Hundreds of thousands of people undergo liposuction every year to get rid of unwanted fat.
Now there’s a new FDA-approved process to get rid of fat by freezing it off.
The procedure is called “Coolsculpting” and Skin Specialists of San Antonio is now offering it.
"It's non-invasive, there's no risk of infection, there's no risk of bleeding, there's no risk of pulmonary emboli like there is in liposuction." said dermatologist Dr. Nicole Owens, with Skin Specialists of San Antonio.
Coolsculpting is a specially created machine that can suck fat to the surface of the skin and freeze it.
"Our fat cells freeze much more easily than our skin cells, so we can selectively target the fat cells in an area, and over time our body will discard the damaged fat cells that we've frozen," Owens said.
Coolsculpting works by freezing the fat. The machine regulates the temperature to make sure there's no damage to your skin.
“People who get caught out in extreme cold can get frost-bite, and that’s what an ice pack can do to your skin. This procedure has a specially made gel coating that is placed on the area treated, and the temperature is carefully controlled to make sure the fat freezes but the skin isn’t damaged," Owens said.
Patsy Lomas decided to have her belly Coolsculpted.
“I just wanted something to get rid of this stubborn fat and I didn’t want an invasive procedure or have to worry about missing work,” Lomas said.
When the gel coating was placed on her stomach, she felt it, but says it didn’t hurt.
"I don't feel anything, it just feels cold." Lomas said.
She said she did feel a tugging as the applicator from the machine started to suck the skin and pull the fat to the surface. But Lomas said it was not painful. She then had to sit and wait while the fat was frozen.
The procedure takes an hour.
"I get to play on my phone, surf the net, call whoever I want, so it goes by pretty fast." Lomas said.
Because the machine lifts fat to the surface, what looks like a stick of butter is seen when it’s over. That fat is massaged back into the body and over time it will be gone for good.
"If we remove the fat cells, they can't regenerate so that's an area that can't store more fat," Owens said.
Like in liposuction, the fat won’t return to the spot treated, but if the patient gains weight, it will be distributed to other parts of the body.
The cost is between $800 and $1,500 for one body area treatment.
For more information on Coolsculpting, visit www.skinsgsa.com.