New procedure targets the most stubborn fat
Those who are basically in shape but just can’t seem to lose that love handle or saddle bag may be interested in a new treatment recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
It’s called CoolSculpting by its maker Zeltiq, a medical device company, and it doesn’t require the needles, anesthesia or downtime that liposuction may necessitate. Other countries in Europe and Canada have already approved the procedure.
The company says it can eliminate an average of 20 percent of the fat in a treated area. The technology was developed at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Craig A. Vander Kolk, a cosmetic surgeon at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, has seen a demonstration and believes it will be a good tool for doctors and their patients. He consults for Faces Med Spa in Timonium, which will offer the procedure, and he may buy an $80,000 machine to use at Mercy, too.
He said that it works by painlessly cooling underlying fat over an hour-long session in a process called Cryolipolysis. The process does not harm skin tissue because the fat cells are more sensitive to the cold. Several sessions may be necessary for the desired effects.
The cooled fat cells begin to die several weeks after a treatment. They shrink and disappear.
Vander Kolk says it’s not for everyone, especially obese people.
“The key with all of this body shaping, contouring and fat treatments is getting the right patient with the right procedure done by the right person,” he said. “You’ll get the best result.”
He said a person who can pinch an inch and a half of fat could see a quarter of it melted away over the sessions – enough to drop a pant size, but not a large amount. Liposuction, by comparison, can take off three quarters of the fat in one sitting.
The four to six treatments are likely to cost $500-$700 for an area. Liposuction is more like $1,000-$1,500.
Whatever the treatment, he said, "the goal is a happy patient."
Photo courtesy of Zeltiq