CoolSculpting is Great When . . .

Shondra L Smith, MD In the past few years, we’ve heard about CoolSculpting so much that we may think we’ve heard a lot about CoolSculpting. The two are very different. This fat-reduction treatment can be an excellent solution for stubborn fat that isn’t responding to normal diet and exercise. However, we also have to say that there’s a catch. That CoolSculpting isn’t right in every situation. We want patients to know what this technology can do and what it cannot do so they make the right decision for their needs.

Before you schedule CoolSculpting treatment, here’s what you should know.

CoolSculpting achieves cryolipolysis, the destruction of fat cells via freezing. During an average treatment session, which can take about 45-minutes, an applicator draws fatty tissue up into cooling panels. The fat cools substantially without causing skin damage. After the treatment is complete, the targeted cells form fat crystals. This causes damage to the cells’ membranes, so the body flushes them. Results take about 12 weeks to reach their peak. Sounds easy enough, but there’s more you should know.

  • CoolSculpting doesn’t help weight loss. Cryolipolysis achieves the best results in localized areas such as the thighs, bra line, chin, and abdomen. Patients notice a difference, just not on the scale.
  • There are different kinds of fat. CoolSculpting treats the subcutaneous fat just beneath the skin. Visceral fat, which forms deep in the abdomen, cannot be removed with CoolSculpting. In fact, the only way to get rid of visceral fat (and you want to get rid of it) is with a healthy lifestyle.
  • You want to pinch an inch. If you can pinch fatty tissue between your fingers, you can be fairly certain that the CoolSculpting applicator will hold fat as needed to freeze it.
  • Loose skin has got to go, but it won’t with CoolSculpting. Cold temperatures have a particular effect on fat but have no effect on the skin. The CoolSculpting device reaches temperatures that are tough on fat but gentle on the skin, so don’t expect any tightening to occur. If you have loose skin, we can suggest other modalities to correct this problem.

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