Dr. Grant Stevens and Laura Pietrzak demonstrate how Coolsculpting works on a client at The Institute at Marina Plastic Surgery in Marina del Rey. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

In a very small European clinical trial, patients lost an average of 5.68 centimeters, or 2.23 inches, around their midsection without significant side effects, save for a little redness and swelling that went away within an hour.

Stevens is now testing one of these machines. The photos, he says, look encouraging, but he doesn't have the results yet. "The jury is still out."

A word of caution

Despite the low degree of risk with these treatments, it's important to make sure the person administering a treatment has proper training, or you may receive less impressive results and more discomfort.

"Just because it's minimally invasive," says Scot Glasberg, a New York plastic surgeon, "you shouldn't go to a minimally trained doctor."


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