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Brrrrrrr — Is freezing fat as effective as lipo?

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Posted at 11:07 AM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 13:07:29-05

star-sponsored-nativeThe following is sponsored by University of Utah Health Care.

By Elizabeth Renda

Ever heard of “spot reduction” when it comes to targeting fat? Workout gurus insist it only takes hard work and dedication to finally sweat away that kangaroo pouch or muffin top. One more side crunch or burpee, they insist, and that 6-pack will finally pop.

But what if you’re in good shape, you’ve done all you can to attack problem areas, and the fat still won’t budge?

Many people in search of a noninvasive solution are opting to freeze away their fat in hard-to-tone places, said David Smart, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist at University of Utah Health Care. It sounds futuristic, but how effective is it really?

“Results that were usually limited to surgical intervention can now be treated with potentially little to no discomfort, and a patient can go about their business immediately afterward,” Smart said.

One method is called CoolSculpting. It banishes fat while requiring no needles, knives or downtime — and Smart believes it’s a game changer.

The treatment, which takes about an hour per site, works by exploiting fat cells’ weakness to cold. The cells themselves are more fragile to chilly temperatures so by selectively cooling the skin, the cells can be targeted without harming the surrounding tissue.

After the fat cells are damaged through cooling applied by firm suction, it takes about 90 days for the fat to shrink and disappear. Results are noticeable in one treatment, and further sessions may enhance the outcome.

Once the fat cells are gone, they’re gone for good.

“This is a permanent change,” Smart said. “As long as a healthy lifestyle is maintained, the patient will see long-lasting results.”

Of course, the procedure isn’t for everybody. Patients must be able to grab at least an inch of fat in stubborn areas to be candidates. Moreover, freezing fat shouldn’t be seen as a shortcut to weight loss.

“If you’ve just started your weight loss journey, freezing fat cells may be a better option down the line,” Smart said. “You’ve worked hard to be healthy, crossed the finish line, and are just taking a victory lap. The overall goal is helping people to achieve self confidence and feel good in their skin.”

To learn more about options for eliminating unwanted fat, visit the University’s Dermatology Services website or call 801-581-2955.