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New 'fat freezing' procedure gaining popularity

New 'fat freezing' procedure gaining popularity

By Loni Blandford. CREATED Feb 16, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - If you can't burn off the fat, how about freezing it? There's a new procedure that boasts it can kill fat cells for good, no surgery needed.

So, is going under the knife a thing of the past? It might not be the weight loss solution for everyone.

"I think my love handles have just ... they've been there forever," said Tim Ziegler.

"My babies aren't little anymore ... it sticks with you," said Ellen Keller.

If getting rid of that problem area by changing your diet or hitting the gym five days a week isn't working, you may be able to freeze it off, without setting foot into an operating room.

"It's pretty amazing," explained Dr. Samuel Sohn, a plastic surgeon.

The procedure is called coolsculpting and Dr. Sohn is one of a handful of plastic surgeons in the Las Vegas valley performing it.

Here's how it works: a patient's problem area is marked, a gel is put over it, and an applicator suctions the skin and fat.

Crystals form in the fat cells causing them to burst. About an hour later, patients go home with no recovery time needed.

"Typically with each treatment you would expect that an individual would have between 20% - 25% fat reduction per treatment," said Dr. Sohn.

Dr. Sohn has been offering coolsculpting at his Henderson office for about six months. He says patients see results in about three weeks. It's because of that time frame that he says the demand is increasing nationwide.

"It just smooths everything out and really finishes off all the hard work you're doing," said Ellen.

Tim teaches a spin class and says hours on the bike didn't give him the results he wanted. So he tried coolsculpting.

"I've lost almost three and a quarter inches around my waist," said Tim.

Dr. Sohn says with dropping numbers like that, patients then look at other areas of their body.

"Patients have tried just doing the abdominal area and coming back a few weeks later saying you know what that wasn't so bad, let's try doing the love handles instead," said Dr. Sohn.

Coolsculpting costs anywhere from $500 to $2,000. The procedure was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration last year.

As far as side effects, Dr. Sohn says some patients can experience redness and mild numbing in the treated areas. As with any procedure, everyone reacts differently so you just need to consult with your doctor.