Freeze Your Fat Off
Fox News, August 10, 2012

Dr. Copeland weighs in on the benefits of Zerona vs. other noninvasive slimming techniques.

Want to lose that stubborn fat without going under the knife? CoolSculpting might be for you. The quick, FDA-approved procedure works by freezing a targeted area of fat though a non-invasive applicator, while leaving the outside layers of your skin unaffected.

Dr. Joseph Eviatar of Chelsea Eye & Cosmetic Surgery walked us through the process.

How does it work?

Your doctor will place a device on the target areas that pulls the fat bulges in between two cooling panels in order to freeze the fat cells beneath the skin. The treatment takes about an hour, depending on the area that is being treated.

Who is it for?

Dr. Eviatar told us CoolSculpting is ideal for “anyone who has exercise-resistant, unwanted bulges of fat.” While almost anyone could be considered a candidate for the procedure, Dr. Eviatar said the current applicators are only intended to treat pockets of fat on areas such as the flanks or lower and upper abdomen.

Is it effective?

According to Dr. Eviatar, “most patients experienced between 20 and 25 percent reduction of fat in the treatment site.” While it takes about two to four months to see a noticeable reduction from CoolSculpting, the end results are said to be long-term and are "ideally maintained by healthy eating and exercising." If you gain a considerable amount of weight after the procedure, the weight will be evenly distributed to the remaining fat cells in the body. "If there are less fat cells in the treated area, the re-emergence of fat in that area should be less as well," he added.

Where does the fat go? 

“Your body digests the dead fat cells and clears them through the lymphatic system like any other energy source,” Dr. Eviatar says.  Yes — you pee the fat out.  However, “No cases of painful urination or visible changes in the urine have been reported,” he said.

What are the risks?

Dr. Eviatar assured us “there are no long-term risks or complications associated with CoolSculpting," but there are common side effects including “temporary bruising and numbness in the area where the applicator was placed.” Some patients may experience “tightness or tingling in the area of treatment.” Both of these can last from several days to a few weeks.

How much does it cost?

Prices for CoolSculpting range from $750 and up per area (and each love handle is considered one area).

What else should I know?

Some doctors are more wary than others. Dr. Michelle Copeland, a New York City-based plastic surgeon, warns that CoolSculpting can leave a visible transition line from where the fat was frozen and where it was not, which she refers to as a “step off deformity.”

As a result, Copeland says she has not fully embraced the technique, but believes that over time the CoolSculpting technology will improve. Copeland says she has seen more success with a process called Zerona, which uses light energy to shrink fat cells. She prefers Zerona over CoolSculpting because “The results are almost immediate and the contour is natural.”