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Getting Rid of Fat: Zerona vs. VelaShape


Body contouring has come out of the operating room but it can be difficult to choose which procedure is right for you.

For many people with stubborn fat, a surgical procedure has traditionally been the method of choice after diet and exercise have failed. As with any surgery, liposuction carries risks and a significant recovery period, prompting many to request a non-surgical alternative. Now, there are several devices designed to help patients lose fat and they often use very different modalities. VelaShape and Zerona are two of the most popular choices, but how are these two similar and how do they differ?

Dr. Lori Brightman, a board certified dermatologist from the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York offers VelaShape and is pleased with what it can offer patients. VelaShape uses radio frequency (RF) energy as well as infrared technology and tissue mobilization to smooth out cellulite and provide circumferential reduction. A hand piece is placed on the treatment area and it suctions skin up slightly so that the light and RF can better affect the fat beneath the surface.

Dr. Brightman says, "We have the VelaShape II which is great for tightening. I like to really use that for shaping as well, in particular the moms who have that post-baby belly and they want to get back into their pre-baby shape. It's a great way to help tighten up and reduce some more localized pockets of fat."

velashape results
Actual Results of VelaShape with Dr. Lori Brightman

Zerona on the other hand is a much different device. Using low level laser therapy, red lights shine on the patient in a rotating pattern. According to San Francisco Zerona provider Dr. Joel Beck, "The way that the Zerona works is we shine the laser on the skin and it cause fat cells to create a pore where it expels its contents, causing the fat cell to shrink." Dr. Beck goes on to describe the device, "The Zerona laser looks like a spider. At the end of each of the arms, there's a laser that spins around in circles that we use to pinpoint on the body the specific area (for fat reduction)."

The key difference is that VelaShape offers a targeted spot reduction whereas Zerona has a systemic effect. Though the Zerona lights are typically aimed at the midsection, patients have been known to lose inches in their arms and neck. VelaShape on the other hand will only produce an effect in the treatment area so patients have more control over the end results.
zerona before and after photo
Zerona Results of Dr. Joel Beck

Both devices require multiple treatments. For Zerona, one series of treatments is considered 6 visits over the course of 2 weeks, but many physicians recommend 2 series. Each visit takes about 40 minutes and results are seen around 2 weeks after treatment. VelaShape on the other hand typically takes around 4 sessions to see results. Treatments are about 30 minutes each.

There is zero pain associated with Zerona and patients can return to work immediately. While minimal results can be seen without any extra help from the patient, many physicians recommend proper diet and exercise, lymphatic massage and vitamin supplements to help boost results. With VelaShape on the other hand, few physicians recommend anything in particular immediately following treatment but patients do need to diet and exercise to maintain their results.

It's hard to say which treatment is better because it truly depends on the patient's desired outcome. If you want to see some inch reduction all over, than Zerona may be your better option, though many patients report that results are minimal. VelaShape may be a bit more predictable and patients enjoy the reduction in appearance of cellulite as well.

VelaShape will typically cost around $1400-$2200 and many physicians offer combination deals and discounts on follow up treatments. Zerona is around the same price point and many also offer package and follow up discounts.

Whatever procedure you choose, it's most important to have reasonable expectations going in. Neither is recommended as a weight loss procedure and those wanting more dramatic results should turn to surgical alternatives.