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How To Lose Unwanted Fat for a Healthier Life

How To Lose Unwanted Fat for a Healthier Life

Side view full length of beautiful woman in black swimsuitGetting rid of unwanted body fat is a goal of many people. Not only does it help achieve a more sculpted and toned look, but also helps achieve a healthier life by obtaining a more ideal weight. Many of these people are spending long hours in the gym, keeping an active lifestyle that surgery and the resulting recovery would significantly interfere with their daily lives.

Now, if you are like the many who want to get rid of excess or stubborn body fat but want to avoid surgery and a lengthy recovery, Zerona™ can help achieve that sculpted look you want with no downtime, recovery, or interruption to your everyday life.

Zerona™ is an FDA-approved treatment that uses laser energy not just to reduce the appearance of stubborn body fat but destroy the membranes that contain the fat cells and keep them away. This is a non-invasive way to slim and sculpt your body and requires no downtime or recovery after each treatment session.

During the treatment sessions that address your entire midsection, you will lie comfortably on your back and abdomen for 20 minutes each. Your doctor or aesthetician will then glide the handheld laser device across your skin.

The Zerona™ system uses cold laser technology to create a hole in the membranes that hold the fat cells together. The fat then leaks out through this hole, which is naturally removed and cleaned up by your body’s natural metabolic processes. Although the fat cells are not destroyed, as with other more invasive procedures, it is rare for the fat to return.

Most patients respond the best with around 6 treatment sessions spaced across a 2-week plan. Not only are these short enough to fit in with your regular schedule, but they are also painless and will not interrupt your everyday activities.

If you want to have a slimmer and more sculpted look around your abdomen and want to remove stubborn body fat without the risks and recovery of surgery, call the Center for Plastic Surgery in Highlands, NC, at 828-526-3783 or visit to see how Zerona™ can help you meet your aesthetic goals.

How to Prepare Zerona Body Contouring Treatments

The three ways of fat reduction are weight loss, either by dietary changes or gastrointestinal surgery, liposuction, or externally applied non-invasive means. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Liposuction is best for localized areas of fat. Weight loss is needed when there is generalized excess fat. The non-invasive machines are best where there is not a lot of excess fat but it is more generalized. Non-invasive treatments for helping to reduce stubborn body fat is safe and effective and can aid in contouring your body to help meet your aesthetic goals.

Dr. Buchanan at the Center for Plastic Surgery is pleased to offer a non-invasive, FDA-approved treatment that is proven effective at eliminating stubborn body fat with no downtime or recovery period.

Zerona Non-Invasive Body Slimming uses cold laser technology to penetrate below the skin and painlessly attack fat cells. Where liposuction uses a small suction device to physically remove fat cells, the cold laser of Zerona creates small holes in the walls of the fat cells, causing them to leak and shrink. The leaked fat is eliminated like other cellular waste.

During each treatment session, you will be on your back for 20 minutes, then on your stomach for another 20. The best results generally occur after 6 treatments scheduled over 2 weeks. Each treatment is painless and you can return to your daily life immediately.

Despite the ease and effectiveness of Zenora treatments, there are a few things that you can do to prepare and have the best experience. It is important to have realistic expectations about the results, especially compared to those of liposuction. Zenora is slower than liposuction but generally produces results that you will be able to see.

However, since the fat cells, while much smaller in size, remain inside your body, there is a chance they will fill up again. This does not usually occur as your brain naturally sees you as smaller and usually makes changes to your eating habits without you being aware.

The best way to see the best and longest-lasting results are to get started on a healthy diet and lifestyle well before the treatment sessions. These habits will carry over after the treatments and keep the fat from returning.

Contact Dr. Robert Buchanan and the team at the Center for Plastic Surgery in Highlands, NC, to learn more about Zerona and how it can help you meet your aesthetic goals. Call 828-526-3738 or visit to schedule a comprehensive consultation today.

