We’ve all succumbed to temptations and there’s no shame in that but what happens when we’ve indulged ourselves a bit too much. If you are a bit of glutton and find it hard to stop yourself from trying all the tantalising variety of food that is available, you’ll be glad to know that liposuction is not the only way to reduce fats. You can now look forward to a less invasive treatment that doesn’t involves knives or needles. Introducing CoolSculpting (a.k.a cryolipolysis) – an aesthetic treatment that removes areas or pockets of body fat by freezing the fat cells. Similar to Liposuction, doctors use CoolSculpting to remove targeted areas of fat that is difficult to remove by diet and exercise alone.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved non-invasive procedure that reduces fat through cryolipolysis (using freezing temperatures to break down fats). The cold does not damage other cells in the same way it does fat cell, therefore by doing CoolSculpting it will not damage the skin or underlying tissue nearby the treated area. Once the fat cells have been destroyed by freezing, they are gradually broken down and removed from the body by the liver.
Body regions where CoolSculpting is considered safe to remove minor fat deposits:
- Under the chin or upper neck area
- Under the armpits
- Buttocks and under the buttocks
Why do people seek CoolSculpting?
The benefit of CoolSculpting is that unlike diet and exercise, fat cells are actually destroyed and removed from the body, which means the same fats cells will not have a chance to return or enlarge with weight gain.
- Low Risk Procedure
- Skin Barrier is not Broken/Compromised
- Less Risk of Complications such as Infection/ Scarring
- No Need to Take Time Off/ No Recovery Time
- Natural Results
- Less Risk of Weight Gain
- Less Risk of Skin Dimpling/Bumps, as fat cells are destroyed evenly across
CoolSculpting is best suited to those who are already doing some exercise on areas that are hard to lose despite working out (for example love handles).
Contrary to popular believe, after doing CoolSculpting, you will still need to maintain a healthy diet and exercise to maintain your new figure. A person who continues with unhealthy diet and remains sedentary while undergoing the procedure can expect less fat reduction. It is not a miracle cure and people should be aware that it does not see a complete removal of fat.
An important note to take of: CoolSculpting does not tighten loose skin. If the skin has stretched over fatty build-ups, a person may have excess skin after the removal of fat through fat freezing. You may need to consider doing another laser such as Exilis or Thermage to tighten loose skin.
CoolSculpting is a purely aesthetic procedure and will not address the underlying cause of unwanted fat. A person who has metabolic condition, diabetes or an unhealthy lifestyle may find that they will quickly regain fat lost. Freezing away fat without making lifestyle changes, will not improve your overall health. It is not a form of weight loss and not recommended for treating obesity, you may want to consider doing a gastric bypass instead.
For people who want a rapid result in a single treatment, Liposuction will be a more noticeable option. However, because Liposuction is an invasive treatment it does carry a higher risk of complications.
Not suitable for people who have weakened immune systems, people with certain conditions that weaken or change the body’s ability to handle the cold can also experience serious medical conditions.
Conditions that rule out CoolSculpting include:
- Pregnancy, attempting to be pregnant or breast feeding
- Blood Conditions (where the cold temperature could cause red blood cells to die)
- Nerve Conditions (Eczema, Psoriasis)
- Inflammatory Skin Conditions (Dermatitis, Hives)
- If you are on blood thinning medication over long periods/ Other bleeding conditions that thin blood
- If you have implanted medical devices (Pacemakers, etc.)
- Chronic Pain Conditions
- Severe Anxiety
What’s the procedure like?
During the procedure, the doctor will place the applicator (head/tip) of the CoolSculpting machine on the skin above the area of fatty tissue. The tip may feel slightly cold. Once the applicator has been adjusted, the cold temperature will numb the targeted area. Some people report that they feel a cooling sensation.
Depending on which CoolSculpting applicator you have chosen, the treatment could take between 30 minutes to 1 hour. For the duration of the treatment, you may choose to bring something along for entertainment as it’s pretty relaxing. You can bring a book or even do your work whilst the machine does its job.
There is no recovery time because there is no damage to skin or tissue, so you can go about your day as regular after the procedure. Some people did report soreness/tugging sensation at the treated area after CoolSculpting, similar to what you might experience after an intense work-out session.
To see the best results from CoolSculpting, it may take 4 – 6 months before the fat cells leave the body. In the meantime, adding regular work-out routine will vastly improve the results you see. You can expect to see an average of 20 percent decrease of fat.
CoolSculpting destroys fat cells, and those particular cells will not return. By destroying the existing fat cells, it does not mean new fat cells will not appear, thus the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A person who does not exercise or eats an unhealthy diet will soon see the fat return.
Possible Side Effects/ Risks
Cryolipolysis is a non-invasive procedure, so it does not require any anaesthesia, incisions, or medications that could cause allergic reactions. Overall this means that the rate of complication for CoolSculpting is quite low. Only 1% reported some side effects, this include:
- Skin redness
- Muscle Cramps
- Localized pain (rare)
A person may continue to experience the side effects for a few weeks after the procedure. Other common side effects that a person may experience are:
- Itchiness (during first few days)
- Diarrhoea (as dead fat cells are being removed from the body)
- A feeling of fullness in the throat after treatment (especially for those who did neck/chin areas)
People who are considering CoolSculpting should know that while stubborn areas of fat are common, they can also be a sign of a health condition. It is essential to talk to your healthcare provider or doctor about it before choosing any fat-removal procedure. There are many forms of fat-removal and its vital to discuss with doctor about your expectations, as well as the benefits and risks involved for each procedure.