New laser treatment may trim inches from your troubled areas

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- There's a figure-slimming procedure sweeping the country that claims to trim your trouble spots -- up to eight inches -- in just 20 minutes.

It uses what's called a "Strawberry Laser" and it's finally arrived here in Houston.

Sonia Varela is a feisty 69-year-old who doesn't want to look her age.

"You just look in the mirror one day and say, 'No, that's not good.' You look at your stomach and go, 'That's not good,'" she says.

So, she's trying Strawberry Laser Lipo, which claims she can lose up to eight inches in her first session. At Couture Luxury Med Spa, registered nurse Deneish Brooks-Briley straps cold, red laser diodes onto Varela's midsection.

It works, according to the manufacturer, when the lasers hit fat cells under the skin. Tiny pores open up in the cell and the contents spill out. That water, glycerol, and fatty acid is flushed away or processed by the lymphatic system. But it's important to note that the fat cells don't go away.

"You shrink them, so you see the inches off. That's why we call it inch loss," said Brooks-Briley.

She adds, that without proper diet and exercise, you can also put the inches back on.

The FDA told us the Strawberry Laser is cleared for the "temporary reduction in waist circumference" but "the device has not been cleared for weight loss -- it is unclear whether this method of reducing waist circumference translates to weight reduction."

"They're all tools and they're tools to affect a greater lifestyle change," said Dr. Vadim Sherman, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Methodist Hospital.

He says that's true for any reduction treatment, even his own.

"Diet is the most important thing. Portions are very important. And exercise is very important... that's the key to success," he says.

After her session, Varela measured about an inch smaller.

"It's making me feel wonderful -- I'll probably be Twiggy," she said.

She has seven treatments left, but now she's motivated to get moving.

She said, "I have a little puppy and I'll just be walking him instead of my husband."

The price of the treatment varies, but a package of eight sessions could cost around $2,000.

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