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How Does Zerona Compare to Liposuction?

How Does Zerona Compare to Liposuction?

 ZERONA™ Non-invasive Body Slimming Highlands, NCBody contouring is more than a trend, it is a technique that has helped millions of people feel better in their own skin. In our Highlands, NC plastic surgery practice, patients may explore fat-reducing options including liposuction and Zerona. One, as you know, requires a minimally invasive surgical technique. The other is a laser treatment that causes the spontaneous elimination of unwanted fat. Initially, many people lean toward one or the other because of the belief that it may be better. This isn’t necessarily the case.

We offer both surgical and nonsurgical fat-reduction options because every scenario is unique. Some people may achieve their desired outcome with Zerona, while other’s needs may be best met with liposuction. Here, we discuss how liposuction and Zerona work, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option.


The surgical extraction of fat cells has been performed for many years. In the hands of a board-certified plastic surgeon, liposuction is one of the safest and most predictable surgical procedures. The technique can be performed on just about any part of the body. With improvements over the years, liposuction has become so precise and gentle that the procedure can be performed in the office using a local anesthetic and, if desired, a mild sedative. To reduce fatty tissue, liposuction involves the insertion of a small hollow tube (cannula) that is attached to a suction device. Only small, discreet incisions are needed to complete this body contouring procedure. Though swelling and bruising may occur, recovery from liposuction is generally rapid.


  • Liposuction can reduce localized areas precisely without much wait time.
  • It is, in fact, ideal for small areas of fat that you desire to lose.
  • It is a one time procedure that takes only an hour or so.
  • Fat cells are removed and will not grow back.


  • Some form of local or other anesthesia is required and there is frequently some post operative discomfort, though this may easily be controlled with Tylenol.
  • A few days of downtime may include swelling, bruising, and soreness.
  • Irregularities like lumpiness are possible though unusual in expert hands. Treatment with a qualified physician is a must.
  • Remaining fat cells can increase in size if a healthy lifestyle and eating habits are not maintained, though the area will not gain as much as other areas.


An FDA-cleared body contouring device, Zerona, safely and effectively targets unwanted fat using cold laser technology. When cold laser energy contacts fat cells, they open. Lipids in the fat cells move into intercellular space and become a part of the lymph, fluid that is naturally flushed from the body.


  • Zerona is ideal for people who have larger or multiple areas that you desire to reduce.
  • Zerona is completely noninvasive.
  • No local anesthetic or sedation is needed as there is absolutely no sensation.
  • Normal activities can be resumed immediately after treatment.
  • Fat is flushed naturally, virtually eliminating the risk of irregularities.


  • Zerona takes 3 sessions a week for 2-3 weeks to benefit fully.
  • Zerona does not remove fat cells, it shrinks them. This could be an advantage and disadvantage in one. A healthy lifestyle is necessary to enjoy lasting results from treatment, but the brain frequently forgets its old appraisal of you so that it begins acting like you are the thinner person you have become. If this does not happen or you do not change your eating habits, you can regain what you lost.
  • Fat reduction occurs naturally, which takes time. At least two weeks pass before Zerona patients begin to see results.

Learn more about body contouring in our Highlands office. Schedule a consultation at (828) 526-3783.

Has Your Body Reached a Plateau? Consider What Zerona Can Do!

Throughout the many years since aesthetic plastic surgery emerged, liposuction has been one of the most popular procedures. Men and women alike have turned to the minimally-invasive procedure to whittle away their middle, slim their thighs, and sculpt their waistline. Dr. Buchanan obtained liposuction training from some of the leading surgeons in Europe. He has performed this body-shaping technique for over 35 years with excellent results; and now, though surgical liposuction is still an option for our patients, he also offers laser body slimming with Zerona.

What is Zerona?

