Can You Freeze Away Your Belly Fat?

A new device promises fat loss without surgery, diets or exercise. FOF investigates.

When we first heard about Coolsculpting at the FOF offices, there was one resounding response from our staff: “Sounds too good to be true.”

The claim: A new, non-surgical procedure can actually “freeze” away your fat cells. No dieting, cutting, anesthesia or recovery time. Just an hour in your doctor’s office, hooked up to a non-invasive “Coolsculpting” machine. Then, watch your fat slowly melt away.

But over the last few months, several doctors we trust have praised the procedure, so we felt compelled to investigate.

What we discovered: “Coolscupting” technology was created by Zeltiq, a global medical device company. It’s based on a process called Cryolipolysis, developed by two researchers at Harvard Medical School. These doctors demonstrated that fat cells are more susceptible to extreme cold than other cells and can be selectively destroyed without damaging the overlying skin. During “Coolsculpting,” a machine cools a targeted area of a patient’s body. Within several days of receiving the procedure, cooled fat cells begin a process called apoptosis (natural cell death) and begin to shrink and disappear. Clinical trials showed an average 20-percent reduction in fat in the treated area within 16 weeks.

Here, two doctors who have performed the procedure, and a patient who’s tried it, answer our most pressing questions. Read what they have to say, and tell us, would you try it?

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Expert testimony: Dr. Debra Jaliman, dermatologist, American Academy of Dermatology spokesperson and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist

“I’m a doctor and a patient–I used it on myself.  I read all the studies; it sounded good, so I bought the machine for my practice. Before I used it on anyone else, I used it on my own back fat. Afterward I kept pinching my back, and I didn’t notice a difference–6 weeks, 12 weeks. I started to panic. But then at 16 weeks, there was nothing to pinch….it had totally worked. It was amazing.”

Does it hurt?
I didn’t find it painful, but people say I’m the exception. My patients do say they feel pressure–intense suction for the first 7 minutes. Some people find it unpleasant, and after you may have a bruise or a red spot and feel sore for a few weeks. Some people get cramping while the fat is dissolving.

Who do you think is a good candidate for this procedure?

Someone who takes care of herself and maintains a healthy weight, but has stubborn fat she can’t get rid of.


Who is not a good candidate?
Someone who doesn’t have enough fat. You have to have at least “an inch to pinch” we tell patients. Or someone who has too much fat. This isn’t for someone who is 80-90 pounds overweight. Also, it’s not right for someone with loose skin or lack of skin elasticity. This procedure only removes fat cells, so if you have droopy skin from age or weight loss, this procedure won’t help you.”

How many times do you need to have it done?
We normally recommend 1-2 treatments, depending on the person. We’re very careful about recommending a certain number of treatments, in writing, right at the start so that people don’t get upset when they need a second treatment.

How much is each treatment?
About $750 for the belly, and $750 per side for love handles.

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Expert testimony:  Dr. Jon Mendelsohn, Medical Director of Advanced Cosmetic and Laser Center, Cincinnati, OH

“I’ve been using the machine in my practice for 16 months. I tested it on several people in my office and on my own abdominal area.”

 

Did it hurt?
On a scale of 1-10, it’s a 2-4. The suction did make me say, “oh my god” at first, and for several days after the area was hypersensitive.

Who is the best candidate for this procedure?
Someone who has realistic expections.  A typical patient will lose about 20-30 percent of their fat, as opposed to 80-90 percent which is what we can offer with liposuction. Lipo offers more volume, but of course, that’s an invasive, surgical procedure with recovery time. There’s no recovery time for this.

Would this be good for an FOF women, who, for example, has gained weight in her midsection during menopause?

Yes–definitely. This is not for the 350-pound person. It’s for the person who is at a pretty good weight, but has stubborn belly fat, love handles or back fat.

Are there any dangers or side effects? Is it safe to have that fat just dying off in your body?
It’s really no different than what your body would have to process if you ate some french fries. The liver breaks down the fat and you excrete it over time. If you had serious liver disease we would have to take that into consideration, but no, it’s not dangerous.

Have you had unsatisfied patients?
Generally, patients are very pleased. The only patients who aren’t happy are the ones with unrealistic expectations–they expected more extreme results. At this point, we’ve gotten very good at identifying good candidates. There will always be doctors who choose to treat anyone, whether or not he or she is a good candidate, and that’s when people get upset.

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Expert testimony: Becky Neiheisel, age 62, Cincanniti, OH, Coolsculpting patient.

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When and why did you have this procedure?
I did CoolSculpting this past July, becuase I wanted to get rid of some excess fat on my waist, back and thighs. I’d had liposuction a number of years ago, and I remember it being very painful and uncomfortable for quite a while afterward.  With this they said, ‘you come in for an hour, there’s no surgery, and there’s no pain afterward.’

