CoolSculpting 101: Freeze Away Unwanted Fat

Are you tired of stubborn fat that just won’t budge, no matter how much you diet or exercise? You’re not alone. Many of us struggle with troublesome areas, whether it’s the belly, thighs, or the ever-dreaded ‘love handles.’ That’s where CoolSculpting enters the picture.

CoolSculpting freezes away unwanted fat with zero surgery and minimal downtime. As a leading local plastic surgeon offering this advanced procedure, we’re here to guide you through the ins and outs of CoolSculpting – your potential pathway to achieving the shape you’ve always desired. Welcome to CoolSculpting 101.

How Does CoolSculpting Work?

CoolSculpting is a brand name for a process called cryolipolysis. This is a process by which target areas of fat on the body and cool/freeze the area to eliminate fat cells. The first step is to place a gel pad on the targeted area, and we then use the CoolSculpting applicator to deliver controlled intense cold to the fat cells.

Once these cells are frozen, they will die off and your body will naturally process the dead fat cells and eliminate them. No other types of cells are affected by the treatment, only fat cells in the treatment area.

It’s important to understand, however, that you will not see results instantly. It does take several months after treatment to see the full results because it takes time for the dead fat cells to be eliminated by our bodies.

The results of CoolSculpting are permanent as these treated fat cells cannot regenerate. However, if you gain weight, any remaining fat cells can increase in size, which will affect the appearance of the treated area. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to preserve the results of the treatment.

What Does CoolSculpting Target?

We most commonly use Coolsculpting to target areas such as the abdomen and the thighs, as these are areas where pockets of stubborn fat often are found. We also can use CoolSculpting to treat your flanks (love handles) as well as the upper arms and some areas on your back. Some people also use CoolSculpting to treat a double chin or the area below the jawline.

CoolSculpting is not a weight-loss procedure. This procedure is only meant to be used on patients that are already at a healthy, well-maintained weight. CoolSculpting targets areas where, despite concentrated exercise, the fat pockets remain. Exercise typically reduces the size of fat cells, but CoolSculpting actually eliminates the cells permanently.

Is Cool Sculpting Safe?

CoolSculpting is FDA-approved and low-risk, although there can be a few side effects. These include some mild pain or tenderness at the treatment site,  as well as numbness, redness and/or swelling. This typically resolves in just a few days or at most a few weeks after treatment. Numbness is probably the most common issue our patients report, but, again, this should resolve within a few weeks at most.

Is CoolSculpting Painful?

Generally, most patients experience little to no discomfort from this procedure. Most of our patients simply relax and rest, read or scroll through their phones during the procedure. The sensation typically feels like someone is applying ice packs to your body, and, of course, everyone experiences pain differently, but most people experience no pain and are able to return to normal activities right away.

Who Is A Good Candidate?

In general, if you are a healthy adult that is maintaining a consistent, healthy weight, you may be a good candidate for CoolSculpting. If you have certain health conditions, such as paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria or cold urticaria, it is not recommended that you undergo the procedure. Please let our staff know about all of the health conditions you face as well as all medications and supplements you are taking, as this can ensure that we find procedures that are the best fit for you.

What About At-Home CoolSculpting?

While we see a lot of buzz online about DIY cool sculpting at home, we absolutely do not recommend this approach. This option can be extremely dangerous, and lead to tissue damage and frostbite. Additionally, while you can damage your body, you also won’t be able to actually get rid of any unwanted fat cells.

It might seem tempting and cost-effective to attempt cool sculpting at home, but there is a huge risk of injury. While CoolSculpting procedures do come with a high price tag (albeit much less expensive than a tummy tuck), if you truly want to see great results, it’s always best to have this procedure done at a board-certified plastic surgeon’s. This is not only going to yield the best results but also is the safest option, by far.

What About A Tummy Tuck? Liposuction?

Cool Sculpting allows you to improve your look without surgery and without any downtime. However, as a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Thaxton also can provide patients with tummy tuck surgery or liposuction.

Liposuction also removes fat cells from the body, but this is a surgical procedure that will include downtime and you will experience some level of pain after this procedure. Liposuction can be a good option if you need more body-contouring than CoolSculpting alone could fix or if you want to reduce fat cells in areas where we typically cannot use the CoolSculpting procedure.

We often combine liposuction with fat transfer. For instance, if you want to remove stubborn areas of fat in the abdomen but would like to add volume to your breasts or buttocks, then liposuction along with augmentation might be a good option to consider.

A tummy tuck is considered a major surgery with extensive downtime, but it can be an excellent option if you have an excess of sagging skin as CoolSculpting and liposuction cannot address these issues. Tummy tucks often are part of what is known as Mommy Makeover surgery, to reduce the impact made by childbearing. With this surgery, we can provide you with a tummy tuck as well as breast augmentation and other procedures.

Again, with all three of these procedures, you need to be already at a healthy weight and have maintained that weight for several months or years. If you plan to become pregnant in the future, it is recommended that you skip these procedures until a year or so after you have finished your childbearing years.

Book A CoolSculpting Consult Today!

If you are interested in learning more about CoolSculpting and whether or not it’s a good fit for you, give us a call to set up a consultation. In addition to CoolSculpting, we have a wide variety of non-invasive treatments that can help you look at feel your best, including Botox, Juvéderm, Morpheus 8, fibroblasting, Cellfina, ThermiSmooth and much more.