Freeze! What You Need to Know About Coolsculpting Before You Go
I don’t know about you, but I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard of CoolSculpting over the radio. Did I know what it meant? No. However, I did know that it was 20% off in the latest special.
Unlike treatments such as laser hair removal, CoolSculpting doesn’t seem to be as straightforward or intuitive in terms of hinting at what the procedure entails. What does it mean? Who is CoolSculpting for? Never fear. Mirra is here to answer all of your questions.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolScupting is the layman’s term for cryolipolysis, a non-invasive, FDA-approved procedure for removing stubborn fat (2). It’s been around since 2010. Experts utilize CoolSculpting technology to freeze and essentially eliminate fat cells. After treatments, CoolSculpting can reduce your chosen area’s fat percentage by approximately 25% (4).
CoolSculpting doesn’t give visible results right away, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as effective. The body contouring method decreases the risk of sagging skin that you might see in liposuction, where your skin’s elasticity can’t keep up. Due to CoolSculpting’s gradual nature, the skin is given time to retract and recover effectively (8).
Who is CoolSculpting for?
Despite popular belief, CoolSculpting is not meant to be used for large-area fat reduction or for weight loss. Specialists recommend CoolSculpting for healthy and active individuals with stubborn fat (2). According to the website, CoolSculpting is best for pinchable fat under the chin, under the jawline, under the butt, thigh area, stomach area, bra fat, back fat, and upper arm fat (2).
CoolSculpting is not recommended for those with “cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria” (2). When you go in for a consultation, a specialist will further evaluate your skin condition to see if you are a good fit.
Is it Safe?
CoolSculpting is generally accepted as a safe, and relatively low-risk procedure (4). Because it is non-surgical, there is no downtime after it’s done.
These side effects are not permanent but can range from anywhere from days to weeks to even months in some cases (3). And in rare situations, a 0.0051 percent chance, your fat cells might even expand due to paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (3).
Is CoolSculpting Permanent?
While CoolSculpting is generally recognized as a permanent fat reduction procedure, it does not mean that we are immune from gaining the fat back (4). Confusing?
Well, the targeted fat cells in your body are technically gone forever. However, if we gain weight that’s not from muscle, new fat cells can develop. The key to maintaining your results is to keep a consistent and healthy lifestyle.
You don’t need to go to a hospital to get CoolSculpting! (*peanut gallery applause*) This cosmetic procedure is widely available at medical spas, cosmetic surgery clinics, and dermatologists. Just make sure the place is reputable and knowledgeable to avoid counterfeit treatments (9).
When you go in for your appointment, specialists will apply a clear gel to your targeted area and then use their vacuum-like devices. The machine will “freeze” the area, so you might experience a tingly, pinching sensation before the area becomes numb.
The treatment can be up to two hours depending on your chosen area (4). But because you’re sitting in a chair, feel free to bring something to do during that time like a book to read or work to do. After you’re done, you’ll get a short massage on the treated area to aid the fat reduction process. Some people say that the massage is probably the worst part of the process when it comes to comfort level (9).
While it’s generally advertised that ‘one treatment is all you’ll need’, it may take multiple sessions to see results. In terms of breaks in between appointments, CoolSculpting is pretty similar to laser hair removal with the six to eight week benchmark.
Visually, it’ll take up to four weeks to see a difference, but it can be up to twelve weeks or more until you see a big change (4). During this period, your body is working to shed those targeted fat cells.
Regarding the recovery process, there’s no prescription medication that you have to take because it’s a non-invasive procedure. However, if you feel pain or discomfort, you can take some mild pain medication and massage the area (1).
CoolSculpting vs SculpSure vs Liposuction
If you’ve researched CoolSculpting before, the chances are, you’d have seen other fat-reduction options such as SculpSure and liposuction. While these procedures may be similar in nature and in the areas treated, they are actually quite different.
The logic behind CoolSculpting is that fat cells are susceptible to temperature. SculpSure, which broke into the market in 2017, uses this same logic but in the opposite direction. SculpSure is a non-invasive, FDA-approved procedure that removes stubborn fat by using lasers (6). Treatment is about 25 minutes and is relatively painless. Like CoolSculptiing, the results come gradually, becoming visible after around six weeks (5).
Compared to CoolSculpting, SculpSure can have fewer side effects and done on multiple areas rather than just one area at a time (1). Moreover, SculpSure works on pinchable and non-pinchable areas of fat. But again, the ideal candidate leads a healthy and active lifestyle, as SculpSure isn’t a weight-loss treatment.
On the other hand, liposuction is a surgical procedure meant to remove larger areas of excess fat. Surgeons put you under and use tubes to suction the fat from your body (9). The results can be seen immediately, but recovery takes a longer amount of time. But unlike the CoolSculpting and SculpSure, liposuction does not treat cellulite (7). Another caveat to liposuction is that it’s not meant to treat excess skin, so you may need to follow up with other surgical procedures.
CoolSculpting is for those who can’t seem to exercise out certain areas of stubborn fat. It’s no small sum, and it could be for naught if you don’t keep up an active lifestyle. That being said, CoolSculpting is a great alternative to liposuction. The procedure has no downtime and is better for contouring the body. If you’re still not sure if CoolSculpting is right for you, be sure to seek out a consultation to learn if you are a good candidate.
Written by Jessica Lu
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