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Dr. Pastrick's Blog: CoolSculpting can offer alternative for problem areas

Gregory H. Pastrick • Sep 4, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Some of the newest technology we have available at our office is designed to decrease areas of body fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. It’s called "Coolsculpting by Zeltiq."

I’m very excited about this procedure because it is scientifically proven to reduce areas of bulging fat on the abdomen, flanks (love handles), and back or bra roll, but does not require surgery and has zero down time.

If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you know I’m not the type of doc who jumps on bandwagons when it comes to the "latest and greatest" devices frequently hyped by the media, because I know how to sift through the falsities and focus on the science as to what works and what doesn’t. I’m not into making people promises I can’t keep.

Coolsculpting works through cryolypolosis, which is the scientific term for cooling down the fat cells to the point at which they die. Death by freezing. The machine that performs this procedure in medical offices is very well-designed to not damage the overlying skin (so don’t try it at home).

Basically, the way it works is that you come into the office, and the device is applied to an area of fat that you want to reduce. The tissue is compressed between two cooling plates for one hour, as to which I can personally attest is virtually painless. (Of course, I’m going to try it out!)

You can read, make phone calls, watch TV, listen to music, or simply take a nap while you're lying down by yourself for the treatment in our private Coolsculpting room.

When it’s over, the intelligent machine will actually page me or the nurse to come in and turn it off or to start the next site. That’s it. You walk out. It's simple and effective. No anesthesia, no cutting, no pain, no garment, no downtime. Awesome.

You may get slight bruising, swelling, and skin numbness for a few days. It takes a couple of months to see the results as your body has to clear out the dead fat cells, but you won’t shed a tear for the deceased in this case.

Obviously, this isn’t for everyone. It’s best for those who are within their ideal body weight, but just have a few stubborn areas that need to be reduced. It isn’t as effective in reducing the fat as liposuction and, typically, you can expect about 20 percent reduction in the treated area with one treatment, but more for multiple treatments.

For those who maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and regular exercise, this is perfect. But it’s also a good option for those who may not be as dedicated or may be too busy and don’t want surgery.

Gregory H. Pastrick, M.D., is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He practices at The Plastic Surgery Center, located at 1 Sheridan Square, Suite 200, Kingsport, Tenn. Check out all of his services at www.theplasticscenter.com or call 423-392-4884

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