Zerona laser body slimming treatment is completely hands-off. The nonsurgical, non-invasive procedure uses 635nm low-level, cold-laser energy to stimulate fat metabolism. Being a cold laser, the device does not heat the skin or other tissue. The energy that gets absorbed enters the mitochondria, the organelles inside of cells that give them energy. When energy is absorbed in fat cells, lipids transform into liquid. Simultaneously, laser energy makes the membrane of each fat cell porous. This allows the liquefied fat to seep out into the space between the cells. Not to worry, the lymphatic system will pick up this toxic fat and eliminate it. At the conclusion of treatment, the fat cells in the treatment area have shrunk so substantially that circumference can be reduced by one to several inches. Common treatment areas include the abdomen, waist, hips, arms, and thighs.

Tips for Maximizing Zerona Results

Zerona laser body slimming works by stimulating the body’s natural processing of fat. Each treatment essentially delivers fatty content up on a platter to the body to eliminate. To achieve the best results, it is necessary to commit to multiple treatments a week for a few weeks. This maintains adequate stimulation within cells to spill the desired amount of fat.

After the process has begun, patients are encouraged to maintain their usual exercise routine. Because there is no downtime after each appointment, it is possible to head straight to the gym to prompt increased metabolism. A healthy diet that includes less processed foods, low amounts of sugar and carbohydrates, and plenty of water is also recommended for maximum fat loss.

Water is key to the entire Zerona process. Water facilitates the expedited elimination of fat content and toxins through the bloodstream and lymphatic system. By aiding this process, water also hastens visible results and simultaneously decreases any side effects that this release may cause. Because fat cells hold toxins, their release may cause some people to feel slightly nauseous, woozy, or fatigued after their treatments. Drinking water throughout the day can significantly help, if not eliminate, these feelings.

Body contouring is made easy with Zerona. For more information or to schedule your consultation for treatment, call (828) 526-3783. We are pleased to serve the Highlands and Asheville, NC areas.

Give Yourself a “Hand”

Consider your hands. Think of all the things they have accomplished over the course of your life: The meals prepared, the love given, the dishes washed, the diapers changed, the letters written and the flowers planted. Your hands have worked hard and are one of the first places to show the visible signs of aging. With time, you may begin to see darkened “age spots” or a loss of fatty tissue which makes your hands look bony and perhaps older than your age.

hand careHand rejuvenation treatments can reverse the visible signs of aging, including the effects of sun damage and can help restore your hands to a more youthful appearance – one that matches your youthful, active lifestyle. Various treatments are available and treatment options may be combined to help you achieve the look you desire.

Here are four ways Dr. Buchanan can treat your aging hands at The Center For Plastic Surgery:

  1. Laser Like Skin Rejuvenation – The Ellipse IPL® offers the advantages of intense pulsed light therapy, a proven technology that treats the red and brown areas of sun damage using short bursts of laser like light which penetrate and gently remove “age spots.”
  2. Chemical Peel – The Obagi® RADIANCE Peel is a salicylic acid peel that can improve the look, texture and feel of your hands in minutes with no down time. Glycolic fruit acid peels remove the dry, top layer of the skin to reveal healthier, moist skin underneath.
  3. Microdermabrasion – This is a superficial skin polishing that “sands” off the first layer of the skin with tiny crystals. The procedure is non-surgical, non-invasive, fast and easy.
  4. Injectables – When injected, fillers such as Juvederm injectable gels or your own fat plump the skin on your hands to give them a more youthful appearance by somewhat hiding the veins, bones and tendons.

As with any cosmetic procedure, it’s important to have realistic expectations and keep in mind that these procedures are designed for improvement, not perfection.

If you would like to know more, call 828-526-3783 for a consultation with Dr. Buchanan, today, and enjoy younger looking hands.

How to Make the Most of Your Liposuction

 Liposuction Highlands & Asheville, NCLiposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries for a variety of different reasons. It reduces localized fatty areas and even some less localized fat to smooth and even your contours. It is, in the right hands, quite safe. It is relatively easy on you and has a moderately fast recovery. Although we can perform the surgery to give you the results you desire, there are some things that you can do to make sure you get great results.