Hop into Springtime with More Confidence Thanks to Zerona

Fit and sporty girl in underwearKeeping your body in shape can be difficult even if you have good eating habits, live a good lifestyle, and describe yourself as a relatively active person. Maintaining a stable weight is a challenge for the vast majority of people because both life and our metabolism are constantly changing. Additionally, genetics can modify how much fat is deposited in different areas. For these reasons, many people struggle with stubborn fatty deposits in areas they wish were smoother and flatter. To improve this, one may consider liposuction. As a board-certified plastic surgeon and one of the first American surgeons performing it, Dr. Buchanan is certainly a fan of this procedure. Liposuction is a minimally-invasive surgery that requires only a couple of tiny incisions and has a rapid recovery. What it provides in return is improved body contours that can last many years if not indefinitely. But as beneficial as liposuction can be, there are people who prefer a non-surgical, non-invasive approach to fat reduction. Understanding this choice and wanting a simpler method for larger areas, Dr. Buchanan added the Zerona body contouring device to our Highlands, NC office. This system has been thoroughly tested and has performed immensely well in clinical trials. Since beginning to use the Zerona device in our practice, we have had a front-row seat to see consistently good results in multiple patients. Here, we discuss why you may want to consider Zerona for a Springtime body contouring pick-me-up.

What is Zerona Body Contouring?

Unlike liposuction, which is performed using a local anesthetic and small cannulas to manually extract fat cells, Zerona stimulates natural fat metabolism using controlled externally applied laser energy. Not just any laser energy, Zerona has been designed with comfort and efficacy in mind to destroy fat using cold laser technology. Because of this technology, patients do not require downtime for recovery, nor do they have to consider the risks associated with heat from some laser devices or the discomfort from the competitor that freezes the fat. Comfort is a given!

In our years of using Zerona, we have continually been impressed with its capabilities. The Zerona has five Laser emitting heads that are positioned over the body while you rest comfortably for the 20-minute procedure. During the treatment, each of the laser heads, which never touch the body, emit laser energy over a large area, from the neck to the mid-thigh area. Once the treatment program has begun, small openings begin to occur in the membranes of the superficial fat cells. These openings release the fatty contents that have been held in the enlarged cells where it enters the space between cells and gets picked up by the body’s natural elimination pathways.

What Does it Take to Get Better Contours with Zerona?

The energy technology of Zerona that gently but efficiently shrinks fat cells takes consistency to achieve its intended goal. Zerona treatments are scheduled to occur 3 days a week for two weeks. However, the week prior to starting treatment, the patient may make a few modifications as needed to maximize the effects of their process. These include eating a healthy diet of fresh, low-carb foods, walking or engaging in other light physical activity every day, and making sure to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Hydration is a crucial aspect of nonsurgical fat reduction because it supports the natural elimination of the fat (triglycerides). The habits that begin one week prior to treatment should continue throughout the two weeks of active fat reduction and for another several weeks at least, if not permanently, after the completion of the treatment sessions. According to studies, more than 90% of patients who follow these basic instructions achieve significant contour improvements from Zerona.

Is Zerona a Liposuction Alternative?

The Zerona treatment process can, as we’ve discussed, reduce excess or unwanted fat. It is not really comparable to liposuction since liposuction is most useful for small localized areas and Zerona is best for larger areas. We generally use Zerona as a stimulus to starting a weight loss program or where the desired treatment areas are larger than what we usually do with liposuction. If you would like to learn more about non-surgical, non-invasive body contouring, contact us at (828) 526-3783 for your appointment.

Zerona or Liposuction? Get to Know the Pros and Cons of Each!

Fat reduction is a body-contouring treatment that is sought by many adults. Historically, fat reduction was achieved with excision surgery and, for 30 years, liposuction. However, innovative technologies have made it possible for us to reduce  fat without surgery. This technique also has certain benefits. If you’re noticing one or more areas on your body where fat seems to be holding on tight, you may be interested in comparing liposuction to the nonsurgical body contouring treatment we use in our Highland, NC office, Zerona.


