This Sucks...

And When It Comes To Fat, That's A Good Thing. Alternative To Liposuction Offers A New Way To Fight The Bulge Without Surgery.

Coolsculpting may be a better option than liposuction for surgical fat reduction

While most of us hate to see summer slip away, we wouldn’t mind watching one ever-present summer remnant disappear—that little tummy bulge we witnessed every time we braved a swimsuit.

How, please tell, could your belly be like that when you’ve been eating right and doing crunches like crazy?!

A quick Internet search could lead you to a miracle-sounding solution: “CoolSculpting ...[a] unique, patented, clinically proven procedure involves freezing fat cells without damage to your skin. There’s no knife. No suction hoses. No needles. No lasers even. After your treatment, you get on with your busy day ... The fat cells are naturally eliminated from your body over the following few months, leaving you feeling more like yourself again.

It’s totally non-invasive, FDA-cleared, and there’s usually no downtime whatsoever,” reads part of the introduction at

Sounds perfect, right?

Dr. JoAnne Lopes, who offers CoolSculpting through her Virginia Beach Cosmetic Surgery Center, wouldn’t go that far, but she’s happy with the results she’s seeing. So is Dr. David
McDaniel, director of the Institute of Anti-Aging Research and an assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Both were trained by Zeltiq, the company that created CoolScultping, in August 2010. The Food and Drug Administration approved the system for fat removal that September.

To start the procedure, the doctors place one of three different sized applicators, a kidney-shaped rubber pad with two cooling plates, on the body.

“The fat between the two areas gets sucked up,” explains Lopes.

McDaniel has seen the best results when the patient’s treated area is gently but firmly kneaded by medical staff after the procedure.

Over time, the fat cells that were targeted dissolve into the body. “This happens slowly,” Lopes continues, “so there’s no sudden impact on your body or your health.”

The medical term for this fat dissolution is “apoptosis.”

The benefits of CoolSculpting, compared to liposuction, include: No incisions are made. Patients experience no down time.

A special compression garment to assist with recovery is not required as it is with liposuction. Known as cryolipolysis, the process was developed in 2005 by Drs. Dieter Manstein and R. Rox Anderson at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Wellman Center in Boston, a teaching arm of Harvard Medical School.

Their promotional materials say, “On average, each CoolSculpting procedure results in a 20 percent reduction of fat in the treated areas, and patients can start to see results as soon as three weeks following treatments, with the most dramatic results occurring over a period of two to four months.”

Dr. McDaniel says the key is to select the right patient.

“This is for the yoga teacher with a little pouch. She has low body fat and is athletic,” he notes. “Say the patient can pinch four inches of fat,” says Lopes. “I’m going to lean toward surgery (liposuction) instead.”

Prices are in the $600 to $700 range for each medium-sized application, and the procedure takes about an hour. There’s no harm in having several applications, but if they are truly necessary, it might be more cost effective to consider other procedures better suited to the person’s body shape. Some patients want two applications on the same area, and they can safely do so after waiting two months from the first one.

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