Second Opinion: The equine method

A new method of fat removal is not a weight loss method, but helps shift fat in stubborn spots that has been resistant to diet and exercise

I have never had much interest in the fat business. Over the years, I have investigated various devices that claim to be able to help an individual effectively treat troublesome fat, and then rejected them as every one has overpromised and under delivered — until now, and the device that has changed my opinion is Cool Sculpt.

The only effective way to maintain an ideal weight is through diet and exercise. Adopting a lifestyle where calories in equals calories out is the definitive basis for weight maintenance. Even so, there are areas on the body that stubbornly persist in spite of an acceptable weight. These are the fat depots.

We are born with a defined number of fat cells. These expand and contract in size as a person loses and gains weight but the total number of fat cells does not increase over a lifetime. Fat storage is hormonally and genetically mediated and as a result women and men store fat in different areas. Women’s fat deposits make them store fat in a pear-shaped distribution while men tend to gain in the abdominal area. To date, the only way to alter those fatty deposits is by shrinking the fat cells as much as possible through diet, or decreasing the total number of fat cells one has via liposuction. Today there is a third tool to add to the war against fat and that tool is cryolipolysis. It is not a weight loss tool; instead, it is a sculpting tool that targets stubborn fat depots.

Physicians have long been aware that fat is sensitive to cold and significant prolonged cold can kill fat cells. For example, dermatologists see an example of cyyolipolysis in a condition called equestrian panniculitis. Here, equestrian women who spend winter months in the saddle present with patchy fat loss on the lateral thigh and buttock areas. The condition arises from the freezing and subsequent death of fatty cells and results in dimpling of the affected area. This is permanent loss and as it is a patchy fat loss, it can be unsightly. Taking a practical disorder like equestrian panniculitis as a base for investigation, Harvard doctors developed a technology where fat is super cooled in a controlled way, fat cells are eliminated and the body could be sculpted.  They call the device Cool Sculpt.

Cool Sculpt is a non-surgical procedure that uses cryolipolysis to eliminate fat that is resistant to diet and exercise. It is not a weight loss program, in fact your weight will not change with this procedure but those areas that never seem to disappear in spite of diet and exercise can be targeted. The areas commonly treated are the flanks, the back, the medial and lateral thigh, the upper and lower abdomen and the fatty deposit on the upper arm. Soon there will be an option to treat fat under the chin.

There is no question that liposuction is an effective way to decrease large deposits of overstuffed fat cells, but if an individual is not keen on surgery, has problematic areas and would like to see a permanent improvement, Cool Sculpt is a safe alternative. If neither of these methods of fat removal is appealing, one could always buy a horse.

Dr. April Sanders writes on a variety of topics for The Morning Star. She is a physician at Sanders Medical Inc. Vein and Laser in Vernon, B.C.