CoolSculpting® 101: When Stubborn Fat Just Won’t Budge

Plastic Surgery Center of the South

Both women and men are increasingly coming to us for CoolSculpting® . If you’re considering this fat freezing treatment, you likely have a few questions about the reality behind the buzzed-about procedure. You may have heard about the popularity of the treatment and its benefits, but aren’t sure if it’s the right body contouring option for you.

CoolSculpting® is a nonsurgical body contouring procedure that safely freezes and destroys fat cells—a process called cryolipolysis—in localized areas without damaging surrounding tissue. The number of fat cells is set during childhood and adolescence and varies little during adulthood.  These cells are naturally metabolized out of the body, reducing fat in targeted areas over the course of 3 or so months.  Ideal CoolSculpting candidates are at or near their target weight and are struggling with stubborn pockets of fat that resist diet and exercise.

The CoolSculpting® procedure is FDA-cleared for the treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental (under the chin) and submandibular (under the jawline) areas, thigh, abdomen and flank, along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also known as banana roll) and upper arm. The CoolSculpting® procedure is not a treatment for weight loss.

Fat cells don’t like the cold and at a certain temperature they will freeze. Once that happens, your body will naturally eliminate the dead cells in 2-6 months or more, resulting in up to 20%-25% reduction of fat in a treated area. During the treatment, the cooling applicator is applied to the area of fat you want to reduce. You may experience sensations of pulling, tugging, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, and cramping at the treatment site. These sensations subside as the area becomes numb. During the treatment you will be able to read, answer emails, or chat with a friend.  After the applicator is detached, your provider will do a brief massage on the area to break up the treated fat cells and enhance the fat reduction, you may experience some tingling, thawing, or redness. After that, you will be able to return to your normal activities immediately.

Each patient’s results vary, but you can generally expect to see a moderate slimming effect within the treated areas. It’s important to note that CoolSculpting® isn’t intended to be a weight-loss treatment, but a method of reducing small areas of fat.  CoolSculpting® helps sculpt your body in certain areas, you’ll find your clothes fit better, look better, and feel better. You will likely start to notice results within a few weeks, and they’ll fully develop in 2 or 3 months, at which time you can decide if you would like to opt for additional treatment.

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