Zerona is an FDA-cleared body contouring device that sculpts large general areas by reducing the fat within the cells. It works by emitting cold laser energy that penetrates into the cells, opens pores in the cell walls, and emulsifies the fat within the cells. This allows the liquid fat to move into the interstitial space where it can be picked up and eliminated through the lymphatic system. In clinical studies, this cold laser technology reduced inches from patients’ hips, thighs, and waists.


Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgical technique that uses a thin canule moved under the skin to literally suction the fat cells and fat from an area. It does require numbing the area or general anesthesia. Recovery is rapid, with most people able to return to most activities within a day or two.

Pros of Zerona include:

  • The noninvasive procedure does not require anesthesia
  • Treatment is painless
  • No downtime is needed
  • Fat cells shrink naturally, resulting in smooth, uniform results
  • Natural fat loss occurs over a few weeks

Cons of Zerona include:

  • Fat cells can enlarge after treatment if healthy habits are not implemented and maintained
  • Results vary from person to person; one may lose a few inches only while others lose more

Pros of liposuction include:

  • Suitable for large and small areas of fat, including under the chin
  • Fat removal is permanent
  • Liposuction is known for fast, successful results, especially for stubborn localized fat

Cons of liposuction include:

  • Small incisions are necessary
  • Some type of anesthesia is necessary
  • Risks such as infection, asymmetry, lumps, and bleeding exist, though they are minimal when done properly
  • There is some post op discomfort
  • Residual fat cells can enlarge if a healthy lifestyle is not maintained but the area will never be like it was

Your best body is within reach, even if diet and exercise have not produced your ideal results. To learn more about our body contouring treatments, call (828) 526-3783.

Zerona Can Take Care of That Extra Fat

Extra InchesHave the last few months of stay-safe-at-home led to unwanted weight gain? If you’re noticing a little extra padding around the midsection, hips, or thighs, you’re not alone. There is no way that 2020 will be known as a walk in the park kind of year. This past Spring, COVID-19 pulled the proverbial rug from beneath our feet. Folks are working from home, some are working much less than they used to, and many are questioning when life will go back to normal. It’s been a stressful time, to say the least. As such, this may have led to some comfort-eating. Experts encourage people not to worry about a little extra fat caused by the stress of the times. If you have lost back to normal, or, even if you gained nothing, but still notice unwanted areas of fat, there are alternatives. One is Zerona nonsurgical body contouring, which we are discussing here.

Zerona treatments take about 40 minutes on three days for two weeks. There is no downtime after treatments, and nothing special to do to promote fat loss other than assuring good dietary habits. The device works by emitting low-level laser energy into the fat cells. This energy emulsifies the fat and creates tiny holes in the membranes of the cells, resulting in the leakage of fat so it can be eliminated. Zerona does not destroy fat cells; it empties them. However, none of our patients who have undergone this fat-reduction process have relapsed. Patients who have Zerona treatments or even liposuction to remove unwanted fat can benefit from implementing healthy eating habits. We encourage patients to build fresh-food meals that are equal parts minimally processed protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fat.

Is Zerona right for You?

As we figure out how to live life as normal as possible, we all deserve to feel our best. Zerona nonsurgical body contouring can be a great way to jump-start a weight loss program or to get rid of those stubborn few areas. It differs from liposuction, which is best for very localized areas, in that the most common treatment areas include larger areas like the abdomen, flanks, hips, and thighs.

The team in our Highlands, NC office is here to help you look and feel like your best self. To schedule a body contouring treatment, call (828) 526-3783.

Exploring Nonsurgical Fat Reduction

Anyone who has ever tried to lose body fat knows how difficult it can be to do without a lot of help. Eating the proper foods and exercising regularly are good and necessary for optimal health. They aren’t always the ticket to the slim body contours a person wants, though. At some point, many people hit a plateau that they can’t seem to overcome. Furthermore, fat loss does not happen uniformly, frequently from inherited tendencies so some areas of the body may reduce better than others. This is why there has been such a strong interest in surgical liposuction and nonsurgical fat reduction in recent years.