Make Sure You’re a Good Candidate for Liposuction

One of the best ways to really get the most out of your liposuction results is to ensure that you are a good candidate to begin with. One common misconception about liposuction is that it’s for people who are obese and have a lot of weight to lose. Although liposuction is considered to be a body contouring procedure, it is only for patients who are close to their ideal body weight but simply have localized areas of fat that spoil an otherwise nice contour, in other words, those who have already tried a combination of diet and exercise but are still unable to get rid of stubborn, excess, localized fat.

Make Sure That You’re Mentally Prepared

One thing to know about any sort of cosmetic procedure is that it can oftentimes be a lot more mental than it is physical. Although we can control the physical aspect of liposuction, it’s up to you to mentally prepare yourself for the surgery and recovery. What results do you want? Can you tolerate the procedure when done under local anesthesia? Are you ready to wear the post- op elastic garment? All of these things will help you head into surgery and recovery feeling like a champ.

Make Sure You Take Recovery Seriously

Yes, you may think that recovery is optional and that you can ignore your doctor’s recommendations, but recovery is definitely mandatory. By taking several days off any vigorous activity to rest and relax, you can help to speed your recovery time and allow your body to heal before you fully get back into your normal routine.

Make Sure You Maintain Good Habits

Getting liposuction doesn’t all of a sudden mean that you have a free pass to eat and drink whatever you want while you sit on the couch and watch TV all day. In fact, one of the things that you have to do after you get liposuction is to maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan. The leaner you eat and the more you exercise, the better results you will have.

Are you ready to take the next steps toward getting liposuction? Schedule your constellation at our Highlands office today by calling us at (828) 526-3783.

The Truth about Artificial Sweeteners

For decades dieters and diabetics have used artificial sweeteners to reduce sugar intake in an attempt to lose weight or control their diabetes. Multiple studies have shown that this does not work. One study split a number of people with metabolic syndrome (prediabetes) who drank sodas into 3 groups. One stayed on the regular sodas, one switched to diet sodas (with artificial sweetener), and the third switched to Perrier or other drinks without sugar or artificial sweetener. By switching to diet soda, the prediabetes did not change. However, stopping all sodas did markedly reduce the problem.

This and other studies only showed that switching to artificial sweeteners did not change anyone’s diabetes, prediabetes or weight. One study 4 years ago did show that artificial sweeteners have an effect in causing diabetes. Another study a year ago showed that drinks with artificial sweeteners could increase a person’s risk of dementia or stroke. A new studyfrom the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University links artificial sweeteners to obesity and diabetes, claiming sweeteners change how the body processes fat and uses energy.

We at the Center for Plastic Surgery have preached for years that the way to control weight and diabetes is reduction of sugar through dietary management, not substitution for it. All these studies continue to add evidence of the significant harm that artificial sweeteners do and the necessity of proper dietary management rather than substituting something for sugar or fat.

Why Liposuction Remains So Popular

Liposuction Highlands & Asheville, NCIt seems like with most anything there are trends that come and go. However, in the world of plastic surgery, good procedures that work well safely stay for a long time. Liposuction is one of those and has remained a popular procedure amongst patients for decades, and it’s definitely here to stay. So, why has liposuction remained so popular?

It Gives Patients Real Results

With summer just around the corner, if you haven’t already thought about getting your body in the perfect shape for swimsuit season, it’s not too late. If you are overweight, lifestyle and eating habit modification is the first step. (See Dietary Advice.) If, however, you are already at a reasonable weight but just have localized fat, liposuction is the ideal treatment to consider. In fact, liposuction is not a weight loss method. It is for people at a healthy weight but just have some stubborn fat around their neck, abdomen, flanks, thighs, knees or other specific areas that they can’t get to go away.By suctioning the fat from these areas, liposuction gives patients real results.

