All Of Your CoolSculpting Questions, Answered

CoolSculpting is a popular, if not the most popular, nonsurgical body sculpting procedure in the US. And it’s easy to see why this is the case. This simple treatment can eliminate up to 25% of fat in the treatment zone after a single session. What’s more, this noninvasive treatment does not involve incisions, anesthesia or long recovery periods. But most importantly, once the fat is removed with CoolSculpting, it’s gone for good.

If you’ve heard about CoolSculpting and want to experience the benefits of this popular treatment yourself, you probably have many questions. While popular and clinically proven to be effective, CoolSculpting has risks like any procedure and it is not for everyone. To help you decide whether this treatment is for you, here are answers to all your burning CoolSculpting questions.

Does CoolSculpting Really Work?

In short, yes! CoolSculpting is a branded form of fat reduction called cryolipolysis that has been carefully studied for efficiency ever since first being introduced in 2007.

A 2009 study, for example, involving 10 subjects that were treated with cryolipolysis found that the subjects had 25% less fat in the treatment area after six months. A larger study looking into surveys from multiple treatment centers found that 85% of the participating patients said the treatment was effective. And as far as durability is concerned, there are two case studies where the patients maintained their improved contours five years after treatment, even though they gained weight.

How Does CoolSculpting Work?

CoolSculpting eliminates fat in nine different zones by freezing it. Areas we can treat with CoolSculpting include the abdomen, flanks, thighs, banana rolls (under the buttocks), upper arms, back, bra area, chin and neck.

Researchers in the 1970s discovered that fat is more sensitive to cold temperatures than surrounding water-rich tissues. Cooling fat to around 39°F causes fat cells to die, while muscle, skin, blood vessels and nerves remain unaffected. These fat cells are then gradually removed by the body’s waste elimination system over several weeks.

Once the fat cells are gone, studies show that they are gone for good. New fat cells will not grow in the treated area. However, the fat cells that remain in the area can expand and shrink with weight fluctuations. This means that, even though you will still be able to gain weight following CoolSculpting, your improved shape should remain.

What Happens During CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting takes place in a dedicated treatment room. There, you will sit or recline in a comfortable chair while your provider places a gel pad on the treatment area, followed by the CoolSculpting applicator.

The CoolSculpting device has a cup-shaped applicator with cooling panels that are placed on the treatment site. The applicator uses moderate suction to draw in the skin and underlying fat. The device then emits cool temperatures while its sensors monitor the temperature of the tissue. You do not have to do anything except relax.

The whole treatment takes 45 minutes to three hours, depending on how large of an area and how many areas are being treated. Because treatment can take some time, we frequently recommend bringing a book, music or other forms of entertainment to keep yourself occupied.

Does CoolSculpting Hurt?

The treatment itself is not painful. Most patients report a feeling of tugging, stinging or aching that is due to the combination of vacuum suction and cooling. Immediately after treatment, your provider will likely massage the treatment area for about two minutes. Some patients experience mild discomfort during this step. The short massaging was found to greatly stimulate fat breakdown and speed up recovery, which is why it is included in the treatment.

During your recovery, you may experience mild swelling, bruising and numbness. Very rarely, some patients report persistent pain or unusual changes in sensation. In most cases, side effects are minimal and resolve on their own after a few days.

When Will I See Results from CoolSculpting?

Unlike liposuction, where results are visible immediately, the results from CoolSculpting take a while to reveal themselves. That is because CoolSculpting does not physically remove unwanted fat like liposuction. Instead, it involves freezing fat cells noninvasively so the body’s lymphatic system can take care of the removal part.

Immediately after treatment and for two to four weeks, you will notice some swelling in the treatment area. This is due to inflammation triggered by the now-frozen fat cells. Over the coming weeks, the swelling will subside, and the treated fat cells will be eliminated from your body. Your new slimmer and more contoured shape will then be noticeable.

How Can I Tell If CoolSculpting Is Right for Me?

The ideal candidate for CoolSculpting and other body contouring procedures is at or near their ideal body weight. That is because this treatment can remove only a limited amount of fat, so the results are usually most visible in those who require only a small amount of fat to be removed.

Additionally, ideal candidates should not have a condition that makes them sensitive to cold (e.g., cryoglobulinemia, cold urticaria or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria). Patients with poor circulation in the treatment area or hernia should also avoid this treatment.

Individuals seeking treatment for obesity are also not good candidates for CoolSculpting. This is not a weight loss treatment, and it cannot replace traditional weight loss strategies.

Does CoolSculpting Work on Cellulite?

CoolSculpting is not the preferred treatment for this skin condition.

Cellulite is the result of the connective tissues underneath the skin pulling the skin and herniation of the underlying fat. While cellulite may be more visible if you have excess fat in the thigh and buttock area, even very lean folks can have cellulite. And although removing excess fat may lead to a reduced appearance of cellulite, some people notice worsening in the appearance of their cellulite after CoolSculpting.

For simultaneous fat and cellulite removal, a study involving 50 patients combined CoolSculpting with shock wave therapy. The results showed improvement in both, suggesting CoolSculpting should be combined with a treatment that causes the remodeling of skin collagen for cellulite treatment.

If you are interested in cellulite removal, ask your provider about our treatment options.

We hope to see you soon at Wink Medical Aesthetics! To learn more about CoolSculpting or one of our other body contouring options, call 512-263-2400 to schedule your consultation.

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