I have worked in the esthetic and medical-esthetic field for many years.
Choosing a Laser
With so many cosmetic lasers for fat reduction, how do you choose the right one for you? As a professional who has performed numerous treatments for clients, here is my review of the Lipo Laser by Meridian Medical (which should not be confused with Laser Liposuction or Smart Lipo).
How It Works
Lipo Laser uses laser energy to penetrate to your fat cells and make them temporarily porous (for roughly 3 hours). This allows the fat to escape into the interstitial space (between the cells) where it can be removed by either your lymphatic system or by being metabolized by your muscles through exercise. In other words: your fat cells are like grapes, and the procedure is like squishing out their insides. However, unlike a grape, the insides of your fat cells can return in three hours.
The client chooses an area to target such as the inner thighs or abdomen. Two medium-sized rectangle paddles are strapped to that area, each with four holes where the laser light comes out. Two smaller paddles are placed on areas that can stimulate your lymphatic system, often just below your underarms. The two larger paddles are moved every 10 minutes to cover the entire area you want to be treated. Most sessions are 40 minutes in length.
For the client, there is absolutely no discomfort. In fact, there is no sensation at all. The only indication that the machine is even turned on, is the glowing red light that emits from all four paddles.
This is not a stand-alone treatment and requires that the guest do at least 30 minutes of exercise after the treatment. The fat cells are porous for approximately 3 hours, and any contents that are not peed, sweated, or exercised out will settle back and reduce the results.
Many spas will do measurements around certain areas right before and after the treatment, usually resulting in about an average quarter inch loss. Some spas will do multiple measurements in one area and add up the results. For example, if three areas are measured around the abdomen (at the belly button and one inch above and below), and a quarter inch difference is noticed in all three areas, many spas will claim this is a three-quarter inch reduction—this can be misleading.
The average cost (in Canadian) is $200 per treatment, with a series of 8 recommended. Many spas will give an introductory price of $50 or $100 for your first visit so you can see the results. Although there is usually an immediate inch loss difference (which gets you hooked), this rarely lasts until the next day.
My Professional Opinion
With the numerous guests that I performed this service on, I found that about 80% of the people who completed their series of 8 were dissatisfied with the results. Many saw no change on their last measurement from the first, and a few even saw a gain at the end. For the guests who did see a difference, it was clear that their lifestyle had a big influence, with many going regularly to the gym. My professional opinion on this treatment is to skip it and save your money, but if you are truly set on trying this, or are in the middle of the process already there are a few things I would recommend:
- Make sure you do your own measurements, not just at the spa. This will help you gain a truly unbiased assessment of the effectiveness of your treatments. If after 2 or 3 treatments you aren’t seeing any results, stop and find something else that works.
- If the theory behind the science is correct, the more exercise you do for the first three hours after the treatment, the better. Take full advantage of this and gain control of directing your own results.
- Secondary treatments are recommended to facilitate results. I have personally found that using an infrared sauna right after helps to increase and sustain the inch loss, but even using an infrared sauna on its own can create some pretty amazing results.
- Your lymphatic system is a big part of this procedure and can create undesired results if it is sluggish or inactive. Many health food stores have inexpensive supplements that can give you a boost.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Bri on February 25, 2014:
Hey Eve, Nice post. I have done similar and just bought the equipment after a groupon experience, and have been experimenting! Not seeing results and wondering if equipment or the theory is to be tested. I will continue tests and now use the method above with 40 min. laser, work out, then sauna to compare my past findings. Plus other benefits of laser for pain reduction, hair health, skin health, etc.Thanks all for posting and kudos to the author. I hope yours continues to work for you and interested in your results. Please post again. I will attempt to post again in a few weeks. Currently my health is great, just areas need trimming without major fat issues. PS I tried putting the laser over discarded animal fat as well as other fat sources in the kitchen to compare to the same type sample without the laser. No reduction or change to distinguish.
Eve on February 24, 2014:
I purchased a 6 session through groupon to try it out. I focused on my inner thighs because they were rubbing pretty bad. After the third session, I noticed my thighs were not rubbing as bad, so it did work for me; however, I drank alot of water to flush it all out, and got on the whole body vibrator to help stimulate the fatty cells. Vibrator is a great machine, it replaces an hr or two of regular workouts. I started to notice my lower abdominen was getting flatter, and was not doing lipo laser in that area. Just watch how you eat. Do not expect for it to work if you are going to stuff your face with all kinds of foods. Well after I finished my sessions, I was happy with my results that I wanted to continue, but cannot afford to keep spending few hundreds for just three sessions, so I decided to do some research, and see if I can purchase my own equipment to use at home as many times as I want without draining my pockets. Well I purchased my own for $600 and a whole body vibrator for $199. What a deal. I had to find a way to save money because I am poor, and single mom. I basically did the Math.
