Dr. Freeze: Coolsculpting treatments come to Nevada County | TheUnion.com

Dr. Freeze: Coolsculpting treatments come to Nevada County

Lorraine Jewett
Special to The Union

Want to shrink love handles, bulging tummies and flabby arms without planks, sit-ups or push-ups?

Dr. Selene Dunham says the answer is a new treatment she is introducing to Nevada County.

"Coolsculpting is a freezing technique that literally freezes fat cells to death," said Dr. Selene, who prefers that nickname over the more formal Dr. Dunham. "Each treatment cycle kills about 20 to 25 percent of the fat cells. We always recommend a double treatment protocol because in order to see a difference, you want a 50 percent reduction of the fat cells."

Freezing fat?

Coolsculpting, also known as cryolipolysis, is a non-invasive procedure that freezes and destroys fat cells which the body then sloughs away over the course of weeks and months. Dr. Selene has been offering the treatments for the past year at her Rocklin clinic, which has grown into one of the busiest practices in Northern California.

She opened her new clinic, New Natural Medical Aesthetics, in Grass Valley last week. In addition to a waiting/reception room, the clinic is divided into two treatment areas. One is the injection room, where patients receive Botox and filler injections. The other is the Coolsculpting treatment room, complete with a big screen television for viewing during procedures.

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The process is relatively simple. Material soaked with a freezing agent is placed on a patient's roll of fat, which is then clamped with the Coolsculpting paddles. Over the course of a 35-minute treatment, about one-fourth of the fat cells beneath the skin are frozen to death.

At the end of the treatment, the area is vigorously massaged for two minutes, which some clients say is the most uncomfortable phase. The massaging and rubbing minimize swelling and help in the lymphatic drainage of dead fat cells.

Dr. Selene has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in her new clinic, including two Coolsculpting machines that cost $150,000 apiece.

"We do dual sculpting, meaning two procedures at the same time," said the 38-year-old doctor. "Who has hours to spend in a clinic? I had to buy two to get twice as much done in half the time."

Fat cells expand or shrink with weight gain or dieting. Dr. Selene says Coolscupting results are permanent, because everyone is born with a limited number of fat cells. Once fat cells die, they don't grow back. But Coolsculpting should not be considered an obesity treatment.

"It is not a weight-loss mechanism, it's a fat-loss mechanism," said Dr. Selene. "You're permanently reducing the number of fat cells, which sculpts the body."

Patients must be at least 18-years-old. It's helpful if they have good skin elasticity that will retract as fat cells die off.

"I recommend patients be within 10 to 20 pounds of their weight goal," she said. "If someone gets Coolsculpting and then gets overweight, they're throwing money in the toilet. You can't do that."

What you can expect from treatment

Coolsculpting proponents say the treatment is ideal for someone with a problem spot or spots that they wouldn't be able to lose no matter what weight-loss program they might try. For men, it's usually fat on either side of their torso called "love handles." For women, it's often their lower belly and/or upper back fat often referred to as "bra fat."

There are potential side effects.

"There can be swelling, bruising, and some patients get a pins-and-needles sensation after a treatment," said Dr. Selene. "We recommend wearing tight undergarments such as Spanx that can help with the swelling. There can also be itchiness when the fat is dying. You'll see results at one month and best results at three to five months."

Do you need a fat wallet to achieve a slim physique? That depends.

Each dual treatment costs between $500 and $800, depending on how many cycles a patient buys at one time. Treatments are not covered by insurance. A course of procedures, typically treating different areas of the body, can run $2,000 to $4,000.

"We encourage people to get four to eight cycles," said Dr. Selene. "It's not a cheap procedure but it's a permanent solution."

Success stories

Haven Caravelli, 39, calls Coolsculpting "magical."

"I feel it was the missing piece of my fitness regimen," said Caravelli, owner of Center of Movement Pilates and Functional Fitness in Grass Valley. "It didn't matter how much I worked out or watched what I ate, I had 'love handles' until Coolsculpting took care of my problem area. I feel super comfortable with Dr. Selene and her staff, and highly recommend them."

Caravelli said she did not experience pain during her treatments.

"It's a weird sensation as the area gets colder and colder and then goes numb," she said. "But the second you're done, you're really done. I left and worked out afterwards."

A 45-year-old woman who asked not to be named said she can't exercise due to a medical issue, but Coolsculpting is helping keep her body looking fit.

"I can't do my sit-ups, but I'm not going to grow out of my jeans," she said. "You can absolutely tell the difference. There is pain when they rub out the cold spot. It took my breath away, but the pain is only for that moment, so it's worth it. Dr. Selene and her staff are honest about what they can and can't achieve. They really care about what you think, how you feel and what you want."

Coolsculpting was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 for the treatment of visible fat bulges. It gained renewed attention when it was rebranded a few years ago as an alternative to liposuction.

"We plan to bring the same quality to Grass Valley that people expect when they go to somewhere like San Francisco," said Dr. Selene. "We have three highly-trained technicians and the latest, cutting-edge technology. It's exciting to bring something new to our area."

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. To suggest a business news feature, contact her at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

BUSINESS BASICS

WHO: Owner: Dr. Selene Dunham

WHAT: New Natural Medical Aesthetics

WHERE: 120 North Auburn Street, Suite 5, Grass Valley

INFO: Call 916-223-9361or visit DrSelene.com for more information