The Skinny on Non-Invasive Waist Slimming Procedures

Noninvasive fat loss procedures are all the rage nowadays. This article reviews three of these popular, no-knife body sculpting techniques — Zerona, CoolSculpting, and SculpSure. Each has its own pros and cons… and incredibly futuristic approach to body contouring.


Zerona is an FDA-approved laser treatment for reducing fat in the waist, arms, hips and thighs.
The device gives off low-level laser energy that liquefies the fat in targeted areas. This liquified fat then gets naturally flushed from the system by the body’s lymphatic system.
Patients usually see results after six treatments, administered over a two-week period. Each treatment lasts approximately 40 minutes. You can’t wait more than 72 hours between treatments — if you do, the fat may come back.
The treatment itself is performed in a dark room: the laser is pointed to the front of the body for 20 minutes, and to the back of the body for 20 minutes.
You won’t feel any pain during the procedure — the most you will feel is a slightly warm sensation. No anesthesia is necessary, and you can go back to your normal activities immediately after the treatment.
It’s useful for areas of the body where you haven’t been able to lose stubborn, subcutaneous pockets of fat — you can actually trim away inches from the waist, hips, and thighs. In fact, it’s in these areas that Zerona works the best.

Risks and Side Effects

According to the manufacturer, no risks have been found in healthy users. However, some dissatisfaction with the cosmetic results has been voiced by patients, especially in terms of how the results compare to liposuction and other traditional body contouring procedures: liposuction actually removes fat cells from the body, whereas Zerona only releases them. Weight gain can therefore reverse the effects of the treatment.


The cost varies depending upon where you live and other factors, but generally ranges between $2,000 and $3,000. Insurance will not cover the treatment. However, financing is sometimes available.

Pros and Cons


  • Zerona is the only clinically proven non-surgical treatment for fat reduction. It is also approved by the FDA.
  • Most other fat reduction procedures require that you wear compression garments after the treatment. Zerona does not.
  • The procedure and recovery are painless.
  • One session only lasts around 40 minutes.


  • Although it is FDA approved, long term results are still poorly documented since it’s relatively new on the market.
  • If you’re not disciplined, then it is easy to return to your former shape. Also, you can’t expect to lose more than 10 pounds.
  • The procedure is rather expensive.


CoolSculpting uses a process known as cryolipolysis, which places fat between two cooling panels that bring the fat down to freezing temperatures.
After the cells have been frozen, they die and are eventually excreted from the body through the liver. This happens within several weeks of the treatment. The whole process can take up to three months.
People who use CoolSculpting generally treat many different parts of their body several times. These may include:

  • Thighs
  • Lower back
  • Belly
  • Flanks

CoolSculpting is also used to minimally reduce the appearance of cellulite on the legs, buttocks, and arms. It can even be used to reduce fat under the chin.
The procedure takes one hour for each targeted body part. Larger body parts will often require more than one treatment.
Note that CoolSculpting is not a treatment for obesity. The technique is only useful for removing small amounts of excess fat that are resistant to diet and exercise.
People with the following conditions should not undergo CoolScupting:

  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Cold agglutinin disease
  • Paroxysmal cold hemoglobuinuria
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