I had an opportunity last week to try an new cosmetic procedure called "Cold Sculpting". It's basically a non-invasive sort of liposuction without the suction or painful recovery. The idea is that you grab your "little trouble area" between two cold plates and you freeze the fat cells to death without causing any injury to the tissue of the skin.
The process was apparently discovered in the 1950's when chubby cheeked kids that enjoyed frozen popsicles excessively where suddenly losing cheek fat. Fast forward to a few year ago, and cosmetic science has developed a trick to fix nagging flab by cold sculpting. Exposing your fat deposit to 1 hour of cold treatment, just one time, you can see reductions in fat of 25-30%.
To be a candidate and do really well with the process need to fit, fairly lean and looking to just lose those bits of flab that diet and exercise just don't seem to get. After losing 80 pounds and training for Ironman, there are still a few areas I will never get under control. The most popular areas for the treatment are the belly, love handles, inner thighs and what I am told is called the "bra bulge". I will leave the latter for the ladies to discuss.
Sounds good, right? I am a gamer. So, why not! Disclaimer - my father recently opened a laser clinic where he does things like photo facials, fractionals, tattoo and hair removal as well as other laser treatments. Cold Sculpting is a service he brings in from the outside by appointment from another provider. I was able to get my treatment for FREE as long I was willing to be treated in the middle of what was essentially a cocktail party. He had an open house for some clients and the community during which I and my "problem areas" were the main attraction. So, when you read my little tale, keep in mind that during my treatment I am wearing paper "Genie Pants", I am naked from the waist up, I have a machine latched onto my tummy and people are milling around drinking beer, wine and eating cold cuts. There was also music!
First order of business is the "Before Pictures". Here are two of the half dozen or so that where taken.
So, how does it work? First they mark the little area on my gut for placing the "unit" for lack of the technical name. Then they placed a wet, slimy sort if gauze paper on my stomach. This is really designed to get the "unit" a nice wet seal as it uses suction to grab belly fat and PULL it between the two near frozen paddles..
Here is the "unit" in action:
The hose that connects the unit to the "machine", again a highly technical term, holds the tubes that create suction and pull the fat in the unit as well hoses that are circulating super cold fluid that gets the paddles down to 2-4 degrees centigrade. For the curious, the "machine" actually looks like a cousin of R2D2's. A really cute little fellow.
When they first put the unit to my stomach, the drama is really building. What's gonna happen when they flip the switch?!? "Are you ready?" they ask. "Ready" I say. The operator hits a switch on the unit and then it's on! Wow. That little R2D2 machine packs a punch. The unit basically grabs two big ol' hand fulls of my tummy fat and SUCKS ME RIGHT INTO IT. It's a wild feeling. Suddenly the unit is locked on and its not going any place! It is didn't hurt at all, but there was a strange pull on my abdominal muscles, such as they are. It felt like doing some kind of an ab crunch. Then, like I am nursing mother, they slid a "boppi" onto my lap so unit can rest while it sucks my like a little robot baby hungry for belly fat.
I should remind everyone at this point, there are no holes in my skin, no cuts, no nothing. The unit is just giving me a MASSIVE hickie as it pulls my belly fat into position between the cold paddles to freeze said fat to death.
The rest is sort of boring, other than the cocktail party taking place around me. Did I mention I am on the world's coolest reclining chair sitting next to the machine while the unit is making out with my belly button in the middle of a cocktail party?
The operator turns on the cold after the unit locks on and she starts a timer. In 60 minutes, I will be done. Now I just need to chill out. The cold comes on really fast. Within a few minutes, my stomach feels cold and then within a few more I am basically numb from the cold. If you have ever iced your knee, it is like that. The cold feels real cold for a while and then nothing. Same thing here.
60 minutes later and presto! The cookies are done. The cold is turned off and so is the suction. Here is where things start to a get a little weird. I know, I know, you thinking "a little weird!". After wiggling the unit back and forth a few times, off it come, but the belly fat stays exactly in place. Wild! Imagine the unit is a cake pan and you have just turned upside down and lifted it off. What's left is a brick of cake the exact size and shape of the pan, right? In this case, the brick is a lump of near frozen fat. *Cough* Sorry, I almost threw up a little bit. Just in my mouth. No big deal. Did I mention the cocktail party?
Disaster averted! The operator jumps in with both hands and begins to massage my frozen fat back into place. In about 30 seconds, it was like it never happened. My stomach feels like a just did a couple hundred sit ups, it is cold and red like its been in a snow ball fight, but otherwise, I am good!
My stomach was kind of numb and tingly for a while and it was a little tender to touch the next day. It felt just like a sunburn. Probably from the cold exposure. Recovery time for me was zero. I had the treatment done on Thursday night and was able to do Ironman California 70.3 in Oceanside on Saturday. Try that with liposuction! My abs were a little sore on the run for say the first mile, but that was it. Once I got running it went away. As I write this, it's been 4 days, and I still have just a little numbness, but that's it.
So what happens to the fat? Your bodies immune system, nature's little sanitation team, will carry away the dead cells over the course of the next 60-90 days. These cells are now dead and will not come back. If you put on weight again, the fat will go to other locations, because their are now greatly reduced fat cells in the treated area.
So now we wait..... Check back for the "After" pics about two months.
For the curious, cost of the treatment is about $1500 per "problem area"....
Thanks for reading!