'Lunchtime Lipo': Lightning-Fast Procedure Lets Patients on Break Lose Muffin Tops, but Is It Safe?

Laser-assisted liposuction technique is fast and minimally invasive.

ByJuju Chang and Nick Capote
May 13, 2013, 5:40 PM

May 13, 2013— -- Who wouldn't want Angelina Jolie's stunning arms, Jessica Biel's small waist or Beyonce's, well, anything? And what if you could get those seemingly flawless red carpet results over your lunch break?

Dr. Aaron Rollins, a liposuction expert based in Los Angeles, claims he can help mere mortals look like Hollywood's starlets with his own patented laser-assisted liposuction technique.

"We oftentimes have people coming in with pictures from various magazines and they want to look like their favorite celebrity's arms or their waist," Rollins said.

Though he won't name names, Rollins is a self-proclaimed "lipo doctor to the stars." Come award season, he said, celebrities flock to his Beverly Hills office when they need fat removed fast.

"You can only fit the dress to the body so much, and then you have to fit the body to the dress," he said.

Rollins claims his technique is much safer and more precise than the crude fat extraction of years past. Indeed, his approach is so minimally invasive that patients remain awake during the procedure and can even return to work when it is over, earning Rollins' procedure the nickname "Lunchtime Lipo."

Rollins, the founder of Elite Body Sculpture who went to medical school at McGill University in Montreal, considers himself an artist, and the human body is his canvas.

"I tell people this is 90 percent art and 10 percent medicine," Rollins said. "When someone asked Michelangelo how he did create the statue of David, he said, 'I just removed the stone that didn't belong.' And in my case, I'm just removing the fat that doesn't belong."

Blanca Ramirez, one of Rollins' regulars, comes in for appointments during her lunch break from work at a nearby doctor's office. Over the years, Rollins has sculpted her chin and carved fat from her stomach. When "Nightline" was visiting, Ramirez was back to rid herself of a trouble spot that had plagued her since childhood.

"No matter how much I diet or exercise, I feel that my arms don't trim down," Ramirez said. "[The goal is] to look good in tank tops, bikini, and anything, all of my clothes. It will be a quick fix. A jump start."

In the time it takes to do one long workout -- or take a leisurely lunch -- Ramirez's arms received the full lipo treatment in just 45 minutes. A canister on the floor quickly filled with her fat cells, about enough to fill a soda can. Shortly afterwards, she was headed back to her keyboard to finish her afternoon at work.

Later, Rollins went to work on the face of another patient, Jamie Stone. The 30-year-old L.A.-based blogger never had lipo before, but she said she always hated her chin and now that her blog has gotten more exposure, she hoped Rollins could help enhance her online profile photos.

For Stone's procedure, she received a hit of laughing gas to take the edge off, then Rollins numbed the puncture point and broke out the fat-melting laser. Stone said she could only feel a vibration.

Rollins said it has taken him more than 5,000 procedures to prefect his technique, and now he can comfortably work on just about any part of the body: Stomachs, thighs, butts, almost anything. Recovery time varies from a few days to a few weeks.

This quick fix doesn't come cheap. Rollins usually charges between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the procedure. But he claims his patients do not keep returning to him for continuous quick fixes.

"Most of the people who come here have had a problem area ... since puberty. We're talking a decade or more," he said. "So no, I think it's actually more of a self-help kind of thing, where people are ready to move on with their life and change something that's bothered them for a long time."

Rollins acknowledges that "Lunchtime Lipo" can come with risks, but he claimed that the chance of infection or complication using his method are roughly equivalent to what a patient could contract after getting a tooth pulled. Critics warn that if used improperly, laser-assisted lipo can carry a high risk of deformity.

"There is no such thing as doing anything to the body without risk especially making permanent change like this," Rollins said. "People have died from liposuction, and to the best of my knowledge, the vast majority of complications with liposuction have happened with older techniques, for example, under general anesthesia, which has its own factors and complications."

Aside from the obvious physical change, Rollins claims that instant fat removal can be a big self-esteem booster and even motivate people to change their lifestyle habits.

"Suddenly your arms are beautiful and skinny it's very encouraging," he said. "And you want go to the gym even though you're tired after work and you're excited about your results and want more."

But he said he is always looking for the next challenge.

"I try not to bring my work home with me, OK? But occasionally when I'm driving, I see a double chin, and I'm just like, 'Oh, please. I really just need you to come in and let me take care of that,' Rollins said. "It probably really bothers them. And I could take care of it. And they probably don't know that 20 minutes later they could be rid of that forever."

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