There has been a lot of buzz about Zeltiq. There is actually some science behind the concept that fat cells can be selectively damaged because they are more sensitive to cold. And some reputable practitioners are doing it. It is a non-invasive procedure that has been cleared by the FDA for treatment of love handles.
Nevertheless, we have decided not to offer Zeltiq to our patients because most of them would be disappointed.
I. It can be used only for small areas, and most patients need several areas treated with tumescent liposuction.
II. The manufacturer states in its own press release that on average, one can expect only 20% improvement and that multiple treatments are usually needed.
III. Repeated Zeltiq treatments cost thousands of dollars. In the long run, I think repeated Zeltiq treatments will be more expensive and less effective then tumescent liposuction.
IV. The long term health effects of this aggressive tissue cooling are not known.
V. These fads come and go. They are very powerful marketing tools because they seem to offer what the patient wants and are “non-invasive” and “less expensive”. There was SmartLipo and Zerona and Bodytite. Now it is CoolSculpting. But only tumescent liposuction has a fifteen year track record of safety and good results.
Patients tend to accept minimal improvement after treatments in a dermatologist's office. But in our Plastic Surgery office, they expect dramatic results, and that is what we aim to provide.
George J. Beraka, M.D.