Federal regulators have approved the first body-contouring laser treatment to treat flabby arms – an area of the body that is notoriously difficult to tone and shape through diet, exercise or even surgery.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the green light to the Zerona Laser system, a non-invasive technique that reduces arm flab, which typically increases as people age.
Steven Shank – president of Erchonia, the company that makes the laser – said the therapy was found to be effective in a clinical trial that showed it can trim arm flab by about 4 centimeters, without requiring patients to go on special diets, work out, or use nutritional supplements. By comparison, researchers said patients treated with an inactive placebo laser did not show any significant changes in arm reduction.
"The arms have always been a difficult area to treat through diet, exercise or even surgery," said Shanks, in a statement. "But in just 2 weeks of treatments with the Zerona laser, Erchonia's study proved patients could lose approximately 4 cm off of their arms...."
Erchonia officials said the laser is non-invasive, has no negative side effects or downtime, and can’t be felt by patients. It works by using low-level laser light that penetrates the skin, creating a pore in the fat cell. Fat “leaks out of the cell and is processed by the body as waste,” officials said.
Zerona, which has been studying the effects of lasers on fat cells since 1998, was previously granted FDA clearance to reduce inches from the waist, hips and thighs, noninvasively.
"After seeing firsthand the results of the Zerona noninvasive body sculpting device on patients' waists, hips and thighs, I wanted to assess the efficacy of the low-level laser on the upper arms,” said Dr. Mark Nestor, the lead investigator for the study. “The study shows Zerona's low-level laser therapy is effective in reducing upper arm circumference without any pain or side effects."