LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (CBS) — If you can’t diet or exercise away your body fat, maybe now you can freeze it off.
As CBS 2’s Susan Carlson reports, a new procedure is becoming more popular at Chicago area doctors’ offices to get rid of unwanted fat, and unlike liposuction, it’s not invasive and there’s no downtime.
The process is called Zeltiq, and it promises to freeze away 20 to 25 percent of the fat in areas such as love handles or bulgy bellies, without incisions.
“We’ve had about 130 patients who have completed at least one treatment and so far we haven’t had anybody who didn’t see any results,” said Dr. Amy Taub of Advanced Dermatology in Lincolnshire.
Among those patients is Betsy Dunk, who had the treatment before and went down a pants size, and is now coming back for more. She sought out to get rid of some excess fat in her lower belly.
The procedure begins with the application of a gel pad, which protects the skin. Cooling plates are located inside an applicator, which is positioned directly over the targeted area.
“There’s an incredibly strong vacuuming, pulling sensation,” Dunk said as she underwent the procedure.
The mildly uncomfortable sensation disappears after about five minutes when the area becomes numb.
“The cold is actually cooling the fat so much that the lipids, which are molecules of fat inside the cell, crystallize,” Dr. Taub explained.
The procedure takes about 60 minutes. Afterward, her skin feels frozen on her belly, but she says the cold is tolerable and the discomfort is “probably a 2” on a scale of 1 to 10.
There’s no downtime, but the area may feel numb for a few weeks. The patient gradually and naturally eliminates the dead fat cells and sees the full result after about three months.
Michelle Thomas had the treatment in February, and said it “absolutely” worked.
“It was great for that stubborn pouch that no matter how many crunches I did it, just wouldn’t go away,” Thomas said. “
“I is really one of those things that sounds too good to be true, and I would say that this procedure is almost as revolutionary as botox,” Dr. Taub said.
The procedure costs anywhere from $600 to $1,400 per area, per treatment.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Zeltiq last fall. So far, there have been 60,000 procedures performed worldwide with no serious complications.
Other possible side effects include bruising, tenderness or cramping.