Face liposuction on November 14, 2013:
I appreciated your kind way of knowledge.Great Stuff Here..I am happy to find such an informative post.hope more to come.
Read More From Healthproadvice
chantal on July 18, 2013:
I did my 10 sessions and was amazed by the results,I lost 3 inches around my waist and 3 off my hips....I must say,I drank a lot of water to flush out...I guess it's not for everyone and ofcourse you cannot be very overweight and expect this to make you thin,but if you're already quite slim but need to target certain areas like love-handles in my case, this is the safest non-invasive option.Im a fan!
Lisa on June 18, 2013:
Do the people operating the machines have to be certified? Do they really know what they are doing? I have thought about having this done, but I would like to know more information. Where can I find it?
marissa on August 05, 2012:
I bought 4 lipolaser sessions at Kelowna lipolaser and spa. They use the lapex 2000 and each treatment is supposed to be 40mins long with a 10min session on the vibration machine to follow. Let me start off by saying I’m 22, in perfect health, 5’6”, and 145lbs. I don’t have a lot of fat to lose but I do have a good chunk of fat around the lower abdomen region. The “Canadian Tire” as the like to call it here haha. I am on a quest to lose the last 15lbs so I have been eating a 1,200 cal diet and vigorously exercising at the gym for at least 1-2.5 hours 4-5x a week. They say that lipolaser works best with diet and exercise so that’s why I am mentioning this. Okay so now to get down to it. When I booked the appointment the lady on the phone told me lipolaser works best when you do double sessions (2 sessions back to back) with two days in between. So i booked one double session for Monday and then one double session for the following Wednesday. Before heading off for my session I made sure to take my own measurements and weight.
The ladies running the spa were all very nice and apparently were fully qualified technicians so this made me feel comfortable. They seemed to know how the technology worked and were good at explaining this. First thing the tech did was take my measurements around my lower abdomen (which is what I was wanting to target) and then placed dots above the top and bottom of the measuring tape so that she could measure the exact same spot again (or so I thought). My first double session ran 80mins with the paddles being moved to target the circumference of my lower abdomen every 10mins. I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort except that the paddles were digging into my ribcage and hips quite a bit. After my session the tech measured me again, i couldn’t really see what she was doing but she told me I went down from a 37.5 to a 36 5/8 so this meant to her I lost an inch and a half (what!? Math doesn’t seem right) So i looked down at the tape measure and the line on the tape measure wasn’t even close to the 36 mark. When I called her on this she said it was because I was leaning over to see it and it was making the tape measure expand. I was a bit sceptical so when I went home I retook my measurements in the exact same spot she did (following the dots) and realized she had probably not been telling the truth. I hadn’t even lost a millimeter! Needless to say I felt scammed. I went to the gym for 2 hours that night and drank the 16 glasses of water recommended to see if maybe I could help flush out the fat a bit since the fat cell is supposed to stay open for 8hrs after the treatment. I took my measurements the next morning and still no inch loss!
I walked in for another double treatment feeling like there was really no point but i figured for $1200 I better take this seriously. She measured me once again and I observed closely. This time I was in a room with a three sided mirror and could see that she was pulling the tape in tight. I said “I don’t think this is working for me” and told her about my exercise and diet compliance. Since I was booked in close to their closing time I think the tech cut my treatment short (really unfair) I only was treated for 60mins this time and got 15mins on the vibration machine. When she measured me again at the end she told me I had now definitely lost a solid inch and a half and she measured it behind me this time (I suspect it was because she didn’t want me looking down to call her on the shotty measurement). She was trying to sell me another 8 treatment package so obviously was she was trying to make me think lipolaser works. I told her I would think about it, went home to measure myself and low and behold I was still a 37.5! No loss at all.
I know they say it takes about 8-10 treatments to see maximum results but when you don’t even lose a millimeter after 4 treatments I don’t think it really matters how many treatments you have. To me this just seems like a big waste of money. I would say unless you have a lot of money at your disposal you should just save it and use conventional liposuction. I really thought that this was going to work for me considering my health status, age, and that I didn’t have an extreme amount of fat to lose in the first place. I was considered an “ideal” candidate so... what does that tell you. Hmm.
Ali on May 09, 2012:
Have any of you tried the iLipo. I had fantastic results with it. Very surprised at some of the above comments - maybe the candidates didn't do the post treatment exercise or though bcos they were burning fat they could eat more????????
TIFFANY on April 25, 2012:
IM SO GLAD I READ THIS.I HAD A FEELING IT WAS A SCAM ....I WORK OUT 4-5 TIMES A WEEK WITH A TRAINNER ONCE A WEEK AND I TRY TO EAT GOOD BUT I STILL CANT LOOSE THAT MUFFIN TO AND AFTER 3 KIDS IM TIRED OF LOOKING LIKE THIS.