It Treats Several Parts of the Body

Another great reason why patients love liposuction so much is that it can be used for multiple specific areas. Do you have fat on your back that you want to get rid of? Liposuction can do the trick. Need to get rid of that fat around your abdomen? Liposuction is the thing for you. Liposuction can also help get rid of fat on the buttocks, arms, thighs, neck, love handles, and knees. Of course, if you have fat in more than a few specific areas or more generalized fat, then liposuction is not the answer, weight loss or something like Zerona, a non surgical laser, similar but better than CoolSculpting, is what is needed.

It is Safe and Recovery is Rapid

When done properly by an expert surgeon liposuction has very few risks and recovery to normal activities is only a day or so. The most common problem is slight irregularity, lack of complete elimination of the problem, mild bruising and some prolonged swelling. Except for the bruising, these are rare. The bruising, however, can be covered with camouflage cosmetics. Unfortunately, because the problems are usually minimal and the recovery rapid, many non surgeon and inexperienced physicians have started doing liposuction. This has markedly increased the risks all the way to severe irregularity, burns, skin loss, severe infection and, even, death. Therefore, it is imperative that, if you are considering liposuction, you select a Plastic Surgeon who has been doing the procedure for many years and has a history of excellent results. (Dr. Buchanan has beed performing liposuction since it first came to this hemisphere from Europe and even helped develop many of the safety standards used today by most plastic surgeons.)

If you have wanted to learn more about liposuction, schedule your consultation at the Center For Plastic Surgery in Highland’s by calling: (828) 526-3783.

Liposuction safety

Reuters (5/29, Doyle) reports that several Maryland and Delaware weight loss clinics may have infected patrons with A Streptococcus because of substandard infection control. All infected patients underwent liposuction at the same medical spa chain that was not subject to state regulation. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was notified at the time of the outbreak in 2012, which included three patients that needed to be hospitalized, one of whom later died. The Baltimore Sun (5/29) also reports on this story.

Liposuction is a major surgical procedure with many risks including infection. Unfortunately, many non-plastic surgeons who have not been trained in surgical technique perceive liposuction as easy and do not follow all the precautions necessary to make the procedure safe. This problem has become more common as makers of liposuction equipment have began to sell their equipment to anyone who will purchase it, no matter what their credentials. Liposuction is, therefore, a procedure that should be investigated thoroughly including the qualifications of the person doing it, their experience. and where it will be done before agreeing to it.

Liposuction, the Most Popular Surgical Procedure in the World

Whether man or woman, do you have undesirable fat in areas such as your abdomen, waist, flanks, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, ankles, cheeks, neck and/or upper arms that has not responded to diet and exercise? If you could, would you like to reduce these areas and/or make them smooth?  This desire is actually very common, but frequently nothing you can do will change these areas other than Liposuction, the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the world. It allows you to do this with minimal risks, fast recovery and almost no scars.

The history of Liposuction goes back to 1921 when a French surgeon, curetted a ballerina’s knees to create a better shape, but the patient developed gangrene and required an amputation. Beginning in 1964 Drs. Georgio and Arpad Fischer of Italy began removing fat by suction using powered cutting instruments like those used on hard tissue in joint arthroscopy.  A number of other European surgeons, including Dr. Fournier of France, and several United States surgeons followed their lead but used modified uterine suction instruments, with an opening at the end and sharp edges.  However, the results were far from reasonable, with marked irregularity of the tissues and significant bleeding and bruising.  In 1978, Dr. Yves-Gerard Illouz of France developed a blunt cannula with a hole on the side just above the end.  He presented his method later that year with very reasonable cosmetic results and minimal bruising and bleeding. 

Dr. Illouz came to the United States the next year and presented his technique to 50 surgeons from around the country, including yours truly.  Although we were somewhat skeptical of the procedure, we imported his instruments and began studying the procedure.  Within a couple of years we had determined that the procedure did what it was intended to do with minimal risks as long as certain precautions were taken.

