Innovations in Weight Loss

Local companies offer creative solutions for battling the bulge.

Weight loss can be a constant and ongoing struggle for many people, especially those that live in the Big Easy, where the food is delicious, the drinks are abundant and people are notoriously laid back.

Let’s face it, the city is not typically known as being a fitness mecca. But surprisingly, New Orleans has kept up—and even led the pack—when it comes to the latest and greatest in weight loss technology and applications.

Freeze the Fat

Two years ago, Metairie OB-Gyn Dr. Robin Bone opened the Sculpting Center of New Orleans. Newly affiliated with Ochsner, the center was created to offer a safe, permanent fat removal technology that actually works long term.

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“The science of CoolSculpting is amazing,” says Virginia Halligan, clinical supervisor at Sculpting Center. “Two Harvard scientists began researching this technology in 2009, and treatments started in 2011. Unlike most other methods of fat reduction, CoolSculpting does not use needles or entail a surgery, and there is literally no downtime for the patient. What makes this procedure different is its advanced cooling technology that targets and eliminates fat cells.”

CoolSculpting works by means of a scientific principle called cryolipolysis. “During the procedure, a non-invasive applicator precisely cools a targeted area and eliminates fat cells in that specific area of the body,” Halligan explains. “When fat cells are exposed to extreme cooling during the CoolSculpting procedure, it triggers a process of natural removal, which gradually reduces the thickness of the fat layer. The result is a reduction in fat bulges that is visible in most patients in two to four months.”

Ideal candidates for CoolSculpting are close to their ideal weight, or within 10 pounds, but have fat bulges they have not been able to get rid of through regular diet and exercise. These individuals want to reduce specific areas of fat, but do not necessarily want to undergo a surgical procedure. The company claims the procedure reduces fat cells by 20 to 25 percent.

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“The CoolSculpting procedure is not a way to lose weight or treat obesity, and it is not a substitute for invasive methods like liposuction—it is body contouring,” Halligan says. “During the first free consultation, the patient and physician will discuss whether they are a good candidate for the procedure. It may not be ideal for one area of the body, but may be perfect for another area. The CoolSculpting applicators are like puzzle pieces and fit on the abdomen, back, arms and thighs, and as of last November, one is now available for the chin.

Etre Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser Center at 1224 St. Charles Ave., offers multiple options for non-invasive body contouring.

“We are one of the few clinics in the New Orleans area to have two machines on site that can be used simultaneously on a single patient during a visit, which drastically shortens the patient’s time having the procedure,” she adds. “During the one hour start-to-finish time, patients read, work on their laptops or just relax. Also, the treatment is safe and FDA-cleared and results in a natural look that is noticeable as early as three weeks following the treatment, with the most dramatic results after one to three months.”

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The CoolSculpting procedure is for non-invasive fat-layer reduction and is available in 52 countries with more than 3.5 million treatments having been performed worldwide. Five hundred patients to date have been treated by the Sculpting Center of New Orleans.

“A typical treatment is done at negative 10 degrees Celsius, and patients expect it to be intensely, unbearably cold, but most don’t feel overwhelmed by the cold mostly because they go numb after about eight minutes or so,” Halligan says. “There is no cap or limit on age of who can do this procedure, except we do not treat anyone under 18 years old. We are really excited about our new partnership with Ochsner and are looking forward to what they will bring to the table and all the possibilities for growth.”

Unlike the other L.A., Halligan says The New Orleans market has been slow to react to the aesthetic world. “I think; because of our ‘fun’ culture we don’t really focus on our bodies,” Halligan says. “But we are finding that the awareness is here, and it is growing by leaps and bounds and people are seeking out weight-loss and body-contouring options.”

The Power of Protein

For those with more than a few targeted small trouble spots, Internal Medicine Specialists introduced its Ideal Protein weight loss method to the New Orleans market in 2013. To date, the company says that patients have lost more than 9,091 pounds with this physician-supervised program.

“We started offering Ideal Protein to get patients healthier,” says Suzanne de Boisblanc Tyler, RDN, LDN, a nutrition counselor with Internal Medicine Specialists. “Three years ago, we started to notice patients were getting more and more obese, and we were treating many patients with diseases that were taking medications that could benefit from losing weight. So we introduced Ideal Protein, which is a treatment protocol and not a diet, to help patients live a healthier lifestyle and have the opportunity to reduce the amount of medication they take.”

