“How do I lose these stubborn fat rolls?” – a common question that plagues many who wish to eliminate persistent fat in specific areas without targeting the whole body. Always on the lookout for new advancements which promise to help us achieve just this, it is no surprise that CoolSculpting, a relatively novel, non-invasive aesthetic procedure which promises to effectively remove fat from target areas is garnering increasing attention in the beauty world. Also known as cryolipolysis, the procedure is fast gaining popularity in the United States especially following its approval by the FDA in 2010 as a non-invasive alternative treatment to liposuction.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that uses cryotherapy to freeze unwanted fat cells under the skin to death – literally. Just like it is with liposuction, this procedure targets adipose tissue in specific body areas which may be otherwise difficult to reach with only dieting and exercise.
Does that mean we can finally say goodbye to the stubborn love handles, bra bulges, back fat and banana rolls? Or does it all sound too good to be true? Well, let’s see what the experts have to say about it.
Does CoolSculpting work?
According to Zeltiq Aesthetics, the forerunners of the technique, CoolSculpting is able to reduce the amount of adipose tissue in the target area by as much as 20 to 25%. A study conducted in 2009 to assess the efficacy of cryolipolysis supports this claim and also found evidence of results persisting beyond six months post treatment.
This is achieved by placing a roll of fat between two cooling paddles which cool the fat down to a freezing temperature, subsequently leading to their death. The frozen, dead adipose cells are then excreted through the liver and results can be observed by most people within a few days to weeks post-procedure even though it typically takes longer (1 – 4 months) to see full results.
On what parts of the body can CoolSculpting be done?
Almost any parts of the body having excessive fat can undergo cryolipolysis. However, there are certain areas which have been noted to yield the most results and also approved by the FDA for the treatment.
These areas include:
- bra fat
- back fat
- banana roll
- upper arms
Some patients also opt for under chin treatments and other areas like the legs where CoolSculpting can help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
How long does the procedure take?
It takes an average of one hour to treat a designated area and whereas some persons can get satisfactory results with one or two sessions, some others may require up to three or four sessions for maximum benefits.
Is this fat-freezing procedure safe?
CoolSculpting is a safe cosmetic procedure approved by the FDA. There isn’t a lot of literature on the topic as it is a relatively new technique however, existing research findings show that it is a much safer and effective alternative to the more conventional surgical means of fat removal such as liposuction, not requiring any anaesthesia or skin cuts.
Any concerns about damage to the overlying skin are unnecessary as the skin is much more resilient to cold than fat tissue. Also as the frozen dead fat cells are eliminated by the liver, there might understandably be some concerns about liver toxicity yet it has been shown that cryolipolysis does not result in any damage to the liver, nor does it lead to a reduction in lipid levels which means that the procedure is indeed completely cosmetic.
What are the possible side effects of CoolSculpting?
Some complications may arise with the use of cryotherapy even though these are typically uncommon, occurring in less than 1% of persons according to a study by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
Some of the possible complications include:
- Temporary swelling, skin redness, sensitivity, and bruising at the site of treatment
- Localized pain, aching or stinging sensation which may last up to 2 weeks following treatment. This however resolves without need for further treatment.
- Pinching sensation
- Muscle cramping
One case of adipose hyperplasia has been reported in a male patient who experienced a paradoxical increase in fatty tissue after coolsculpting treatment but this is very rare and more likely to occur in men.
Are there contraindications to CoolSculpting?
Even though CoolSculpting is generally safe for most people, there are certain conditions in which it is not advisable to go for it. Due to the risk of possible adverse effects, individuals who have the following health conditions should not go in for cryolipolysis:
- Cold agglutinin disease
- Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Raynaud’s disease
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Inflammatory conditions of the skin such as hives and dermatitis
CoolSculpting is predictably here to stay as it offers many benefits over more traditional cosmetic procedures and is very effective, requiring no downtime. It is pertinent however, to note that CoolSculpting while it may be effective in targeting spot areas of undesirable fat which are not amenable to dietary modifications and exercise, is not a treatment for obesity and offers no added benefits beyond cosmesis. There is still a need to adhere to recommended lifestyle modifications and other factors that are helpful in maintaining healthy weight. It is advisable that you seek the counsel of your doctor before going in for any cosmetic treatments and when you decide to do so, ensure you choose an experienced health professional. If you’re considering CoolSculpting, then reach out to us here. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.