Coolsculpting is an FDA approved noninvasive procedure that uses precise cooling to destroy fat cells below the surface of an individual’s skin. Coolsculpting is not a weight loss remedy, but can be used to contour stubborn areas of fat that are not eliminated through diet and exercise. The areas most commonly treated using Coolsculpting, are the love handles, back and underneath the chin. There are currently nine areas FDA approved for treatment; abdomen, sides (muffin top) flanks upper (Bra fat) and lower (love handles), chin, inner and outer thighs, back of arms, underneath buttocks (banana roll).
CoolSculpting uses a vacuum suction applicator to draw distinct areas of pliable fat between the cooling paddles of the device. These areas of stubborn fat bulges, including:
CoolSculpting may have an effect on skin laxity. The treatment is designed to target the fat cells specifically, leaving the skin and surrounding tissues unaffected. However, some patients have reported improvement in skin laxity of treated area.
CoolSculpting isn’t designed to treat cellulite either, although other energy-based procedures can also be used to stimulate collagen production and improve the appearance of cellulite. For instance, radio-frequency devices can easily be paired with CoolSculpting to help you reach your goals. So incorporating Forma or Forma-plus to improve overall tightening of coolSculpting treated area.
CoolSculpting isn’t for everyone. The procedure is designed for people who are only looking to lose stubborn fat that can’t be dispelled with exercise or diet: it’s most definitely not an alternative to healthy weight loss. There are many factors to consider before committing to CoolSculpting.
The best candidates for the procedure:
There are a handful of medical conditions that could prevent an individual from undergoing the CoolSculpting procedure. These existing medical conditions can make the treatment riskier:
If you suffer from any of the above conditions or have any other health concerns, please inform your provider prior to treatment.
Yes. Typically, a single treatment results in shrinkage of about 20-25% in the targeted area.
Full results usually take two to three months, because it takes your body that long to naturally process and dispose of all the crystallized fat cells. It’s usually at about this point that a repeat treatment can be considered.
A single treatment may be sufficient in achieving your goals, but on average, most people need two or three.
Fat is held inside sack-like cells that grow and shrink as you gain and lose weight throughout your lifetime. During the CoolSculpting procedure, up to 25% of these cells in the targeted area are killed, allowing them to release the fat they have been storing, which is slowly reabsorbed over a few weeks.
Once your body has metabolized the crystallized cells, they are gone forever. Fat cells do not grow back, so once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.
However, it’s important to understand that CoolSculpting is not a weight loss procedure. Freezing fat cells simply causes them to release their contents so they can be more easily burned off. Your weight will not change as a result of CoolSculpting alone — you have to eat right and exercise to see the best results.
Also bear in mind that the remaining fat cells in the treated area, as well as throughout your body, are still quite capable of growing in size with the accumulation of new fat. Massive weight gain may also cause fat cells to split in two.
Cryolipolysis has been performed thousands of times, and has been proven to be extremely safe. As a completely noninvasive procedure, CoolSculpting enjoys significantly reduced risks compared to other fat reduction techniques.
Of course, no procedure is completely without risk. Most people don’t experience any side effects following the procedure, but there are a few common issues that can develop shortly after treatment, including:
CoolSculpting is usually a pain free experience, with the exception of these possible mild side effects. However, on rare occasions other more severe side effects can present themselves.
Approximately 1% of patients will require pain medication and experience numbness for a week or more. You can compare this with almost 100% of patients who experience pain and discomfort following liposuction. Since the device utilizes suction, a “hickey” like effect can also occur with more pronounced bruising, though this is uncommon.
It’s unlikely that the CoolSculpting fat freezing technique would cause any effect on a pregnancy, but it hasn’t been studied in pregnant women at all. For this reason, we do not recommend having the procedure performed if you are pregnant. In fact, it’s probably best to refrain from any kind of body contouring procedure if you are even planning on getting pregnant within six months, just to be safe.
If you go through the procedure only to find out later that you are in the early stages of pregnancy, don’t worry. The treatment shouldn’t have any effect on your early pregnancy at all. However, you may not be able to see your results because you’ll be gaining pregnancy weight.
That being said, CoolSculpting has shown great results in new mothers having trouble losing that last bit of pregnancy fat through diet and exercise alone.
