Have you ever wished for a magic cure for your bulging hips and thighs, a simple way to melt away that potbelly? Well, it's not magic, and it's not cheap, but many say a procedure called Smart Lipo comes close to fitting the bill. News On 6 anchor Terry Hood reports it was just approved by the FDA last fall and made its way to Tulsa this spring.
Therese Roberts is a 31-year-old mom who has struggled for years with an all too common problem.
"I have been heavy all of my life. My whole family has been heavy all their life," Roberts said.
But now, in the hands of Dr. Leslie Masters, she's about to have some of that fat literally melted away.
"Smart Lipo is the coolest procedure," said Dr. Masters. "What we do is we thread a laser fiber through here, so the laser is shot through a fiber."
Masters says traditional liposuction can be a brutal procedure. Patients have to go under general anesthesia. There's an average recovery time of up to three weeks, and they're left with bruising, scars and sometimes, sagging skin. But she says Smart Lipo is different.
"It's like playing a violin," Masters said. "It's a real slow, easy procedure, and little by little that laser fiber will melt the fat."
But first, Masters has to mark her targets. She emphasizes Smart Lipo is not a weight loss procedure. It's meant to sculpt and firm the body. Roberts is going in with high hopes.
"There's a lady in the office who lost two pant sizes in two weeks, so I'm looking for those results," Roberts said.
Dr. Masters begins the process by inserting a catheter under Roberts' skin and injecting a solution to numb the area. For some patients, no other anesthesia is needed, although Roberts has taken a sedative to help her relax. Dr. Masters will suction out some of the fat in this case, but with Smart Lipo, it's not necessary.
"I don't have to take any out," Masters said. "Smart Lipo bursts those fat cells and they get reabsorbed by your body and the fat's gone. The cells are destroyed."
The lights are kept low while the procedure is being done, partly to help Dr. Masters track the laser. As the fat melts away, you can see the red light shining through the skin.
"I can see it start to get tight just before my eyes," said Masters. "It's amazing."
After the procedure, patients can go back to work right away. They have to wear compression garments for about four weeks, but most begin to see results much sooner.
Dena Wilson was already a size four, but she had Smart Lipo to tone areas no amount of exercising seemed to touch. She saw a difference within a week.
I'm much flatter in my back, and my stomach is much flatter, and I don't have really round hips in places that shouldn't have been there," Wilson said.
Patients like Wilson are ideal candidates for Smart Lipo, but Dr. Masters says it can be effective for almost anyone.
"I've done every spectrum, male, female, heavy, normal weight, old, young. A favorite place to do is upper arms and under the neck," Masters said.
Is this all mere vanity? Perhaps, but Dr. Masters says she sees something more.
"I see men and women crying and they're excited," she said. "I had one man say 'this is the first time in my whole life I've ever taken my shirt off in public'."
"You work and work and it doesn't come off. This was a great thing. It was a great thing for me," Wilson said.
"This is my new start for my life really," Roberts said. "I feel very blessed I get this opportunity to do this."
So you may be asking, what are the drawbacks? Well, certainly cost is one. Smart Lipo runs about the same as traditional liposuction, about $2,000 to $3,000 for each area.
While most people return to work right away, there's no heavy lifting and vigorous activity for at least a couple of weeks. And maybe worst of all, this is no magic shield. If you gain weight, the fat comes back.
Watch the video:
The New Fat Buster
WEB EXTRA: Extended Video Of The Smart Lipo Procedure
For more information about this procedure, click here.