The Ideal Protein weight-loss approach was first introduced to the physicians at IMS by a nurse practitioner who had been researching the company and studying the protocol. The doctors were attracted to Ideal Protein because of its focus on achieving sustainable long-term weight management rather than short-term weight loss, which was the missing piece for their patients.

“Our goal is to provide patients with life-long comprehensive health care, and we strongly believe that weight loss is one of the primary preventive cornerstones in medicine,” Tyler says. “Ideal Protein is a proven, four-part method that provides safe, rapid weight loss, coupled with a healthy lifestyle approach and a structured, evidence-based maintenance program to sustain weight loss success. The method is offered through preferred healthcare partners and trained coaches, and targets the root causes of weight gain by regulating insulin levels.

“It is important to take and assess each individual where they are when they walk in and work with them from that point on,” she adds. “The key to Ideal Protein is education and understanding the weight loss program, which includes maintaining a healthier lifestyle and eating smarter throughout all four phases of the Ideal Protein method. Individuals are provided with one-on-one coaching, which includes a diet plan that promotes losing fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. The method teaches weight maintenance habits and balanced lifestyle choices.”

Ideal Protein is available at more than 3,000 medical establishments in the United States and Canada.

Just Breathe

Another weight loss clinic new to the market is Medi Weightloss on Houma Boulevard, which opened in March 2015.

“We focus a lot on nutritional education and do not use pre-packaged food. We deal in real life and help people make healthy choices that are based on real world situations,” says Shelly Minkin office manager at Medi Weightloss. “We teach them how, when and where to eat, as well as fitness options, and encourage them to journal each week.”

Etre says demand has really picked up for non-invasive cosmetic procedures even since the center’s opening last December.

The company says patients have collectively lost approximately 10,259 pounds in the year since the clinic has been open. Some individuals have lost in excess of 100 pounds.

“We use the ReeVue machine to screen for abnormally low metabolic rates and pinpoint the precise caloric intake required for weight loss, maintenance, or weight gain,” Minkin explains. “Basically, individuals are hooked up for 10 minutes; they breathe into the machine and it tells us their calorie breakdown—specifically what they should eat—and it looks at how their body burns everything.”  

Not just for adults, the company also has a new adolescent program for 13 to 17-year-olds.

Demand for Non-Invasive Options Increasing

According to Dr. Kyle Coleman, a dermatologist with the Etre Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser Center, as with most markets in the country, people in New Orleans are increasingly looking for treatments that are non-invasive but effective.  

“Since opening last December, Etre has seen growth in both the non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments we provide,” he says. “However, the non-invasive treatments are growing at a much faster pace. We have extensive experience in body-contouring techniques like liposuction, laser liposuction and Cellulaze, as well as non-invasive body contouring like Kybella.”

Cellulaze is a minimally invasive treatment designed to create a long-lasting improvement in cellulite. It is almost entirely aimed at women since up to 95 percent of all women have some degree of cellulite. Cellulaze uses of a laser fiber placed under the skin to reduce cellulite; most patients experience swelling, bruising and tenderness for about one to two weeks.

Kybella is a non-invasive injectable treatment for the long-lasting reduction of fat under the chin. It can be used on men or women of all ages to reduce fat and improve facial profiles. Kybella is injected into the fat under the chin and results in slight swelling of the area and some mild bruising or numbness. Both are outpatient procedures, with Cellulaze taking about three hours to administer and Kybella about 20 to 30 minutes per treatment.

“Cellulaze has been available since 2012, and we have been personally performing the treatment at our practices for more than three years,” Coleman says. “Kybella is a newcomer to the market; it was approved by the FDA in 2015, and we have been involved in both the clinical trials, as well as serving as trainer for the product.

“The most important thing to know about fat reduction and body-contouring procedures is that every person is different,” he adds. “There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every patient should be evaluated as to what would be best for them. At Etre, we recommend that patents seek an opinion from a board-certified physician who performs both non-invasive, as well as invasive techniques; be wary of promises that are too good to be true and seek second opinions.”



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