CoolSculpting is not a weight loss tool. It’s for those stubborn fat pockets that you’ve tried to eradicate without success. The CoolSculpting manufacturer recommends that you should already be within about 25 pounds of your ideal weight before undergoing the procedure.
To enjoy the most effective results, you’ll also need enough pliable fat to be manipulated by the handpiece of the CoolSculpting device (the handpiece, however, does come in several sizes). Your unwanted fat should be distinct, with clear borders for the best results.
Ideally, your skin should be healthy, with good elasticity. If you have an active infection or your skin is broken in the target area, you’ll need to postpone your treatment.
Lastly, you should be in a state of good general health.
Most patients undergo three treatments to achieve their aesthetic goals, with a two- to four-month wait between each treatment.
During your initial consultation and assessment with your practitioner, you’ll be able to get a better idea of how many treatments you’ll need.
Unless you’re taking Advil or Ibuprofen for a specific medical treatment or condition, it’s best to avoid any anti-inflammatory medication before your treatment.
CoolSculpting can sometimes result in bruising. Anti-inflammatory medications can increase the odds of this happening, and also exacerbate the severity of the bruising. That being said, it is always important to consult with your doctor before discontinuing any of your regular medications.
Anecdotal evidence reports that roughly 9 out of 10 CoolSculpting patients do not experience any pain at all. However, approximately 10% of patients do experience some pain, usually for a couple of days following treatment.
Based on these statistics, it’s unlikely that you’ll feel much pain, and it’s likely to fade quickly if you do. But it’s always a good idea to prepare for it anyway. You can help control pain with medication like Ibuprofen, and Spanx or another compression garment. In the most extreme cases, a prescription strength pain medication may be necessary.
Being comfortable and relaxed helps ease the mind and body before any procedure, and making sure you are wearing appropriate clothing is one of the easiest ways to stay comfortable. On the day of your treatment you should wear loose fitting clothing. Many patients feel comfortable in a baggy, button-up collared shirt.
You should also wear inexpensive undergarments and consider bringing an extra set to change into. A gel is applied between the CoolSculpting applicator and your skin, so your clothes may get wet.
Because there are no incisions to be made, no anesthesia necessary, and no stitches requiring time to heal, the recovery period following a CoolSculpting treatment is remarkably short. There is literally no downtime at all. You’ll be able to eat and drink anything you want immediately, and go directly back to work from your provider’s office.
Some people even schedule short treatment sessions over their lunch break. Better yet, there are absolutely no restrictions on physical activity whatsoever. In fact, exercising during and beyond your recovery period will help improve and maintain your results.
Mild pain, swelling, and numbness are the most common side effects, but medication, or time off from work are generally not required.
Patience is a virtue. It will take several weeks for your results to become fully apparent. Some patients see an improvement in as little as three weeks, but it usually takes about two three months.
Bear in mind that results aren’t always predictable. When you treat one part of your body, it might respond differently from another treated area. This can cause some mild asymmetry. Additional treatments can be performed to even things out if necessary. Once your full final results are revealed, you’ll be able to discuss further treatments if necessary.
After 90 days, patients typically see a 20-25% reduction of fat in the treated area following a single CoolSculpting session. For many patients, one treatment is enough to produce great results, provided they have realistic expectations.
An impressive 65-75% of patients have reported a high level of satisfaction in the months following their procedure, giving it a better rating than any other non-invasive fat-reduction technique. That being said, some patients’ satisfaction begins to wane after about 6 months due to subsequent weight gain.
The fat cells that are destroyed through the CoolSculpting process will never grow back, but the cells left over are still quite capable of swelling with additional fat. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and exercise will help you to maximize your results, and make sure they last a lifetime.
In short, the results are only as permanent as your willingness to maintain them.
The cost of your CoolSculpting treatment can vary depending on the areas to be treated and the number of treatments that are necessary. Your chosen cosmetic provider will create a customized treatment plan tailored to your body’s specific needs, your personal goals, and your budget.
Depending on your goals, the costs can add up quickly. The average cost is $600 per application, which covers an area roughly the size of a hand (so a muffin top or love handles would need two applications). But compared to the financial and physical cost of more invasive procedures or other “fad” solutions with no real promise or evidence of success, CoolSculpting can be a much more affordable and effective option in the long run.
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