Third-party testing and analysis of a relative newcomer to the non-invasive body contouring marketplace has revealed problematic technology and flawed apparatus. The “i-Lipo” low-laser fat reduction system by Chromogenix Technologies Ltd. was proven to be replete with construction issues that resulted in inadequate performance.
i-Lipo™ is a new system that uses low level lasers for the temporary reduction of cellulite, fat reduction, and body shaping treatments. The i-lipo uses photobiomodulation to stimulate the body’s natural process for releasing stored content in the adipose cells.
Technology & Construction:
The i-Lipo features 4 paddles attached to a portable main base unit. Each paddle features 9 laser diodes and 2 touch activation sensors.
Pros: Chromogenex has well-addressed treatment safety. The i-Lipo has designed an effective safety interlock system allowing safe and immediate “system off” override should the need arise. Client safety should not be a concern with this device.
Cons: Chromogenex has invested much its marketing dollars on the premise that this device offers effective results at a reduced cost (the i-Lipo device retails at the low end of the spectrum in the LLLT market). However, the decrease in price comes at a manufacturing cost. For starters, the machines are improperly powered using an RJ45 connector (or phone jack) instead of a more robust power cable source. The paddles used for treatment have an inherent design flaw in that they use a curved treatment face (the part that touches the body), while employing a flat PCB to mount the diodes in the treatment interface. Thus, the diodes sit at differing distances from the curved treatment face and result in inconsistent treatment outcomes. Inconsistencies are compounded by the fact that each paddle contains two activation sensors that regulate activity based on skin contact. When paddles were placed on an uneven skin surface during our testing, or when the patient moved slightly, the sensors would deactivate, resulting in inconsistent treatment delivery. The reality is, most human bodies have more contoured versus flat surfaces, so these paddles do not offer much in terms consistent treatment value.
Perhaps the most unsettling flaw of the system is that the diode lasers are not shielded by a lens or aperture, leaving the lasers exposed to environmental pollutants such as dust and aerosols. Furthermore, it allows for deposits on the facets of the diode, which in turn leads to absorption of radiation, localized heating, and destruction of the diodes.
A final note is that upon closer inspection of the i-Lipo fabrication, it should be noted that the device uses injection moulding and populated PCB boards from Asia as well as Japanese Mitsubishi ML101J21 diodes, without the benefit of lenses. Although the Chromogenex states manufacturing from the UK, however all indications suggest that a majority of the parts used are in fact Asian.
Pros: 4 paddles allow for greater coverage area per treatment in most treatment areas. Initial treatments did reflect nominal inch-loss, but nothing close to the 30% decrease promoted on the ilipo.com website.
Cons: The technology issues cited above translate into performance issues once the machine is switched on. The i-Lipo provides an insufficient heat transfer and allows for heat losses so apparent that ambient (external) temperatures affect the performance of the equipment during treatment. The machine is unable to easily reach or maintain its optimal operating temperature – it takes a full 75 minutes to reach its steady state temperature, at which point there is a drastic decrease in output power. Independent third-party lab testing noted a 41% power loss within four minutes of turning on the paddle.
The i-Lipo by Chromogenex has entered into a very competitive laser market boasting similar claims as its conpetitors, yet with a significantly lower price tag. After detailes analysis, the conclusion is that this smaller price tag has come at a very significant cost. Insufficient power sources, compromised diode technology and inadequate construction can only mean disappointing results. With inconsistent, underpowered application of low-level laser technology, the i-Lipo device does little but cast doubts on the legitimacy of this laser’s ability to compete with its established competitors and deliver the results patients have come to expect from today’s body contouring devices.