With obesity being such a major issue in the United States, it is no wonder we see so many different techniques and so-called solutions for fast weight loss. It seems that belly fat is the most stubborn type for anyone to lose.
Although research shows us that exercise and dieting are effective many of us don’t want to change our lifestyles or simply don’t have the time to commit to these solutions. So, we are always looking for innovative ways to help us eliminate fat without the need of extreme dieting or intense workout sessions at the gym.
Most of these solutions end up being gimmicks that only waste our time and money. But there have been a few remedies over the years that don’t involve much dieting or exercise yet still manage to work, at least enough so that they are considered effective.
Coolsculpting is a new technique that many people are eager to try because the science behind it makes sense. The process involves freezing fat cells so that they die off and never return. It sounds simple enough and the fact that there is no type of surgery involved has many people interested in learning more about Coolsculpting.
But just how effective is the technique? And do we know how safe it is? Will it work for everyone or are some people better candidates than others based on their body type? If you are curious about the procedure and would like to learn more about this innovative new fat burning procedure, read on for more details.
What is Coolsculpting?
Coolsculpting is a recently FDA-cleared non-surgical procedure that helps eliminate fat. We all have fat cells in our body. As we gain weight, our fat cells increase in size. And as we lose weight, they decrease or flatten, but never completely go away.
With Coolsculpting, a plastic surgeon uses a device to freeze the fat cells under the skin. This is performed on a single section of the body at a time, usually on the belly. Once the fat cells are frozen, they begin to die. The cells are broken down and eventually removed from the body by the liver.
It can take anywhere from a few days up to four months for people to see the results of this procedure. And it will take more than one procedure for most people to get the results that they want. But overall, most people have been pleased with the results they receive from this new and innovative procedure.
The Benefits of Coolsculpting
While there has been limited scientific research on the procedure, the studies which have been performed have been surprisingly positive. While it may not always provide people with the results that they anticipated, it is effective.
Unlike with diet and exercise where we only decrease the size of our fat cells, with coolsculpting, these cells are destroyed and eliminated. This means that the same fat cells will not return if you start to gain weight back.
Here are a few more great benefits from the procedure:
- A low-risk procedure that is a better alternative to liposuction or gastric bypass surgery
- It is non-invasive, and the skin barrier is not compromised in any way
- There are side effects but the occurrence of them is rare
- There is no need to take time off from work for recovery
- The results look natural as they develop at a gradual rate over time
- A good way to help people who have recently lost weight eliminate excess fat
- Lesser risk of regaining weight
- Lower risk of skin dimpling or bumps since fat cells are destroyed evenly
Is It Safe?
The process is considered safe by most professionals and it has recently been cleared by the FDA. But as with any type of procedure, there are some rare side effects and long-term effects that all individuals considering the treatment should be aware of.
During the procedure, most people claim that they don’t feel anything aside from some slight tugging in the treated skin area. This is while the skin is between the two cooling panels on the device. Since there is no cutting involved or tissue manipulation, there is no need for any type of anesthesia. Most individuals don’t have to take off work for recovery and are able to resume their normal daily activities afterward.
The only side effects tend to be minor and occur only in the area where treatment was received. They often last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks following the procedure. Feeling numbness around the area that was treated is normal and usually lasts around a month for most people.
The Most Common Side Effects
The common minor side effects of Coolsculpting include:
- Pinching sensations
- Minor swelling
- Stinging sensation
- Skin sensitivity
- Muscle cramping
- Mild to moderate pain
These side effects often last for a few weeks following the procedure. Additional side effects that you may experience for the initial two or three weeks include itchiness, diarrhea (as the dead fat cells are eliminated from the body), and a feeling of fullness in the throat if you had treatment in the neck or chin area.
Rare Severe or Long-Term Side Effects
Coolsculpting is still a new procedure and therefore it is difficult to say that all side effects are minor for all people. This process is only recommended and proven to be effective in certain parts of the body such as the abdomen, thighs, under the chin or upper neck, under the armpit, back, flank, and buttocks or under the buttocks. Those considering the procedure should keep in mind that it is only effective in removing minor fat deposits from these areas.
Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia
In some rare cases, the fat cells respond indifferently to the treatment and enlarge instead of dying off. This is a condition known as PAH or paradoxical adipose hyperplasia. A study conducted in 2014 showed that the occurrence of PAH with coolsculpting is believed to be around 0.0051 percent.