Examples of Nonsurgical Fat Reduction Body Contouring

Historically, body contouring has been achieved with liposuction and other shaping procedures like abdominoplasty. Now, we have several ways to reduce areas of excess fat without surgery. Common examples of nonsurgical fat reduction include:

  • Injectable lipolysis. This is better known as Kybella, the injectable treatment that breaks down fat cells under the chin with deoxycholic acid. Though we have used Kybella, we find it more uncomfortable, more unpredictable, and slower to achieve results than liposuction and have abandoned it.
  • Many people know cryolipolysis as CoolSculpting. This method of reducing fat works by freezing fat cells, causing crystals to destroy them. The body flushes these cells over several weeks. This, however, is quite uncomfortable and has a tendency for the removed fat to rebound
  • Laser lipolysis destroys fat cells by heating them, leading to destruction. This, however, is more of a surgical procedure than regular liposuction.
  • Radiofrequency lipolysis also heats fat cells through the skin. We have found it minimally reliable.
  • Unlike other forms of fat reduction, Zerona disrupts fat cells using low-levels of cold-laser technology. This energy causes the fat cells to release the stored fat, is totally painless and somewhat more reliable than the other non-surgical modalities. This is what we use for our patients.

As you can see, each of these treatments works through unique technologies and techniques. Individual results can vary within any one of these modalities. Most forms of nonsurgical fat reduction offer some degree of gradual improvement over a few months. While none are intended for weight loss, each can result in a slimmer physique and better-fitting clothes. Also, none require downtime.

The Real Question to Ask

Many people procrastinate in getting treatment that can achieve their desired result because, with so many options, it’s difficult to know which one is right. This isn’t the real question. All you need to do is decide that you have done all you can with dietary and lifestyle modifications and that you still have some areas you would like to change. You then discuss with Dr. Buchanan how to achieve your desired outcome. Zerona nonsurgical treatment is ideal for larger to medium sized areas of excess fat. For small areas, minimally-invasive liposuction is frequently the best path to a better body.

We are here to help you find your way to your best self. To learn more about body contouring in our Highlands, NC office, call (828) 526-3783.

Treatment of Under Chin Excess Fat

Under Chin Fat reduction Highlands North Carolina

Under Chin Enhancement

A majority of adults have excess fat under the chin in the upper neck even if they are thin. This is because, although we normally lose weight in our faces as we age, we tend to gain fat in the upper neck area. Fortunately, removal of this, restoring the neck and jaw to a more ideal contour, is easily done in the office in several ways. Here, we will discuss these methods and what you need to know to make an informed choice.

Surgical Excision

Removal of under chin fat has been a part of face and neck lifts since the procedures were developed. For many years, there was no other reasonable option to treat the problem. However, today, we have other methods that are simpler and with faster recovery.

Sub-Mental Liposuction

Perhaps the best known method is removal of the fat with liposuction, vacuum removal of the fat using small hollow tubes. We do the procedure in the office under local anesthesia. Unlike liposuction of large areas such as the hips, abdomen or thighs, getting the neck numb is easy and almost painless. Most people do not even need any sedation and, at the end of the procedure, even remark at how easy it was. The advantage of liposuction is that it is a one time procedure and exactly controllable to achieve your desired result. Recovery is also quite rapid.

Zerona® Non-Surgical Laser

Although Zerona, and other modalities like CoolSculpting, are designed for larger areas, you can use them for smaller areas, especially if you are also treating other areas. This would not, however, be our first choice.

Injectable Kybella®

A number of years ago Allergan developed Kybella, basically a normal bile acid that dissolves fat when injected into it. This works quite well, but is significantly more painful and takes longer to recover than liposuction and takes 2-3 sessions spaced 6-8 weeks apart rather than being a one time procedure. For those reasons, as most plastic surgeons, we have abandoned Kybella, leaving it for those physicians not proficient in liposuction.