So it didn’t hurt for you?
The only discomfort is very minor. While you’re having it done they clamp a suction cup on your body and try to grab as much of the fatty area as they can. Then it starts freezing the area.  At first it’s a little cold, but then it gets numb and you don’t feel anything. The biggest challenge is figuring out how to kill the hour.

How long before you saw results?
I saw a little after 2-2.5 months. But I didn’t see full results until about 4 months. I was absolutely astounded at the difference in 4 months. My husband started telling me how great I looked in my clothes. I lost about ½ inch around my waist and around each thigh. The area that’s been most impressive is my back. Before, I hated putting on my bra and seeing that little bit of fat bulge over the top of the straps in the back. I had stopped wearing all my thin knit tops because of it. I’m wearing them all again. The bulge is completely gone. I look 10 years younger from the back.

Have you recommended it to friends?
Yes, I recommended it to my son’s girlfriend, who asked me about it.

You are obviously happy with the results, but can you imagine someone who wouldn’t be?

To me it’s one of the neatest thing to come around in a long time. But, if you’re a rather impatient person–if you want to see results immediately, you won’t like it. You do have to wait.

Were there any negatives for you?

I’m always a little skeptical. When something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not. But I really didn’t have any negatives.  Other than I forgot a book one time when I went in for the treatment and they had to turn on the TV for me.  I’m thrilled with the results.

So what do you think FOFs, considering the price, results, and everything else, is this something you’d consider?

  • I do think you can. But, I don’t think you can achieve the same results as you would with advance equipment. I’ve heard really good ones about this one: http://bit.ly/2oTObPd Have you heard anything?

  • Mark Patterson

    I got my fat loss at home by using blue fat freeze system for 1 hour daily and without doing a single exercise. But i did maintain healthy eating with it as there is no replacement for that.

    • Danial Bay

      This blue fat freeze system looks interesting. I’ll consult my doctor about it.

  • Amelia Mckenzie

    I started doing yoga but due to busy work routine, i couldn’t sustain it for long. So i brought home blue fat freeze system which has so far helped me lose 3 inches around my waist in 2 months. But consult a doctor before using this kit as its not effective for every one and a certain body structure is required.

  • Amelia Mckenzie

    It worked for me as i used blue fat freeze system (https://fatfreezesystem.com) at home and lost 3 inches around my waist in 2 months. But consult a doctor before using this kit as its not effective for every one and a certain body structure is required.

  • MikeLeyva

    fat freezing is essential to look good in shape,for more information visit this ; http://catchyscoop.com/how-much-does-coolsculpting-cost/

  • Dee

    I went in for a consultation at Ideal Image as I thought ok, 750 would be worth it. I am about 15 lbs over weight and when they measured me and gave me the 21k quote I about fell out of my chair. Just the belly alone was 9k. They were to do 2 rounds on each area, so not sure how 750 x 2 on my belly = 9k.

  • Pensee

    Don’t think she means circumference, but rather flap as measured by pinching. Had it done 2 months ago on my belly. Lost 4 cm so far from my waist and 5 from lower belly. Will wait another 2 months for final results, but am considering a second treatment or another area. It is much cheaper now. Got an offer for 500 EUR for 5 treatments. Will check out the home kit mentioned here as well.

  • chirokathy

    I’m volunteering to be the test guinea pig. I have been looking at the Asrai’s Touch home system and I want to see if I can do it myself without buying the kit. So here goes. Their site recommends 2-3 home treatments per week 20 minutes each treatment. They use their special “cooling gel”. I am going to use Biofreeze and good, moldable, refreezable ice packs. Biofreeze is less than $10 a tube. I have two BIG ice packs. They are $16 each. I will fashion a stretchy band to hold it on in case that makes a difference.

    FYI: DON’T THINK – ‘if some is good; more is better’ – IT’S NOT. More than 20 minutes on ice may damage the other tissues.

    I’ll post as I go along. It’s sounds like you don’t see the total results until after a number of months.

  • Vmiller

    I did 3 treatments with Asrai’s home fat freezing kit and lost 1.5 inches off my thighs, I guess it would take 4 or more treatments of coolsculpting. The nice thing about Asrais touch fat freezing is you buy it once and use for life. Plus you can use it on your husband.

  • Liz

    Is there a one month rest period between treatments on the same spot?
    Is it normal to be recommended to have 4 treatments on the same spot, like the back of the thigh?
    Is it alright to freeze the fats in the tummy, love handles and legs in one treatment?

  • Vijayashree

    My question is after the treatment should I diet and suppose if I eat normally what is used to ,will the weight gain again?

  • No doubt that liposuction is the pretty easiest way of loosing fat but not for all and i really like reading that part of the post. because, i noticed some MD’s try to avoid or better say Hide that part. so, its important to keep the risk factor in mind When taking the decision to undergo such a procedure it is recommended to compare the benefits with the potential risks and complications. Hence, all patients must be informed on all the risks they are exposing themselves to.

    ~Aansy Stone
    http://solunamiami.com

  • I still don’t understand where the fat goes after it gets frozen out of the fat cell. Also, after the fat cell dies do you have less fat cells overall? Do the fat cells you have left do double duty and store more to make up for the loss?

