What is CoolSculpting?
The Definitive Guide for Orlando Patients…
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared body-contouring procedure that reduces the volume of fat cells underneath the skin by freezing the fat, which causes the cells to crystallize and die. Once the cells are dead, they are naturally processed by the body and disposed of, leaving the treated area looking more sculpted and smooth, producing impressive before and after results.
The phenomenon was first discovered when Harvard University scientists observed that children would develop dimples after eating popsicles. They realized that the cold from the popsicles was destroying fat cells in the children’s cheeks and saw the potential for cold therapy to remove stubborn pockets of fat from adult bodies.
The CoolSculpting Procedure
For Orlando patients seeking CoolSculpting, the procedure is completely non-invasive, making it much safer than surgical fat removal. It is performed in our Winter Park, Florida office, and it typically takes anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour or more, depending on what types of applicators are used and how many areas of the body are treated in a single session. The CoolSculpting system uses paddle-shaped applicators that fit around the skin being treated and suction the skin so that the underlying fat will be close to the paddles. The paddles cool the skin down to a temperature of about 4 degrees Celsius, which is cold enough to kill fat cells without doing any harm to the skin or surrounding internal tissue.
How CoolSculpting Works
First of all, CoolSculpting targets subcutaneous fat, or soft fat that is under the surface of the skin, rather than visceral fat, which is firm to the touch and located deeper inside the body. Visceral fat can only be reduced through dieting and exercise, while subcutaneous pockets of fat often remain in spite of weight loss. However, subcutaneous fat tends to respond well to cryolipolysis. To freeze the fat cells, the CoolSculpting applicators cool the skin by removing heat at a constant rate. Fat cells freeze at a higher temperature than skin, which means that the skin does not need to reach the freezing point or even come close to it. In fact, one study found that during a CoolSculpting treatment, the fat layer reached a significantly lower temperature than the outer skin. When the cells reach a cold enough temperature, they crystallize and begin to die. For most patients, cell death begins a few days after the treatment and the process of death and elimination continues for several months.
What to Expect Before Your Treatment
The first step in reducing fat through CoolSculpting is to meet with a physician or other medical professional who is trained in the procedure. During this consultation, you and your physician will discuss your personal goals for your body contour and evaluate which methods are most appropriate. Many doctors take a holistic approach and may recommend a combination of treatments as well as lifestyle changes that will work together to help you achieve the results you desire. Before getting started with CoolSculpting treatments, it is important to clarify what areas of the body you want to work on, how many treatments you will need, and what results you are likely to obtain. Your doctor will most likely take photographs as well as measurements so that you can measure your progress.
What To Expect On The Day Of The Treatment
Once you and your doctor have made a treatment plan, you’ll schedule your first appointment for CoolSculpting. You should stop taking blood thinners, including aspirin, a few days before the treatment in order to reduce the chance of bruising, but otherwise you will not need to make any changes to your diet or habits. On the day of the appointment, you should wear loose and comfortable clothing and bring a change of clothing, since the gel pad used underneath the CoolSculpting applicator may cause any clothes you’re wearing during the procedure to get wet.
When the procedure begins, you’ll have a thin gel pack applied to your skin where the applicator will be used. The applicator will then be applied to the targeted area, where it will gradually cool the skin to about 4 degrees Celsius, which is found to be the optimal temperature. For most parts of the body, the applicator will suction and compress the skin so that the fat cells will be as close as possible to the cooling element. Once the applicator is in place, you’ll be able to relax while the machine does all the work. You’re unlikely to feel any significant pain, though you may feel a pulling sensation from the suction. Most patients are able to read, watch TV, or even sleep during a CoolSculpting treatment. When the applicator is removed, the doctor or technician will also massage the treated area for about two minutes to help break down the fat cells. This brief massage has been shown to make a significant difference in the outcome of a CoolSculpting treatment, improving results by up to 60%. Once the procedure is finished, you’ll be free to go about your daily activities with no restrictions.
What To Expect After Your CoolSculpting Treatment
A single CoolSculpting treatment can remove from 20% to 25% of the fat cells in the targeted area after one session, but results aren’t visible immediately. The fat cells die and are eliminated from the body gradually, usually over a period of weeks, and it can take up to four months to see full results. After a treatment, the targeted area may be swollen and you may feel tingling, tenderness, or numbness in the skin. These symptoms typically resolve within one to three weeks. If you experience swelling, you may feel more comfortable wearing a compression garment as your body processes the dead cells. However, you should avoid taking anti-inflammatory medicines, like Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil or Motrin) or Naproxen (e.g. Aleve or Midol), for at least six weeks following a CoolSculpting treatment because inflammation actually aids the body in eliminating the dead fat cells.
