COOL HANDS: Dr Craig Layt with the CoolSculpting machine which freezes and kills fat cells.
COOL HANDS: Dr Craig Layt with the CoolSculpting machine which freezes and kills fat cells.

Freeze-dry fat claim

IT may sound too good to be true, but a weight loss treatment - that freezes and disposes of fat cells - may one day mean that muffin tops and love handles are a thing of the past.

The new treatment, touted as a non-invasive alternative to liposuction, has recently received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration and is available to patients on the Gold Coast.

Dr Craig Layt, a Gold Coast plastic surgeon and president of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, says the treatment, known as CoolSculpting, was developed after Harvard researchers noticed fat cells were especially sensitive to the cold. "If you keep fat at a certain low temperature for a period of time, and apply pressure, it will kill off fat cells," said Dr Layt, who used the treatment on himself last week. "It's a drawing-like feeling that is slightly uncomfortable, but quickly becomes numb. It's similar to the feeling of having an ice-pack on an injury. "

A vacuum-type device is clamped to the target area and cooling plates chill the fat for an hour. The chilling permanently destroys the fat cells, which the body disposes of through the liver as it does with dietary fat. The fat cells are gone for good, but will return elsewhere if a patient over-eats or quits exercising.

"It's a spot procedure for localised fat deposits and is ideally suited to a person who is in reasonable shape but just can't shift that unwanted muffin-top or love handles," said Dr Layt.

People who are obese or trying to remove cellulite are better suited to other treatments.

A treatment starts at $800 for a small area, such as love-handles.

"Many patients will find that one or two treatments are enough and that results can be seen about two to three months after treatment," he said.

The treatment is cheaper than liposuction and does not require time off work.

The machine can be transported from the Gold Coast to Ballina, but Dr Layt will consider investing in a second machine for his Ballina clinic.



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