Freeze your way from flab to fab - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Freeze your way from flab to fab

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(11/10/11) - Freezing away fat, the FDA just approved the new technique to freeze away the fat, called cool-sculpting, which is a much less invasive alternative to liposuction.

Leslie Toldo got to check it out at a med-spa in Saginaw, one of the few sites in Michigan offering the procedure.

Choose your nightmare: A little muffin top, maybe some back fat, or "fluffy" arms, and Ziba Medical Spa may have your dream come true. Zeltiq is the chilly fat blaster known as CoolSculpting.

A little before picture, quick weight check and Erinn is well on her way to loosing a stubborn pocket of fat left behind after two c-sections.

Erinn's goal, "to have the flat belly, instead of the muffin top when you button jeans."

"Because Erinn's hip bones are farther apart, we can put the larger area on her," says Marcy Sturtz of spa Ziba.

Sturtz says the cool sculpting procedure can reduce fat by 20 to 40 percent in treated areas. "So, if you want 100 percent fat reduction, you're probably gonna need to do it three times. Some people don't have that much to do so one treatment is just fine."

Once Erinn is situated, and her skin is protected with a gel pad, it's time to get going. The CoolSculpting machine goes to work, sucking up a good two to three inches of Erinn's skin between two extremely cold cooling plates.

The pressure has been compared to a mammogram, and Erinn basically agrees, "Yeah, that's a little uncomfortable."

Her pain level on a scale of one to 10? "Maybe a 4 or 5," she said.

"This procedure, basically what it's doing, is it's freezing those fat cells. Over the next week or two, they're gonna burst, and get metabolized through her body," Marcy Sturtz said.

Erinn will stop feeling the discomfort from the procedure about two to three minutes into it. But, she probably will not see results for a good three weeks, if she's lucky. Full results are typically not seen for a good two to four months after the procedure. Not quite the immediate results you would have with liposuction.  

But, Marcy says, there is a trade-off. "The difference with liposuction is you are going to see results pretty much immediately after. The bad part is you have to undergo general anesthesia and there is downtime. Some people, I've heard,  it's six weeks down time. This are in you are out in one hour. No needles, no incisions, it's FDA approved. And, when it's over, you can go back to work, exercise, whatever you want to do."

For Lorraine Ruppel, the wait was worth the results. She says she has lost about two inches so far. "It's just so subtle. Have the treatment done and all of the sudden you feel better in your clothes. They're not pulling. Pockets aren't sticking out. It' makes you feel more comfortable."

Cool sculpting brings about subtle results. It is actually not recommended for obese patients or for large weight loss over, say, 50 pounds.

"We see a lot of women that have been through menopause and it's the last five, 10, 20 pounds that they just can't get off their mid-section. And it doesn't matter how much you change their workouts, their eating habits, nothing seems to work. So, we've had a lot of people come with that problem and they seem very happy with the results,"  Sturtz said.

Each session with the cool plates lasts one hour per area done. And, when we checked in with Erinn mid-way through her tummy session, she seemed happy. "I can barely feel it now. I can feel a lot of cold around my bellybutton, but it's OK."

After about a month, Erinn can do the treatment again on that same area. Today or any other day soon, she could have it done anywhere else she can pinch an inch.

"That extra little tummy bulge, we do back fat, bra fat, just all those little things that seem to happen with age and hormones, and whatever you happen to go through, whether it's a baby or what have you," Sturtz said.

At the end of Erinn's treatment, her skin comes out from between the cooling plates looking like a stick of red butter. The redness and the stick-of-butter look is easily rubbed away with a little massaging from Marcy.

It is likely Erinn will feel numb for a couple of days after her treatment. She may also be a little sore, Lorraine says. "It just felt numb. After a couple of weeks, it doesn't hurt at all, maybe a little tender, like a bruise maybe. Other than that, nothing, you would never know it."

Results truly vary with CoolSculpting. Ultimately, you don't have to eat a special diet or exercise, after you've had the procedure. But, having the fat blasted is not a license to pig out. If anything, CoolSculpting should be a supplement to a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Now, there is a large cooling plate and smaller sized plates, depending on the area you want done.  Small areas run around $700 per session. The large area,  that Erinn had done,  costs $1,400 per session. At least, those are the prices at Ziba Medical Spa.

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