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CoolSculpting®

What is CoolSculpting®?

coolsculpting-logoCoolSculpting® is an exciting new technology that has crossed into the frontier of non-invasive, permanent fat reduction. Until now, the only scientifically-backed, FDA-approved options to permanently remove stubborn pockets of fat involved surgeries such as liposuction and/or tissue excision. Alternatively, CoolSculpting® has emerged as the only non-surgical technique approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to successfully diminish fat in the abdomen, “love handles” (flanks), and lower back without the use of anesthesia or a trip to the operating room.

The treatment is generally comfortable for patients and can also yield fast, measurable, and impressive results with less bruising and downtime than traditional techniques. In about one hour per treatment area, patients are able to effectively and permanently diminish stubborn bulges of fat with the help of CoolSculpting®.

For more information about CoolSculpting®, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

Science and Safety of CoolSculpting®

Innovated by ZELTIQ®, CoolSculpting® involves a scientific phenomenon called “cryolipolysis,” or the cold-related destruction of fat cells. Adipose cells (fat cells) are uniquely hypersensitive to a specific range of cold temperature – in contrast to skin, nerves, muscles and other structures under the skin – and cryolipolysis works to essentially kill fat cells through cold exposure in a specifically targeted area.

After the CoolSculpting® treatment, adipose cells in the treated area undergo a process called “apoptosis” during which the non-functioning fat cells are removed by the body’s natural elimination systems. Within two to four months following a CoolSculpting® treatment, patients can expect up to 25% reduction of fat in the treatment area, and since our bodies have a fixed number of fat cells, the fat removal in the treated area is permanent.

Who is a Good Candidate for CoolSculpting®?

At our practice, patients will be assessed by Dr. Karen Horton and our experienced Aesthetic Nurse Practitioners, Courtney McSpadden and Lisa Leung, to determine candidacy for non-surgical fat reduction with CoolSculpting®. The ideal candidate is a male or female who is at or near their ideal body weight but still has diet and exercise-resistant fat deposits in their midsection, flanks, or lower back regions. These bulges of fat will generally be noticeably visible and can be “grabbed” with two hands. Although this innovative fat reduction treatment can successfully reduce stubborn fat deposits, it is important to note that CoolSculpting® is not, and should not be considered, an alternative to weight loss.

Learn more about CoolSculpting®, and read a firsthand experience from one of our patients, on our blog.

What to Expect During the CoolSculpting® Treatment

CoolSculpting® treatments are generally performed on both the right and left sides of the body, which are considered two applications. Each application will last about 60 minutes, and two or more applications are often performed on the same day. Most patients only need one or two treatments on a given area to achieve their desired results, but additional treatments on the same area may be performed as early as two months after the first treatment, if necessary.

During the CoolSculpting® treatment, most patients experience a mild sensation of pulling, tugging, or pinching as the handpiece is first applied. Additionally, as the device begins to cool fat cells in treatment area, chilling or mild aching sensations may also occur. These temporary sensitivities will generally fade after a few minutes as the skin is numbed by the treatment. While everyone perceives CoolSculpting® sensations differently, many of our patients have actually fallen asleep during their treatment due to its gentle and comfortable nature!

We typically recommend that patients wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring something to read or watch (such as an iPad, laptop, or book) for entertainment during their treatment. A break is also recommended between treatments in order to use the bathroom, have a snack, or stretch the legs. Bring with you any comfort items you might bring if you were going on a long flight- warm socks, headphones/earbuds, neck pillow, or iPod.

“I just underwent my first CoolSculpting treatment in my priority area of four, the abdomen (the dreaded, tummy belly-fat)! I must say, for me, it was painless, and a not-so-bad experience! There was the initial clamp-down pressure of the hand-piece, but I didn’t feel any pain during the freezing process. I was prepared to go to my happy place, but never needed to, and was able to enjoy the 2 hours of down time being able to relax. Can’t wait to do it again!”

What is the Recovery from CoolSculpting® Like?

Immediately after a CoolSculpting® treatment, patients may notice redness and firmness of the skin, tingling and/or stinging, numbness, sensitivity to the touch, and mild bruising. These symptoms generally do not create any downtime and often fade within a few days. Over a short period of time, numbness should subside and the body will typically begin to clear fat cells that have been injured by the cold through natural processes. Any side effects experienced are usually temporary and harmless.

Compression garments, massaging of the treatment area, and the application of cold packs or warm compresses (not directly against the skin) may provide relief for any discomfort experienced. Additionally, over-the-counter pain medication, such as TYLENOL®, is recommended to alleviate any temporary discomfort. Following treatment, we reassure our patients that these post-treatment symptoms are normal and will generally resolve within a few days.

We do recommend avoiding exercise for 24 hours after treatment, but a full return to work and regular activities can typically be expected the next day. Some patients feel swollen and “jiggly” in the treatment area for a couple of weeks after their CoolSculpting® procedure, in which case you may want to avoid running or jogging during this period of time for your comfort, however walking and strength training are tolerated well.

CoolSculpting® Results

The results of CoolSculpting® are very similar and equally efficacious to those achieved through liposuction, often with the added benefits of no downtime, no scarring, no anesthesia, and less post-operative swelling and bruising. Additionally, results will usually be fully apparent within two months after treatment and all removal of fat cells in the targeted area will be permanent.

Before-and-After Photos for CoolSculpting®

See below for before-and-after photos of patients who have received CoolSculpting®.

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Want to learn more about CoolSculpting®?

To learn more about CoolSculpting®, please contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Horton, Courtney McSpadden, NP or Lisa Leung, NP.

Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA