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How Does CoolSculpting® Work?

Most of us today can reluctantly point to a few areas on our bodies that have a bit of excess fat. While completely normal, they often get in the way of us achieving the bodies we want and can be very hard to get rid of, particularly for women. Women, in general, tend to have more fat cells than men, which further increases with age and also becomes more apparent during pregnancy.

There’s a certain body fat percentage range that is healthy and helps our body function properly. But when it comes to dealing with some excess fat, the progress can seem really slow and frustrating. We go on diets and regularly work out (as we should), but such activities only go so far. 

In the past, the only “extra” way to lose fat quickly used to be surgery — literally removing fat tissues. Luckily, right now we also have CoolSculpting® — a new method of noninvasive treatments that works by freezing fat cells without damaging the surrounding tissue and requires virtually no downtime. The Aesthetic Surgery Journal called CoolSculpting® “a safe and effective nonsurgical body contouring method.”

So what is CoolSculpting® and how does it work? Let’s break it down in detail.

What Is CoolSculpting®?

The first thing to know about CoolSculpting® is that it’s not exactly the method but rather the brand name of a particular fat-freezing technology created by Allergan, the manufacturer of BOTOX®. 

The fat-freezing method behind CoolSculpting® that allows you to remove stubborn fat from certain areas of your body is called cryolipolysis. It is approved by both the FDA and Health Canada. 

CoolSculpting® is the world’s leading cryolipolysis procedure — and completely different from all the other body-contouring treatments that came before. For a long time, removing fat meant using lasers or surgery, which frequently damaged the surrounding healthy tissues, required long recovery times and had a significant risk of side effects. 

Cryolipolysis was discovered by Harvard scientists who studied how fat cells behaved during frostbite. Since they freeze at higher temperatures than other cells, it’s possible to destroy them without disturbing the surrounding areas. Essentially, the fat cells get broken down and dissolve in your body. While the process is slow and takes up to 12 weeks to see the full results, the change is permanent. Those fat cells won’t come back to the same spot afterward. Even if you gain weight in the future, fat cells won’t assume the same pattern and are likely to distribute fat more evenly. 

CoolSculpting® is a non-invasive and non-surgical procedure. There are no needles involved whatsoever — the treatment works with special paddles that quickly cool down and target certain areas for 45 minutes to an hour, destroying about 25% of the fat cells in that area during that time. 

After your CoolSculpting® treatment you’ll start seeing your body contour changing within a few weeks, with full results taking up to a few months to show. Each CoolSculpting® session usually targets one area at a time and it’s very common for patients to do more than one session.  

How Does Coolsculpting Work?

You can think of CoolSculpting® as an advanced fat-freezing technology. It delivers controlled cooling that targets fat cells without affecting the surrounding tissues.

The way a CoolSculpting® procedure works is by using cooling applicators on gel pads (to protect your skin from freezing) over targeted areas for a period of up to one hour, depending on the area being treated. The applicators are then set to a precise cold temperature, causing them to freeze your fat cells. 

Don’t worry, while the applicator would feel cool at first, you won’t notice any discomfort within a few minutes. After the cooling is done, the technician will massage the area to help break up the fat cells. In the end, it’s likely that you won’t even see any marks on your body at all. 

There’s practically no downtime required after a CoolSculpting® treatment. If you do it during your lunch break, you can go back to work right after. 

At Dermetics, all the CoolSculpting® treatments are performed by highly trained aesthetic nurse technicians and supervised by Dr. Muhn or Dr. Rosen to ensure the best results. 

Who Should Consider CoolSculpting®? 

While CoolSculpting® is a safe, quick and non-invasive procedure, it’s important to understand that it is still a specialized treatment that might not suit everyone. 

CoolSculpting® is not a way to lose weight, for example. It’s a body-contouring technique that is ideal for those who follow a balanced diet, exercise regularly and are not far from their ideal body weight. In such cases, CoolSculpting® might be the most effective treatment to remove particular areas of stubborn fat. 

Some popular CoolSculpting® treatment areas are: 

  • Jawline
  • Neck
  • Thighs
  • Abdomen
  • Upper arms
  • Back
  • Flanks
  • Bra line

CoolSculpting® is also not recommending for people who have loose skin or uneven skin complexion, cryoglobulinemia (the thickening of proteins in cold temperatures), cold urticaria (getting hives when exposed to cold) or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria (the destruction of red blood cells with cold exposure). 

What Are CoolSculpting® Side Effects? 

One of the great benefits of CoolSculpting® in general is how minimal the potential side effects are as well as close to zero downtime required. Right after the appointment, you can drive yourself home and resume your regular activities. 

During the treatment, it’s possible for patients to feel cold as well as some pulling on their skin. As a result, the treatment area could become sore, as if after a workout. 

In some cases, patients might expect mild swelling, redness, bruising and increased skin sensitivity, all of which should subside within a week or so following the treatment. 

How to Prepare for Your CoolSculpting® Appointment

Studies have shown that cryolipolysis is a safe and effective way for getting rid of fat in targeted areas around your body. The side effects are rare and very mild, and there’s no damage to any healthy skin tissues or internal organs. Best of all, the results are permanent. 

Interested in exploring whether CoolSculpting® is the right option for you? Book a Dermetics consultation, and either Dr. Rosen or Dr. Muhn will meet with you to understand your concerns, assess your skin condition and lay out a tailored treatment plan designed just for you. 

Note: CoolSculpting® is considered to be a cosmetic treatment, not covered by medical insurance.

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