coolsculpting

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The CoolSculpting origin story is a pretty wild one that involves two doctors, some frozen treats, and a phenomenon known as “popsicle panniculitis.” Can you kind of see where we’re going here? Basically, the medical field realized there was a bizarre correlation between people eating frozen popsicles – which as you’re probably aware make your mouth hella cold as they slowly melt away – and a reduction of fat within the cheeks.

Intrigued and sensing a real opportunity, two doctors named Dr. Rox Anderson and Dr. Dieter Manstein set out to study the connection between applying cold temperatures to the body and subsequent fat loss. It took some trial and error, but they eventually were able to determine the exact temperature that maximized said fat loss without damaging any other tissue and voila – “cool sculpting” or “CoolSculpting” was born.

In 2010, the FDA gave their stamp of approval to CoolSculpting, and since then loads of people have been able to effectively target unwanted, stubborn fat in a non-invasive way.

How Does CoolSculpting Work, Exactly?

The CoolSculpting technique is pretty straightforward, actually. A small to medium-sized area is targeted with the CoolSculpting device, which freezes the fat in said area.

“Fat freezes at a higher temperature than the overlying skin, so while the fat is frozen during CoolSculpting, the skin is safe. Of that frozen fat, up to 25% of the fat cells in that treatment area die from being frozen, [which results in roughly a 25% reduction of overall fat in the targeted area]. This is called cryolipolysis, which literally means destruction of the fat cell by freezing,” explains Dr. Melinda Haws, a board-certified plastic surgeon based and contributor to RealSelf. “After the CoolSculpting treatment, the body then works to get rid of those destroyed cells – just like they do when your body has any injured cells, such as a bruise.”

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How Long Does It Take to See CoolSculpting Results?

In the same way it takes time for a bruise to heal, it takes time for your body to get rid of those dead fat cells. “Clinical data shows that CoolSculpting results happen in about 12 weeks. However, some people will notice changes in as little as four weeks,” says Marisa Martino, esthetician and founder of NYC’s Skinney MedSpa. As mentioned, many patients see a reduction of about 25% of their fat in the targeted area after one treatment. After those 12 weeks have elapsed, some patients opt to get a second round of CoolSculpting for even more fat reduction.

 

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What Areas Does CoolSculpting Treat?

CoolSculpting is FDA approved for certain parts of the body. Those include the fat pocket under your chin (double chin), upper arms, upper and lower abdomen, back fat (sometimes referred to as bra fat), hips (saddlebags), flanks (love handles), thighs, and the curve under your butt (banana roll).

Who’s The Best Candidate for CoolSculpting?

As you can see from the list of treatable areas, CoolSculpting is intended to treat highly stubborn, small to medium-sized pockets of fat. In that sense, it’s really meant to sculpt your body, per the treatment name, and isn’t going to help in terms of weight loss.

CoolSculpting results after six weeks:

 

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“In most cases, if you can pinch it, we can target it! Anyone who has pinchable fat – about one-inch worth – and is within 30 pounds of their ideal weight is an ideal candidate for CoolSculpting,” says Dr. Jessica Wright, founder of Rejuvenate Austin. She adds, “We don’t treat patients who are more than 30 pounds overweight, and we don’t use Coolsculpting to tighten skin.  Skin tightening can be a nice side effect, but when a patient presents with mostly skin laxity, they may need surgery instead.”

In some cases, CoolSculpting may be approved for patients who are 50 or more pounds overweight who want to reduce friction in their inner thighs and lower belly, says Martino. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is more about alleviating discomfort from the friction and isn’t going to help with weight loss.

What Does a CoolSculpting Treatment Feel Like?

After you’ve had a consultation and have been approved as a candidate for CoolSculpting, let the games — ahem, the chilly treatment — begin.

“At the time of treatment, the patient is comfortably positioned in a reclining chair or table and the CoolSculpting applicator is applied to the target area of fat. The skin and fat in that area are then suctioned up between two metal plates and the temperature is dropped. There is initial pulling, pinching, and maybe discomfort, but that stops once the area cools down. The freezing is also numbing,” says Dr. Haws. “The patient can then read or watch TV for the next 35 minutes or so. Once the applicator is removed, the area feels stiff and frozen like a stick of frozen butter. The Coolsculpting technician will then massage out the firm area and then move the applicator to the new site.”

 

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Note that many facilities have multiple machines and they’ll usually use several at the same time to cut down on how long you’re being treated. At the end of the treatment, the treated area will feel cold (obvi) and be red and even perhaps a bit swollen. However, you can go about your day as usual, including exercise.

Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll likely experience numbness in the area, and you may even feel a deep, itchy sensation. You’re supposed to massage the area three times a day in the weeks that follow to help break down that dead fat and help it move from your body more effectively. After four weeks have passed, you probably won’t feel a thing anymore and it’ll be time for your follow-up consultation to check progress.

Results after two treatments of CoolSculpting:

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SculpSure vs CoolSculpting: What’s the Difference?

While CoolSculpting freezes fat in order to destroy fat cells, SculpSure takes the exact opposite approach by applying heat to the area. Like CoolSculpting, SculpSure is non-invasive, non-surgical, and FDA-approved to target and reduce stubborn fat. An applicator is applied to the targeted area and lasers emit heat (usually for 25 minutes), which causes fat cell death. As is the case with CoolSculpting, it also takes about 12 weeks to see full results from SculpSure.

Aside from their heat versus cold approach, both CoolSculpting and SculpSure are pretty similar in terms of ideal candidate, cost, and overall results. If you’re trying to decide between CoolSculpting versus SculpSure, there are a few things to consider. First, SculpSure is arguably more uncomfortable since the skin is heated. With CoolSculpting, the discomfort usually subsides after five minutes because the treated area goes numb.

Another thing to keep in mind is that SculpSure was FDA approved in 2016 and so it hasn’t been around as long as CoolSculpting, which was FDA approved in 2010. For some, a longer history of successful treatments does provide greater peace of mind. Finally, SculpSure can only treat two areas of the body at this point (flanks and abdomen) while CoolSculpting can treat all the areas we outlined above.

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How Much Does CoolSculpting Cost?

The cost of CoolSculpting varies depending on the facility, but you can expect to pay about $750 per applicator, per treatment. That means if you’re treating a double chin, you’ll pay around $750, and if you’re treating your underarms, you’ll pay $1500 since you need two applicators (one for each arm).

Areas that are larger, including the abdomen and flanks, sometimes require multiple applicators in order to achieve a smooth, effective result. For example, you can probably expect to pay $3000 — the cost of four applicators — to treat your abdomen. Many facilities offer a reduced rate if you’re treating multiple areas or if you come in for a second round of treatments.

Bottom Line: CoolSculpting has demonstrated to be a proven, non-invasive, non-surgical technique that targets stubborn fat. It’s not meant for weight loss, but, as the name denotes, it can sculpt your body effectively.

Would you guys try CoolSculpting? Let us know in the comments below.