Is CoolSculpting Safe?
CoolSculpting is considered a very safe procedure not only by the doctors who perform it but also by the FDA. The federal agency charged with protecting public health by ensuring food and drug safety has cleared CoolSculpting for treatment of nine different areas of the body, including the waist, the abdomen, the inner thighs, the outer thighs, the double-chin area, around the bra line, the back, the upper arms, and the jaw line.
The procedure is completely non-invasive, meaning that it doesn’t break the skin barrier in any way. Not only is there no incision, but the cold temperature used to freeze the fat is not cold enough to damage or irritate the skin. Thus, patients have no risk of infection. In addition, no anesthesia or pain medication is required, so there is no risk of a negative reaction to a drug. Since CoolSculpting was first introduced in 2010, millions of treatments have been performed and clinical studies have supported the technology as a safe and reliable method of reducing fat.
What Are CoolSculpting Side Effects?
Many patients report experiencing one or more mild side effects immediately after the surgery, including swelling and redness, firmness in the treated skin, numbness, mild to moderate soreness, tingling, itching, and mild bruising. Patients who have a treatment that uses suction are more likely to experience these symptoms, which will go away on their own. Patients report immediate side effects lasting anywhere from a few minutes to one week.
There are also some more serious side effects that occur very rarely. These include moderate to severe pain that starts several days after a treatment and lasts for up to several weeks; first-degree and second-degree freeze burn; a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate that can lead to dizziness, nausea, and fainting; the development of hard bumps under the skin; temporary skin discoloration; hernia; and paradoxical hyperplasia, which is a growth or thickening of the tissue that was treated. This last complication is extremely rare, occurring in just a tiny fraction of a percent of patients.
To minimize risks from the procedure, make sure to choose a doctor that is trained and experienced in using the CoolSculpting system.
One of the biggest advantages of CoolSculpting over surgical fat removal is the fact that it requires no downtime. Patients are free to resume their normal daily activities right away, even including a trip to the gym. Since there is no incision that needs to heal and no need for anesthesia, patients don’t need any recovery time, and they don’t need to follow any special precautions. In fact, a lot of patients make appointments during their work day and go back to work right after a treatment.
The Difference Between Fat Reduction vs. Weight Loss
Fat reduction and weight loss are very different processes with different goals. First of all, it’s important to understand that fat cells are simply containers that can hold a little or a lot of fat. Weight loss occurs when fat cells are partially emptied out and reduced in size; however, the number of fat cells in the body tends to remain the same over time. Even people who lose large amounts of weight generally keep the same number of fat cells. Overall weight loss is best achieved through a combination of dieting and exercise, and sustained weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes.
Fat reduction, which is the goal of CoolSculpting, is the process of eliminating fat cells from a specific area of the body. The best candidates for fat reduction are people who are already at a healthy weight and just want to reshape their body due to stubborn pockets of fat that don’t respond to dieting. Fat reduction cannot substitute for weight loss, and it is not a treatment for obesity. Furthermore, it is not very effective for people who are likely to gain weight after their treatment plan is finished. While CoolSculpting does remove fat cells permanently, patients who eat a high-calorie diet can easily regain fat in existing cells, causing those cells to expand. However, a benefit that many CoolSculpting patients have discovered is that the weight they gain after a treatment does not go back automatically to the bulge or pocket of fat that they reduced. Instead, new fat tends to be dispersed more evenly throughout the body.
The main benefits of CoolSculpting compared with other fat reduction methods can be summarized as follows.
CoolSculpting is safe
Since the product has been on the market for nearly a decade and has gained worldwide popularity, there is a lot of evidence available to support its safety. While there is the potential for side effects, they tend to be very mild and brief in duration. Long-term complications are extremely rare.
CoolSculpting is non-invasive
CoolSculpting requires no needles or incisions and patients do not need any kind of anesthesia or pain medication to undergo a treatment. Thus, there is no risk of complications due to infection or an adverse drug reaction.
CoolSculpting is easy to tolerate.
Many patients find the procedure to be largely painless. Aside from the tugging sensation caused by an applicator’s suction, most patients feel very little since the cold tends to numb the skin. Most patients are able to relax during a treatment or do other tasks, like checking email.
CoolSculpting does not require downtime.
Unlike liposuction and some other fat reduction methods, CoolSculpting requires no downtime whatsoever. Patients can resume normal activities, including work and exercise, immediately after a treatment.
CoolSculpting offers fat reduction.
The cells removed through cryolipolysis do not grow back, and even if patients gain a little weight after the procedure, the weight tends to be distributed evenly. Thus, patients who have struggled to get rid of a bulge that does not go away with diet and exercise are able to get very satisfying long-term results.
Patients can get results after a single treatment.
Most patients are able to see a noticeable difference after just one CoolSculpting treatment, and some people are able to achieve their fat reduction goal without any further treatments. Others may need one or two follow-ups. Either way, the number of treatments needed is small and patients can expect to see results in a matter of months.
Maximizing CoolSculpting Results
While CoolSculpting removes targeted fat cells, it isn’t a weight loss solution. Patients who report the highest levels of satisfaction with their CoolSculpting treatments are those who have been able to maintain their weight at the time of treatment. When patients gain a lot of weight after CoolSculpting, their bulges can eventually return since the remaining fat cells swell as new fat tissue accumulates. Thus, the key to maximizing the results of CoolSculpting is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a proper diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. The following are a few specific recommendations that can help you maintain your slimmer physique.
1. Eat a healthy diet.
Make sure to eat the right number of calories to maintain your current weight, and stick to whole foods as much as possible. Highly processed foods such as packaged bread, pizza, snacks, cookies, frozen meals, and reconstituted meats are known to be particularly obesigenic, meaning that they trigger excess weight gain. Healthier options are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat.
2. Stay active.
It is not necessary to start an intensive exercise program in order to maintain CoolSculpting results; however, it is beneficial to stay reasonably active and fit in order to keep the muscles toned. Daily walks, yoga, and Pilates are all good ways to stay fit. Your doctor can recommend a fitness program that is best suited to your individual needs.
3. Drink plenty of water.
Not only does water provide necessary hydration and flush out toxins, it also helps to cleanse the body of the dead fat cells that need to be eliminated. Furthermore, water is a natural appetite suppressant and metabolism booster.
4. Get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
Scientists have long been aware of a connection between sleeping well and maintaining a healthy weight. According to one study, adults who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night have a higher body mass index than those who sleep for at least seven hours each night, and they are also more likely to be obese.
Fortunately, even when patients gain a little weight after a CoolSculpting treatment, the fat they gain tends to be distributed evenly around their body rather than re-forming the targeted bulge or pocket of fat right away.
Expected Results And Time Frame
Studies have shown that one CoolSculpting treatment can eliminate anywhere from 20 to 25% of the fat cells in the treated area. In a small treatment area, the change is not dramatic but rather leads gradually to a slimmer contour in a very natural-looking way. This method of fat reduction does not promote weight loss; however, many patients are able to wear a smaller size of clothing after reducing bulges. Be aware that changes in size and shape don’t appear right away. In fact, immediately after a treatment, the targeted area is likely to be swollen. However, this effect is only temporary.
After fat cells have been exposed to cold during a CoolSculpting session, they begin to crystallize and die. This part of the process begins in one to three days after a treatment and progresses gradually for several months, as the dead cells are eliminated from the body. Most people start seeing noticeable results after a week or two, and they can see full results after two to four months. Patients typically have between one and three treatments on a particular area, scheduling the appointments approximately one month apart.
CoolSculpting For A Double Chin
In many people, a layer of fat develops underneath the chin, forming the “double chin” look. While overall weight gain can lead to a double chin, quite a few people who are at a healthy weight can accumulate fat in this area due to a genetic tendency. Fat under the chin, also known as submental fat, seems to be particularly resistant to weight loss. CoolSculpting, however, can be used effectively to reduce submental fat and decrease the appearance of a double chin. An extra-small CoolSculpting applicator designed specifically to treat submental fat fits under the chin and suctions the skin and underlying fat so that a maximum number of fat cells can be exposed to the cooling treatment. Most patients notice a significant improvement after just one to two treatments.
Some Cool… CoolSculpting Facts
1. CoolSculpting is the number one fat reducing treatment all over the world. Currently, more than 7 million treatments have been done in 65 different countries.
2. Doctors, nurse practitioners, and technicians who use CoolSculpting must go through an intensive training course from Zeltiq Aesthetics (an Allergan affiliate), the manufacturer. Training and certification ensures that all CoolSculpting procedures are performed safely.