While experts are not sure why PAH occurs, they have noticed that it is more likely to happen with men. And even though it doesn’t cause you to experience any other adverse effects, the only way to reserve PAH is through surgery.
Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia
- Pain that begins a few days after treatment and resolves once the numbness goes away or within a month
- Scarring or changes in the skin color
- Reduced movement or response with the tongue, dry mouth, lower lip muscle weakness or reduced saliva production following a procedure around the chin or neck
- Frostbite or first and second-degree burns
- Hyperpigmentation or dark skin coloration that resolves on its own
- Subcutaneous induration which is a generalized hardening or hard nodules that develop in the treatment area, that can be painful
- Abrupt or undesirable changes in fat layering
There are some individuals who should avoid coolsculpting as it is not the right procedure for everyone. It is designed to remove fat from small target areas of the body. It is not. However, considered a weight loss alternative to diet and exercise and it is not recommended for the treatment of obesity.
Is Coolsculpting Right for Everyone?
Coolsculpting is a treatment option that can help dissolve stubborn fat cells from the body. It is a relatively safe and effective process, but it is not designed for everyone.
Individuals who have weak immune systems are not the best candidates for the procedure. Those who have certain health conditions that either weaken or change how the body deals with cold temperatures could experience severe medical issues such as frostbite or second-degree burns if they go through with the procedure.
Some conditions that would prevent a person from having this treatment include:
- Anyone who is pregnant, attempting to become pregnant or breastfeeding
- Anyone with a disorder known as Cryoglobulinemia, this disorder causes proteins in the body to increase in response to cold in high concentrations
- Those who have Cold Agglutinin Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder where temperature change kills off red blood cells
- Those who have Paroxysmal Cold Hemoglobinuria. This condition causes red blood cells to die during extreme temperature changes
- Anyone with Raynaud’s disease
- People with Chilblains
- Individuals with reduced circulation or skin sensation at the treatment area
- Those with diabetic neuropathy or any similar skin condition such as dermatitis, hives, eczema or psoriasis
- A recent injury to the treatment area
- Long-term use of blood thinning medication
- A history of a hernia or a hernia that is nearby the treatment area
- Active or implanted medical devices such as a pacemaker
- Those allergic to propylene glycol or isopropyl alcohol
- Anyone with a chronic pain condition
- Anyone with severe anxiety disorders
When you schedule an appointment with a center that offers coolsculpting in your area, you will be evaluated by a doctor who will determine if you are a good candidate for the treatment. The decision is made based on your medical history, your current health, and how much fat you want to lose.
How Effective is Coolsculpting?
The procedure is marketed as a non-invasive way to eliminate body fat. It is said there is no recovery time necessary, the process is pain-free, and you will have a slimmer waist without dieting or exercising within a matter of weeks.
It sounds too good to be true and typically when that happens, it usually is. However, in this case, coolsculpting could be the rare exception to the rule.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, an analysis of data was performed on over 1,000 individuals who had coolsculpting treatment. The fat in the treated areas was reduced, on average, by around 25%. No one in the study experienced any severe side effects and only dealt with temporary redness, soreness, numbness or bruising.
There are countless reviews and blogs now online from people who have tried out the treatment for themselves. And while there are some negative aspects mentioned here and there, overall, it seems to be a positive treatment option for those who want to eliminate stubborn fat from their body.
What Takes Place During the Procedure?
the technician will place a towel covered in a freezing agent on the area. Then the coolsculpting device is clamped on. This is where the tugging sensation begins. While it may be described as slightly discomforting, some have mentioned that it feels like someone has taken your breath. It can cause a sharp pain for a short time until the area goes completely numb.
The device is left on for an hour and then the technician will come back in to massage the fat back out for about two minutes. This helps to reduce the amount of swelling in the treatment area. Then the process is repeated on the other side if necessary. Overall it takes around two hours to complete.
After Procedure Effect (Short Term)
One reviewer stated they experienced severe bruising, pain and tingling nerve pain, but it eventually subsided, and the pain went away after taking ibuprofen. After their second treatment, they didn’t experience any nerve pain and their overall discomfort was reduced.
Are You Ready to Give Coolsculpting a Try?
Coolsculpting is an effective treatment for getting rid of stubborn body fat, but it is not the right treatment option for everyone.
If you are considering this type of treatment, you should consult with your physician first to find out if they think it is a good option for you.
The process can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to complete, and although it is minimal, there is some pain involved during the procedure and afterward.