Two cousins, two very different experiences with laser lipolysis

Tyna Sayavong could hardly believe it but the tape measure didn’t lie, she said.

Sayavong underwent a procedure called laser lipolysis, a non-invasive process intended to reduce fatty tissue that is advertised as a painless and relaxing experience followed by some very mild exercise.

“When she measured me, she said I lost two inches off my waist,” Sayavong said. “I thought she was lying but I actually checked when I got home and I did. I also found it easier to lose weight that week when I worked out.”

According to All Care Medical Center, i-lipo — a brand name of laser lipolysis treatments — is approved by Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“It’s a very natural process,” said Victoria, an i-lipo technician at All Care Medical Center.

A typical treatment begins with the client being measured with a tape measure. Panels are then strapped to the area of the body chosen for the treatment. Lights in the room are turned off, ambient sounds of nature fill the room through a speaker and a timer counts down.

“The panels emit low-level laser energy that can target trouble areas by creating a chemical signal in the fat cells,” said Victoria, who did not want to divulge her last name. “This reaction breaks down the cells that store triglycerides. This is the soft fat that is often located on the tummy and thigh area.”

Dr. Shakkeela Padanilathu-Kunjummar, however, is skepitcal about the efficacy of laser lipolysis. It’s not a healthy way to lose fat and is likely a waste of money, the general practitioner said.

“There is no real scientific data to prove it works,” Padanilathu-Kunjummar said.

Chromogenex Technologies, the maker of the i-lipo system, disagrees.

“Clinical studies show that i-lipo has comparable results that are achieved through liposuction surgery,” according to the i-lipo website.

A more low-tech approach is the right way to go, Padanilathu-Kunjummar said.

“The best thing anybody can do is just eat well and exercise,” she said. “That won’t fail.”

Sayavong’s cousin Dina Sayavong also went in for a laser lipolysis treatment. The in-home health-care assistant received the procedure as a birthday gift from a client.

“I mentioned that I wanted to try it and my client’s wife told me it really worked,” Dina Sayavong said. “It was not what I thought it was going to be like.

“She told me it was going to feel like sunbathing. But it burned … and I had to put aloe on my stomach for a week.”

That, cousin Tyna Sayavong said, was not her experience.

“I think it depends on your body,” she said. “I didn’t get burned and they put the same heat level for me.”