What About Loose Skin

All the above methods rely on the skin contracting after removal of the fat to give you a flat, smooth under chin area. If, however, you are over 35, this may not happen as well as desired, though the result may still be a great improvement. If this is not enough, a surgical neck lift may be needed. Frequently, these can also be done under local anesthesia in the office.

We can reduce the fat under your chin to give you a more refined, chiseled look. If you would like to learn more, contact us or call us in our Highlands, NC office at 828-526-3783.

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.

The Way to a More Sculpted Jawline

 Neck Lift | Highlands, NCYou may have heard of the term “double-chin.” This common problem affects adults of all ages. Because a a large number of double chins are made up of fatty tissue, this cosmetic condition often gives the impression that a person is overweight. The truth is, the neck under the chin is just another area in which many people wish they could spot reduce fat. It’s a part of the body on which fat cells may simply accumulate for no good reason. Statistics suggest that nearly 70% of American adults are troubled by submental fullness. Clearly, this is a problem for which reliable solutions are needed. We have them.

Treatment Options for a Double Chin

There are a handful of treatment options that can reduce excess fat under the jawline. However not every technique is ideal. In our Highlands, NC office, patients receive options that are proven to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time. These are liposuction and neck lift surgery.

Neck Liposuction

With nonsurgical treatments like Kybella, why would anyone undergo surgery anymore? The answer is simple: reliability, fast recovery, and results. Neck liposuction is ideal for several reasons. First, the results from treatment are almost immediate. Due to the minimally-invasive nature of neck liposuction, Dr. Buchanan performs this procedure in the office using a local anesthetic. We understand that may sound uncomfortable. It’s not. Patients who undergo neck liposuction with local anesthetic and a mild sedative typically have one response: “Wow! That was easy!” Kybella typically takes more than one treatment, is more uncomfortable that liposuction and the recovery from the first treatment is longer than liposuction.

Neck liposuction removes the localized fat cells beneath the chin and jawline to reveal a more dramatic curve from the upper neck to the face. Treatment usually takes about an hour, after which a compression garment may be worn for a short while when alone. Within a few days, patients are back to normal activities.

Neck Lift

It is important to know what your skin is capable of as you seek treatment for submental fullness. Even many of the nonsurgical treatments that are popular today focus only on fat destruction. If your skin has lost elasticity, it won’t bounce back after fat is removed, no matter the method of removing the fat. Without proper retraction, the skin may look worse without the smoothing effect of the unwanted fat. For this reason, some patients are better served by a neck lift.

Like neck liposuction, the neck lift can also be performed in the office with a local anesthetic with or without sedation. The procedure involves an incision under the chino vertically in the central neck. The neck muscles are carefully released and tightened with sutures. The skin is repositioned, as well, and, with some procedures, excess is trimmed before the incisions are closed. Recovery time after a neck lift is about one to two weeks before most normal activities can be resumed.

Zerona Fat Reduction

Although Zerona is better at treating larger areas, if you have some larger areas that you wish treated, the neck can be treated at the same time using Zerona non invasive laser fat reduction.

What to Know About Kybella Double Chin Treatment

Kybella is one of the most commonly hyped and discussed double-chin treatments today. The technique is safe and it is effective. However, so are the neck liposuction and neck lift procedures. Although it is claimed there is no downtime with Kybella, after treatment there is noticeable swelling that may prevent normal activities for a few days and is generally worse than liposuction and lasts longer. Also, to get liposuction-like results with Kybella, it is necessary to undergo up to 4 treatment sessions (each with multiple injections) and several months of waiting for fat to naturally dissolve. Although it was initially thought that the reaction from the Kybella would tighten loose skin, experience haas shown that this does not happen.

If you’re interested in prompt results from chin-sculpting treatment, call our Highlands office at (828) 526-3783. During your consultation, we can provide details about sculpting procedures that are right for you.

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.

Thank you for your business over the years! Dr. Buchanan is closing his practice and the Center For Plastic Surgery's last day open will be January 31, 2023.