be effectively collimated, so the light energy dissipates very rapidly and LEDs’ must be used in contact (or near contact) to have any effect. LEDs’ are not coherent, that is to say that photons are not in phase with one another. This (again) limits the depth of penetration and generates unnecessary heat
    In short, LEDs’ are attractive from a price standpoint but have serious limitations when applied to Cosmetic treatments, particularly whenever the light needs to go deeper into tissue without generating heat.

 

For more information, please browse our explanation of Zerona, protocol page, video offerings and client reviews:

What is Zerona?

Zerona Protocol

Zerona Videos

Zerona Reviews

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