By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s renewed popularity for a cosmetic procedure to tone up for people who’ve been gaining weight during the coronavirus pandemic — the so-called “Quarantine 15.” It’s a Food and Drug Administration approved, non-invasive body contouring treatment.

One Philadelphia doctor says it’s more popular than ever now.

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Mimi Wong, a clinical researcher at Jefferson who’s working on COVID-19 trials, says the pandemic has kept her away from the gym.

“I feel like I’ve been lounging around a lot on the couch and eating a little too much junk food,” she said.

She says she gained weight — the “Quarantine 15” — even though she runs and does yoga on the beach.

“I’ve needed a little bit of extra help,” Wong said.

So, she turned to Center City Dermatology and a procedure called EMSculpt.

“It’s a medical device that uses a high-intensity electromagnetic energy to focus on the muscles,” Dr. Stephen Hess said. “So the EMSculpt procedure is something that can help with body contouring fat destruction, building muscle mass.”

Hess says the device causes involuntary muscle contractions and is most often used on the belly.

“A 30-minute treatment will give you about 20,000 muscle contractions in that time period. So, it’s really almost the equivalent of doing 20,000 crunches in a half an hour,” Hess said.

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“It felt like you were having an intense workout without doing anything,” Wong said.

She says it’s intense but not painful and says that she saw immediate results within 24-48 hours.

The recommended four treatments over two weeks cost up to $4,000, even with the high price.

Hess says there’s actually been an increase of patients lately.

“I was a little bit surprised to see that. We didn’t anticipate that people would be seeking this treatment during the pandemic,” Hess said.

Hess says they’ve instituted a variety of safety precautions in the medical offices.

For Wong, a non-invasive option is just what she was looking for.

“Something to help boost my metabolism and get me back in shape to where I was prior to the pandemic,” she said.

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Doctors say the procedure doesn’t produce dramatic results and is best suited for people who are already in good shape, but need a little extra toning.

Stephanie Stahl