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How Does Coolsculpting Work, Benefits & More

How Does Coolsculpting Work

People interested in targeting stubborn fatty areas on their bodies that are resistant to diet and exercise often undergo liposuction. But CoolSculpting, also called cryolipolysis, is another option that is becoming more popular.

CoolSculpting treatment also eliminates unwanted existing fat cells, but it’s a nonsurgical fat reduction procedure that removes excess fat cells by freezing them. Like liposuction, CoolSculpting is often used on the abdomen, love handles, thighs, hips, and chin.

Some of the issues the procedure addresses include:

  • Body fat reduction
  • Arm size, upper arms,  and shape
  • Buttocks size and shape
  • Leg size, outer thighs, and shape
  • Mommy makeover
  • Definition of neck and jawline
  • Abdominal contour

This guide offers essential information about CoolSculpting, how it works, benefits, and more.

How Does CoolSculpting Work

CoolSculpting utilizes a handheld device that freezes and will destroy frozen fat cells under the skin’s surface. Note that CoolSculpting is not for weight loss treatment; instead, it’s intended to kill fat cells in areas that diet and exercise don’t work to enhance body contouring.

During a CoolSculpting session, the patient sits in a chair, while the treatment area is cleansed and a topical anesthetic is applied. Cooling gel is put on the skin and the handheld device is activated.

It vacuums the skin for several minutes while freezing the fat cells beneath the skin. Patients may feel the cold temperatures at first, but this feeling usually goes away within 10 minutes.

The CoolSculpting technique allows the body to naturally partake in fat reduction through lymphatic drainage. The dead fat cells are excreted by your body over several months.

When the fat freezing procedure is over, you can go back to regular activities, but you could notice some mild pain and bruising for a few days.

It’s important to understand that most patients need two or three months to see results. And, some parts of the body need several treatments for it to work. Some body areas can be retreated every four to six weeks.

Also, note that each CoolSculpting session only removes 10-20% of the fat that is targeted, while liposuction can remove up to 90%.

The good news about this procedure is that once those fat cells are gone, they are gone for good.

Side Effects of Coolsculpting and Risks

CoolSculpting has been in use only since 2012, but it’s generally viewed as safer than liposuction because it’s noninvasive. The only side effects for most patients are minor pain and bruising. However, some patients may experience the following immediately after the procedure:

  • Pinching sensation
  • Firmness
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Tingling
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Muscle cramps in the treated area

Also, there is a rare complication to CoolSculpting that affects less than 1% of people who have the procedure. It’s called paradoxical fat hyperplasia, and it causes the number of fat cells to increase, not decrease.

This rare condition happens more in men than women and is more likely in people of Hispanic descent. Fortunately, the problem can be remedied with traditional liposuction.

CoolSculpting Ideal Candidate

An ideal candidate for CoolSculpting is someone who wants to eliminate a stubborn fatty area that doesn’t respond well to diet and exercise. You should be healthy and either not smoke or be willing to stop smoking during the treatment period.

Also, you may be a good candidate if you want liposuction but want to avoid invasive procedures and have a shorter recovery period.

It’s important to remember that you can have CoolSculpting and freeze away plenty of fat cells. But if you overeat, the fat cells you still have will continue to store fat and make you gain weight.

So, keep in mind that CoolSculpting is not a good choice if you want to lose a lot of weight. It’s a way to get long-term results by getting your desired body contours if you are close to your idea weight. Also remember that CoolSculpting treats the fat directly under the skin and not the fat surrounding your organs.

Getting rid of visceral fat requires significant weight loss, and possibly more invasive treatments.

What You Can Expect

If you think you want CoolSculping, it’s essential to understand the entire process before you have the procedure:

  • Consultation: Your plastic surgeon will review your goals for CoolSculpting during the initial consultation. He’ll ask why you want to have CoolSculpting, the areas you want to be treated, and your overall expectations. He will also want to know about other medical procedures you’ve had and any medications you’re taking.
  • Procedure: For information about the CoolSculpting process, please review the information higher on this page.
  • Aftermath: After your CoolSculpting procedure, you can return to your normal activities right away. You will probably need more than one procedure for the best results.
  • Recovery: Most patients only experience minor pain and bruising from CoolSculpting, which goes away in a few days. You can expect final results after several procedures over a few weeks or months. Your results will be permanent but if you overeat, nearby areas will still gain fat over time, so it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Request a CoolSculpting Consultation

Do you dream about improving your appearance with CoolSculpting? Dr. Smita R. Ramanadham can help you eliminate unwanted, stubborn fat with this safe, non-invasive procedure.

In your consultation, Dr. Ramanadham will review the options with you, as well as your goals and more, to find out if you’re a good candidate for CoolSculpting.


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