  • TwistBarbie

    I’m still skeptical. The last testimonial says after 4 months she was “astounded” at having lost a half inch in the waist? That could easily be a slight difference in how she is holding or pulling the tape measure, or even water loss. Also, I have lost 2 inches in my waist over the last 4 months from eating well and exercising, plus I get the benefit of better health. 1/2 inch difference is not worth spending $750 on to me.

  • giam can nang

    Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It actually was a amusement account it. Look complicated to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we be in contact?

  • karen

    i purchased a coolsculpting machine on ebay this morning. it was $2800 with free delivery. i cancelled the appointment i had made earlier at a local medspa for 3 areas of coolsculpting for $2600.00. im excited to try it on myself and my husband. it seemed like a no brainer to purchase my own machine for the same price that i would have paid for only 3 treatments. now I can have unlimited treatments for hopefully a long time.

    • heather

      Karen, can you tell me what your results were and what machine you bought. I am considering buying one also and would love any info you can provide. Thanks for your help.

  • kathy hopkins

    Fat freezing does work, I lost 12 pounds of fat and I mean just the fat. I feels great, but it was a home kit. It’s call asrai’s touch, I like it better because I can control the when, where and how to use it. For less than $100, it’s an amazing deal.

  • edward

    Does this work on heavy people like 345 pounds like the freeze fat

  • edward

    Does this work on heavy people like 345 pounds

  • Marcelle Cole

    The price is workable and based on what the above professional/ patients claim it would be something I would consider for sure. It would be the ideal type of service that could be bundled into a package deal at some of the anesthetician/ spa businesses. I can see my belly fat going away now!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cynthia Chambers

    I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I would be willing to try the procedure if Dr. Mendelsohn would be willing to use it on me for free. I am a woman, post menopausal, who is having big trouble with belly fat, back fat, side fat. I am also on a budget of $0.00. Having health problems not able to work at this time, waiting on legal issues, no insurance. I would love the opportunity to try and get rid of the fat. It’s stressful to look at along with all the stress I’m under. Dr. Mendelsohn, will you help me?

    • Dr Troy

      Lol are you serious sweetheart?… stop playing the victim and change your life

  • Joan Sims

    As long as there are no harmful side effects I would love to try this– Too afraid to do liposuction and losing that fat by dieting will take so long that it becomes discouraging for those of us who have thyroid issues as well. It would certainly give you a head start and then one could work on the remainder through diet and exercise.

  • etangel18

    I would love to try this method. I had lipo a few years ago and it was painful. I am not overweight but the midsection did not reduce as I had wanted I would love to try this on my midsection.

  • wetc87

    As there are no serious side effects I would consider this option. I will not do liposuction – scary.
    Just have to work on my budget, which is easier said than done.

  • Elisse

    Where do I sign up??? YES Iam interested an I’m going to do some research to find out where I can have it done!

  • Becky

    After reading this; Id like to find out a bit more from people who have had this done to get more feedback. And if it still sounds like what I’ve read here,my next step would be to find out where to get this done by the most qualified Dr. in my area. The price I can deal with as well as the time to see results. Menopause has not been good to my belly no matter how much yoga and body conditioning I do!

  • Becky

    This sounds like this is what I’d like to get done to myself after reading what you printed above, but I’d like some more feedback than this to make a decision on doing this procedure and paying this kind of money. I have the patience to wait for the results, and I do yoga and body conditioning regularly. menopause has added more belly fat than I can work off. Finding a Dr. who has a really good following in this procedure is also important to me. P.S. I don’t think I could ever do lipo.!

  • Pingback: Fashion Flash | Menopause Makeover | The Ultimate Guide to Taking Control of Your Health and Beauty during Menopause()

  • merrittinmartinez

    I still don’t understand where the fat goes after it gets frozen out of the fat cell. Also, after the fat cell dies do you have less fat cells overall? Do the fat cells you have left do double duty and store more to make up for the loss?

    • Nelrac

      The same place it goes when you work out – it turns to waste. Thats why you should drink lots of water to help it “flow” ut 😉

  • Jbwilson

    This almost sounds to good to be true. How does this effect other cells around it. Does it kill the whole cell or change it’s structure ? All cells do more then just carry fat in them so what about the other things that cells do since your killing the cell? Will Insurance over this or is it out of your own pocket? I would love a major News Company ex.(Fox News- with John Stossel) to do a story on this. How long before we hear about the good and bad of this?

  • ktpotat

    sounds to good to be true but it would never fit into my budget

  • Garrett Dent

    I want this

  • CAROL

    I think it would be fabulous a little pricey for me, but I think it is a great option. I will be looking into it!
    Thanks for the info and Happy new year

  • Frasier5

    I travel to Cincinnati to see family, in fact going March 7th. I would love to try this procedure on my back and belly. Hope it is not too expensive…but I do know you pay for what you get.