3. The idea of freezing fat, or cryolipolysis, grew from a phenomenon known as “popsicle panniculitis,” which is observed in young children. When children eat popsicles, the fat cells stored in their cheeks can become inflamed and as the cells die, dimples form.
4. Freezing fat cells triggers two mechanisms: necrosis and apoptosis. Necrosis is immediate cell death due to injury or inflammation, while apoptosis is scheduled cell death. Apoptosis makes the fat loss after a CoolSculpting treatment both gradual and natural.
5. CoolSculpting is rated more highly by patients than other non-surgical fat-reduction procedures. The majority of CoolSculpting patients report a high level of satisfaction months after their treatment.
6. CoolSculpting can work for anyone who meets the basic screening criteria. In other words, it’s an appropriate fat-reduction method for both men and women (over the age of eighteen), regardless of body type, age, size, or fitness level.
If you’re considering CoolSculpting to help you get rid of stubborn fat deposits, talk to a medical professional who is trained and certified to use the CoolSculpting system. Your doctor can help you determine whether you are a good candidate for CoolSculpting and whether CoolSculpting is the right approach to help you achieve your body-contouring goals.
The technology used to freeze fat was first invented by Rox Anderson, a doctor and professor of health sciences at MIT. He tested a prototype on pigs in a 2009 clinical trial, and the results were promising. Juniper Medical, which later became Zeltiq Aesthetics, Inc. (an Allergan affiliate), licensed the patent and sold the early devices to dermatologists for the purpose of numbing the patient’s skin before a procedure. However, by 2010, the product had been cleared by the FDA to be used for fat reduction. The company has continued to develop the technology over the years, introducing different types of applicators for different fat removal goals. Zeltiq’s most recent innovation is an applicator that doesn’t require suction and can be used on flatter, less pinchable fat. CoolSculpting technology is available for use by any medical practice that specializes in cosmetic and body-contouring procedures.
How Is CoolSculpting Applied?
CoolSculpting is applied through a variety of applicators. Applicators come in a range of shapes and sizes to accommodate different bodies and to best access different types of fat. For example, the CoolAdvantageTM applicator is an excellent option for larger areas, such as the waist, abdomen, and inner thighs. For the upper arms, on the other hand, there is the CoolAdvantageTM Petite, which is better suited to gripping a small, vertical section of fat. The CoolMiniTM is the smallest applicator, and it’s designed to treat submental fat underneath the chin. For fat that can not be easily pinched or suctioned, like fat on the outer thighs, there is now a new flat applicator called the CoolSmooth PROTM. When doctors have multiple applicators available, patients may be able to treat multiple areas at the same time.
How Does CoolSculpting Compare to Other Body-Contouring Procedures?
Body-contouring procedures are increasingly sought after these days, and there are many options to choose from. The following are some of the other methods of getting rid of localized fat and a brief description of their advantages and disadvantages compared with CoolSculpting.
Unlike CoolSculpting, liposuction is a surgical procedure that requires the use of anesthesia and an incision in the body. With liposuction, doctors can remove a significantly larger volume of fat than with cryolipolysis. The disadvantages of liposuction compared with CoolSculpting include the higher cost, the higher risk of complications and side effects, and the longer recovery period.
Another method of reducing fat is laser lipolysis, which uses laser energy to heat fat cells, which are sensitive to both heat and cold. An advantage of this method is that it can help to tighten skin by promoting the production of collagen. However, while CoolSculpting causes no damage to surrounding tissue, this can be an issue with laser lipolysis. The heat from the laser can potentially damage nerve cells and blood vessels, making it a higher risk procedure. It also requires the use of anesthesia, and patients have a longer recovery time than with CoolSculpting.
Radiofrequency Waves For Fat Reduction
Radiofrequency waves are another way of using heat energy to target fat cells. This method combines heat and vibration to destroy and break down fat cells. Radiofrequency waves for fat reduction can also help with skin tightening by increasing collagen production. There are several different products on the market that target fat with radiofrequency energy, but they tend to require more frequent treatments or offer less effective fat reduction results.
Ultrasound For Fat Reduction
Another method of reducing localized fat is to target the fat with ultra-high-frequency sound waves. This form of energy, just like heat and cold, can destroy fat cells and cause them to be eliminated from the body. The main disadvantage of this method is the fact that it is only approved for use on the abdomen and not on any other part of the body. In addition, many patients report that it is quite painful, even when they take pain medication before the procedure.