Healthwatch: Tummy-tuck or topical to remove belly fat

Hagerstown, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The number of tummy tucks has risen by more than 100 percent over the last ten years. But this surgery, which targets stubborn belly fat, is expensive and can be risky.  Here are details on how traditional surgery stacks up against a topical treatment that literally freezes the fat away.

CoolSculpting is a freezing treatment that works like a vacuum cleaner. While the canisters suck in fat, the tissue chills to 39 degrees, causing it to crystallize.

"They found a way to cool the fat, but not kill the skin," said Salvatore Dimercurio, M.D., a Maryland-based plastic surgeon. 

Jerra Feaga was treated on her thighs and stomach.

"It's like a numbing feeling that continues to get colder and colder to the point of probably what hypothermia feels like," detailed Feaga.

The pain generally lasts about seven minutes of the hour-long treatment.  

"Even though we have some good results four to eight weeks post treatment, we find that if we treat that area again, we get better results," Dr. Dimercurio told Ivanhoe. 

"It's only up to a 30 percent decrease, so it's not going to be a wow factor," said Feaga.

For more dramatic results, some patients consider the tummy tuck , sometimes called the "yummy mummy" surgery.   

"Typically it's the woman who's had children; she goes to the gym five days a week, she doesn't understand why she can't remove this loose flabby skin," said Henry Garazo, M.D, another Maryland-based plastic surgeon.

Like Christine Rosenthal, a mom, who after two C-sections, still had overhanging skin. But she said after surgery, she physically improved by 90 percent. 

"Everything isn't going to be perfect, but it's better than it was," said Rosenthal. "That's how I viewed it."

Dr. Garazo said detailed, "It's transformational. For women when the walk in the office, you can literally see them at the front desk walking down the hall and they're a completely new person."

Neither procedure is covered by insurance. CoolsSulpting costs about $2,000-$3,000 and tummy tucks from $5,000 on up.

 


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