3662 on April 20, 2012:
I had liposuction 22 years ago. When I grew fatter my bust increased 2 sizes but my tummy never returned.
sarah on February 27, 2012:
I have used it on my tummy and I have had 6 seeions and I think it works but I have been drinking the recommended amount of water to help flush my system
Woodsmels on February 15, 2012:
I just got done with my 8th session in Pittsburgh and I have to say that I am very disappointed. I lost a total of 3 inches for 8 sessions. There is no visual either. I spent 900 for 6 and got 2 sessions for free. Would I do again? NO! I am going to spend my money on smartlipo for permanent results. Plus, Its so time consuming. I had to switch all my jobs around. No I'm not impressed and will not do it again. I can even get 3 free if I recommend someone, but I dont care.
teeC on February 12, 2012:
I was given the information about this procedure by my chiropractor. I was excited to find out more about it. I am a over weight and have a lot of trouble loosing weight. I was hoping this would be a hopeful answer. Wishfull thinking I guess
jenny on January 18, 2012:
thanks for saving me all that money I was about to waist
Sorry! on January 12, 2012:
I am on my second session and I am very desapointed with the results. I will finish my third treatment because I got it as a gift. Reading the information above, I compared to how they do here in Ne and they spend only 10 minutes on each side then the 10 minutes in that vabration platform. They are reaping people's money off.
I feel more results when I eat better and exercise!!!
Licesned Chiropractor on December 28, 2011:
I am always embarrassed when I stroll the aisles of the exhibitor halls at a large chiropractic convention. Many of these exhibitors are hawking the latest fad device. One of them, in my opinion, are these lasers claiming to reduce fat cells. These machines cost over eighty grand. I think they are the biggest scam out there. I have never known them to work. Because of the price tag one might think they HAVE to work. No they don't. Notice you have to follow a strict diet while undergoing these expensive treatments. Well, of course you'll lose weight and reduce overall body fat if you go on a strict diet. You don't need the machine. I think they are completely worthless in every way. I wouldn't pay a nickel to have the procedures done. I wish everyone who can read this post would follow my advice and stay clear of these bogus devices. Put your money to use in real places--rent, food, buying coats for the poor....
Ash on November 04, 2011:
Thank you soooooo much for ur honesty
CAV on September 21, 2011:
Thank you for this article. It is excellent. I wish it was easier to find clear information about such things. BTW, do you have an opinion on or know a good equally unbiased article on Smart Lipo?
Pam on September 21, 2011:
Thanks for insightful and honest review. I don't want to spend money on something that most likely will not work for me and will not have permanent results.
gypsytraveler on September 18, 2011:
No. CoolSculpting also destroys fat cells, but apart from what you mentioned and CoolSculpting yea I don't think other procedures can "destroy" fat cells. I tried CoolSculpting (belly & waste) it was quite effective. My waist is currently about 25". I am interested in Lipo Laser but I think if I do proceed I think I will buy an infrared sauna blanket to keep at home to use right after each session. Thanks for the informative & honest article!!
abeauty1 (author) from Canada on September 08, 2011:
Thank you everyone for leaving your comments. I really appreciate them!
Lynn on August 28, 2011:
Thank you all for your posts. Very informative.
fashion on July 23, 2011:
Very useful article.I love its information.
ladyca on June 27, 2011:
Great post, very informative, extremely useful! Thank you
Mici1864 on June 01, 2011:
Im making this reply to Em's comment about "destroying fat cells in the body"!! There is no way a laser can nor will ever destroy a fat cell!! So just go back and study your Anatomy again!! It will only shrink it!! Fat cells can only be removed through Liposuction or a surgical procedure. I'm sorry to inform all of you that wanted this to be a quick fix!! :(
Em on March 06, 2011:
I found no lasting results with this laser and was disappointed. Then I tried the Sharplight Laser Technology where the fat cells actually get destroyed and do not return and you don't need to work out. With 4 treatments 11 cm loss. I am amazed. I can highly recommend to search for a Sharplight Laser if you really want to improve your body contour :-).
Veronika on January 07, 2011:
Thank you so much for an unbiased review.
For a treatment as expensive as this one it's nice to have an honest answer, especially for those who are not super wealthy.
All the best,
tiffany on June 16, 2010:
I operate this laser and also use it on myself. I have charted progress on clients and in many cases there us some 'rebound' (gaining back part of the loss) but for the most part I have seen that if it is used consistently for a program of 6-12 treatments, there is real and measurable loss. The manufacturer recommends using a whole body vibration platform for 10 min following each treatment and the author of this post is absolutely correct in saying that getting some activity in or using a sauna in the hours after each treatment maximizes the benefit. The best thing in my opinion is that it targets areas that don't respond to traditional exercise i.e. bra bulge, bingo arms, front of knee etc. Do your own measurements at home and chart your progrss on an x/y axis graph. If it doesn't consistently go downward at the end of a 6-8 treatment course, then it's probably not for you.