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'CoolSculpting' A Surgery-Free Alternative To Liposuction

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Every year, more than 220,000 Americans receive liposuction.

But what if you could get rid of the fat without actually having surgery?

As CBS 2's Vanita Nair reported, a new treatment promises to effectively remove the extra fat by freezing cells.

Dr. Neil Sadick, a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, said the procedure is called "CoolSculpting." It was created by two Harvard doctors and was cleared last month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating a patient's thighs, love handles and belly.

The process uses a device to freeze fat cells. Once they're frozen, the cells drain naturally from the body.

"I think it's the most proven technology," Sadick said.

Melissa Allerton, a 33-year-old yoga teacher and private chef, recently received the treatment on her stomach.

It felt "like a thin sheet of ice," she said.

It can take six to 12 weeks to see the results, but a patient can lose half an inch from his or her waistline after a single one-hour treatment. An area can be treated multiple times, but Sadick said the first treatment is usually the most effective.

Last year, 425,000 CoolSculpting treatments were performed around the world.

"These techniques are not substitutes for liposuction," Sadick noted. "They're not for people that have large amounts of fats that need to be removed."

He said temporary side effects include developing bruising or redness on the skin.

Other doctors Nair spoke to who had no financial relationship to the product say there is still no magic pill for weight loss, but they all agreed that, for the right patient, CoolSculpting works.

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