Given all the modern day luxuries that have resulted from technological advancements, it was only a matter of time before a non-surgical fat reduction device was developed. Well, that time has come. Born from the observations that kids who ate a lot of popsicles had less fat in their cheeks and that people exposed to extreme cold had less fat in areas that suffered frostbite injuries, scientists from Harvard developed CoolSculpting®, a non-invasive treatment to target those diet- and exercise-resistant bulges we all want to lose.
CoolSculpting® uses controlled cooling to freeze targeted fat cells, which then go on to die. This process does not result in any injury to the skin or any non-fat tissues. Once the cell dies, your body’s immune system metabolizes the dead fat cells over the following three months. The device is FDA-approved to treat the abdomen and flanks, however we believe we can also safely and effectively treat back rolls, inner thighs, and upper arms. Using the device to treat these other areas is considered an off-label indication. This would be analogous to treating the forehead with Botox®, which is an everyday use of the product, despite it only being FDA-approved for treating the glabellar and crow’s feet regions.
What is the process like?
The process is easy and simple. It begins with a consultation where your plastic surgeon will take your medical history and examine you to decide if you are a good candidate for the treatment. It is important to remember that CoolSculpting® will yield the best results* for areas with specific bulges and not for a more generalized accumulation of fat. Patients with loose skin and or significant fat accumulation may be better candidates for surgical treatments such as liposuction or abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). This is why it is important to have the procedure performed under the supervision of a qualified plastic surgeon who understands the limitations of CoolSculpting® so you do not end up paying for and undergoing procedures that will not give you the results* you are expecting.
Once it is determined that you are a good candidate, a personalized treatment plan will be developed for you. You and your surgeon will work together during this process to target areas that bother you and that could be expected to respond well to CoolSculpting®. At the end of this process, we will tell you how many treatments would be required. Each treatment, which targets a focused area (such as the lower abdomen, the left flank, the right upper abdomen, etc.), takes one hour. Most patients undergo 3-4 treatments, but as few as one treatment and as many as ten treatments have been performed on a single patient. These series of treatments can be performed over multiple sessions, and the same area can be treated more than once.
After the treatment, it is normal to experience some numbness, mild soreness, mild swelling, and mild bruising. These symptoms may last for a couple of weeks and should not prevent you from returning to your regular activities, including exercise.
CoolSculpting® sounds a little too good to be true, but based on what we have seen, it is the real deal. If you have a bulge that has been bothering you for years, and diet and exercise haven’t gotten rid of it, there is finally a safe way to address the problem without surgery or downtime. And because your consultation is complimentary, there really is no downside to scheduling an appointment with one of the plastic surgeons at the Center for Plastic Surgery to find out if CoolSculpting® is right for you.
*Individual results vary.