Surgeons Slam “Fat Freezing” Technology as Waste of Money

by Surgical Times

More than a dozen board-certified plastic surgeons and practice staff shared their mostly poor personal experience and opinions with noninvasive fat freezing technology.

Philadelphia-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christian Subbio invited the occasionally heated commentary and conversation with an Instagram post Wednesday, February 23rd, a week after an exclusive interview by People magazine with supermodel Linda Evangelista.

Evangelista later appeared on the magazine’s cover, February 28th, sharing her “cosmetic procedure nightmare” involving a “body-contouring treatment” that “left her ‘brutally disfigured.”

Set on a sea of nickels, Subbio’s caption reads: “If I had a nickel for every patient who’s told me that FatFreezing was a colossal waste of thousands of dollars.”

“Honestly, several times a week,” his caption continues. “I’ll say it again, for every ONE patient I meet who is happy with the result, there are FIVE who are like “the f— did I just spend $2500 on? In my experience, the people who are most thrilled with these devices are those who own them/operate them🤔🤔 “it’s about patient selection!” If you say so!👍🏻 Just weird how I only meet the disillusioned 🤷🏻‍♂️”

One of social media’s most popular plastic surgeons, Dr. Richard Brown shared the post with his audience as well: “You guys ask me about this a lot. I feel the same as @dr.subbio.” On the post itself, Brown adds “I’m with you. I get asked all the time. I’m like if that shot really worked we’d all own it. Total scam IMO.”

Dr. Matthew Schulman, another of social media’s most-followed plastic surgeons, writes: “One of the most overrated technologies there is. side effects may be rare, but very difficult to fix when it happens.”

Others felt very differently:

A smaller number (we counted less than 20) of the 200 comments now on the post share positive experiences, or disagreements with the core statement that “fat freezing” technologies do not work well.

Sofia Din MD, @therealdrjuvanni provided one of the better summaries of the opposing consensus. “I love your work,” she writes, “However I disagree with this post!

“You alongside your other insta surgeon brethren maybe encountering Dunning Kruger effect in this post for your surgical center!

“Most of the patients a surgeon usually encounters are the ones who are interested in getting themselves cut . Most of the people who reach the point of surgery have failed or seen slow results in non surgical weight and mindset management!

  • “Surgery doesn’t prevent them from aging or gaining back all that weight over the next decade. 80% of surgery patients gain weight and skin sag back after surgery within a decade ! Unless they proactively and meticulously work to preserve their body!
  • Surgical procedures are also super expensive and need a lot of upkeep!
  • For sure surgery doesn’t increase your lifespan.
  • However it may improve the fitting of your skin a tad bit better for a couple of years before it sags again.
  • It’s my firm belief that all surgeons must limit their surgeries and guide their patients towards healthier and non surgical forms of weight and skin tightening treatments both before and after surgeries!
  • This may not be the most profitable route yet but it is the most impactful for your patient!”

Surgeon @kkalwerisky write, “I’ll agree with you [Subbio]… but I’ll play devil’s advocate and say there is possibility of selection bias. Those coming to see you for surgical consultation are not happy with results of less invasive treatment so the possibility is there that clients happy with results never make it to you. Disclaimer: I do not perform any of these treatments (freezing or surgical liposuction below the neck).”

Surgical Times provides objective public interest reporting on the practice of plastic surgery and is not affiliated with or funded by any surgeon or practice.