One of the biggest problems with the procedure was mild irregularity in the skin surface, which occasionally required going back a second time.  It quickly became apparent that the reason for this was the size of the cannulae.  Dr. Illouz’s original cannulae were 10 (almost ½ inch), 8 and 6 mm in diameter.  These were exceptionally aggressive and removed the fat very rapidly.  By reducing the size of the cannulae and criss-crossing the area, much like grounds keepers do on baseball fields and golf courses, we got excellent cosmetic results with very smooth contours.  Presently, the largest cannula used is about 5 mm, smaller than Dr. Illouz’s smallest cannula. 

Dr. Illouz’s second contribution to liposuction was the use of an infiltrate containing epinephrine to constrict the vessels and reduce bleeding into the area to be suctioned.  Shortly thereafter, Dr. Jeffrey Klein added an anesthetic and increased the amount of medications injected so that the procedure could be done under pure local anesthesia.  Although many people still use this methodology, many of them do so because they do not have access to any other type of anesthesia.  I have found that most people undergoing any significant liposuction desire to know as little of what is going on as possible, and other methods of anesthesia are more appropriate.

Additionally, since its inception, many other modifications have occurred.  Lasers have been developed to, theoretically, melt the fat; however, except in one very uncommon situation, this is no better than regular liposuction.  Ultrasound and water injection have also been added to liposuction, again without any proven benefit.

The only thing that has consistently shown to improve results is the experience of the surgeon doing the procedure.  Unfortunately, because the procedure is seemingly simple and the technology to perform it is readily available, many people with no or little training and no surgical background have begun doing liposuction, occasionally with disastrous results.

The most popular areas for Liposuction are the neck under the chin, the lower tummy, the hips, the “love handles,” the thighs and any area of localized fat accumulation. Although many people have tried liposuction in order to jumpstart weight loss or to reduce large areas, it is generally considered inappropriate for this and not a substitute for weight loss.  Where more than localized areas are involved, I have found that lifestyle modification and/or Zerona™, an externally applied laser that is not surgery and has no pain and no down time, works much better. They can get you where Liposuction would be indicated to correct any areas not reduced adequately.

Liposuction is also an excellent adjunct to other procedures like tummy tuck, breast reduction, gynecomastia correction, arm lift and any procedure where blending the procedure into the surrounding area is desirable.

Local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used, and the procedure can last anywhere from less than one hour to several hours depending on the amount of fat being removed and the number of areas treated. We generally recommend staying overnight in the hospital when we remove larger amounts of fat, though we rarely do so now.

In summary, liposuction is an excellent technique that has been around for 35 years and has been constantly modified to improve it.  Like Liposuction did with other procedures, technology like Zerona™ is now making some liposuction less necessary.  However, for localized fat reduction, it is still the best option, with the most reliable results and a rapid recovery.

Brachioplasty (Arm Lift) Surgery up over 4000% since 2000

Thanks, in part, to the rising number of people losing weight either on their own or surgically, the frequency of brachioplasty, surgical remodeling of the upper arms, is up over 4000% since the year 2000. In that year, there were only 338 reported brachioplasties in the US. Last year there were over 15,000, or one about every 10 minutes. The procedure actually removes the excess skin and fat from the upper arms to eliminate the “bat wing” that is frequently left there after significant weight loss. The incision runs from the inner elbow to the axilla. Although it is long, it generally hides well. It is against the chest when the arms are down, but is usually quite thin and inconspicuous even when the arms are elevated. It is done when the skin will not retract after weight loss or liposuction alone will leave excess skin. Both are quite common, and exercise and muscle toning will not reduce the extra skin. The combination of liposuction and brachioplasty is an excellent procedure for those with congenital excess skin and fat of the upper arm. It can be done as an outpatient and recovery is relatively rapid.

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