New procedures use extreme temps to remove stubborn fat

Doctors say they've found a new way to zap fat cells -- freezing them!
November 26, 2013 8:57:28 AM PST
If you've dieted and exercised and still been frustrated by stubborn pockets of fat around the belly, thighs or arms, we have new information for you. There are new trends in defeating that fat: using heat to "melt" the fat and extreme cold to freeze the fat.

Since exercise and diet didn't erase her love handles, Angel Crawford chose heat.

"I love this much better than all of the sit-ups!" Crawford said.

The treatment is pretty simple; it basically uses heat from radio frequency, and on occasion, there may be a hot spot. It's called the Vanquish treatment and the goal is to heat the fat cells to 120 degrees.

"Which is a temperature hot enough to help permanently destroy those fat cells but her skin temperature really is never going to go above 100 or 101 degrees," said Dr. Chris Bailey, director of Ovation Med Spa.

"I saw the most difference around my waist and the pouch right here," Lori Rena said.

Rena had four treatments around her stomach.

"They worked for me. It did reduce inches off my waist, my jeans fit me so much better," she said.

"In theory, this is a very attractive way to melt the fat, if you will, and not harm the skin," plastic surgeon Dr. John Lomonaco said.

"But does it work?" we asked.

"There's no data to show that it does," he said.

Dr. Lomonaco says this and other new fat reducing technologies may be FDA approved, but need more medical studies to prove they work.

"Find a physician who is an expert and let them recommend a technology that best fits your needs, he said.

Six weeks and four treatments later, Crawford says she's happy with her results.

"I've lost an additional 2, 2-and-a-half inches in my waist. The pants are bigger, definitely gonna have to go get those taken in. And overall I love it," she said.

Vanquish treatments cost $2,600 for four 30-minute sessions.

What about freezing fat? Believe it or not, they're trying that too! It's called cool sculpting and the procedure takes about an hour.

"It was very cold when they put the suction on you, and then you have a little bit of tingling, a little cramping afterwards and a slight stinging or tingling sensation for probably about a week afterwards," said Elaine Wells, who's done the procedure.

Baylor dermatologist Dr. Ramsey Markus explains that the difference in cool sculpting and other fat treatments, is that the fat cells don't just shrink, but in this case, 20-40 percent of the cells that are frozen actually die.

"Like liposuction, it gets rid of fat cells permanently and that leads to a long term result," he said.

Fat freezing isn't used for weight loss but for stubborn fat on the abdomen, thighs and arms.

"Fat freezes much more easily than skin or muscle or other parts of the body. Only the fat is affected and the rest of the skin is cooled but not frozen," Dr. Markus said.

Dr. Markus says final results are seen in typically three or four months. The FDA-approved procedure ranges from $750 to $1,500.

Find Christi on Facebook at ABC13-Christi Myers or on Twitter at @ChristiMyers13


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