Although research is still limited, CoolSculpting is generally viewed as a safer, non-invasive type of fat reduction surgery than traditional procedures, such as liposuction. Most people do not feel anything during the procedure. Aside from a tugging sensation where the skin is between the device’s two cooling panels.
To enumerate, Body Contouring, Body Shaping or Body Sculpting is the reshaping of body contours. Particularly, through the removal of fatty deposits under the skin. Whereby, the most commonly known treatment is liposuction.
A surgical procedure with inherent risks that many patients wish to avoid. Eventually, CoolSculpting and SculpSure are the leading non-invasive body contouring treatments. Not forgetting, that reduces stubborn fat without surgery or downtime.
Surprisingly, millions of men and women have turned to these fat reduction treatments. As a non-surgical alternative to liposuction to address belly fat, love handles, thigh fat, back fat, double chins, and other bulges that resist diet and exercise.
What is the Meaning of CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting, or Cryolipolysis, is a nonsurgical Body Contouring procedure. Whereby, a plastic surgeon uses a device to freeze fat cells under the skin. Once the fat cells have been destroyed, they are gradually broken down and removed from the body by the liver.
Most CoolSculpting sessions take around an hour and cost about Kshs. 100,000 per treatment area. But, the procedure of CoolSculping is a fairly new technique. Meaning, it’s only approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012.
For your information, CoolSculpting and Cryolipolysis are registered trademarks of Zeltiq Aesthetics. However, the number of independent clinical research studies backing the procedure is still relatively small.
But, Zeltiq Aesthetics claims CoolSculpting lowers the number of fat cells in the treatment area by between 20 and 25 percent. Furthermore, both CoolSculpting and SculpSure are safe and effective. However, the different energy modalities and technologies present unique advantages and disadvantages of each treatment.
Does CoolSculpting work?
Amongst other forms of Cryolipolysis, CoolSculpting procedures have a high success rate. Effectively, if used for removing areas of fat from the body. Not to mention, they’ve fewer side effects than other procedures, such as liposuction.
Although this procedure can remove areas of fat, it is not a miracle cure, and people should not expect to see a complete removal of fat. Since the procedure will not work for everybody, some people may experience worse side effects than others. In addition, lifestyle and other behavioral factors may also play a role.
For instance, a person who continues to eat an unhealthful diet and remains sedentary can expect a less fat reduction. In that case, while undergoing a CoolSculpting treatment. Likewise, CoolSculpting cannot tighten loose skin.
If the skin has stretched around fatty buildups, a person may have excess skin after the procedure to remove the fat. After all, research generally points towards CoolSculpting being a relatively safe and effective treatment for removing some areas of fat. According to a 2015 review published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Which are the Side Effects of CoolSculpting?
As the procedure does not involve any cutting, tissue manipulation, or anesthesia, most people do not need any recovery time. And can, therefore, immediately resume normal activities.
The only noticeable side effects of the procedure tend to be minor and occur only around the area of treatment. Most minor side effects reduce or go away within a few days to weeks after the procedure. It is normal, however, to experience numbness or loss of sensation in the treatment area for around a month.
Generally, most people start to notice the effects a few days after the procedure, but it often takes 1 to 4 months for the full results to show.
Some of the associated side effects include;
- pinching sensation
- minor swelling
- skin sensitivity
- mild to moderate pain
- muscle cramping
A person may continue to experience these side effects for a few weeks after the procedure. Other common side effects that a person may experience in the first few weeks after CoolSculpting include:
- itchiness, especially a few days after the procedure
- diarrhea, as dead fat cells are removed from the body
- a feeling of fullness in the throat after treatments involving the neck or chin region
Who should avoid it?
CoolSculpting is considered a safe, effective way to reduce the number of fat cells in a small target area. It is not considered a form of weight loss and not recommended for the treatment of obesity.
The procedure is designed to help dissolve stubborn fat cells that usually only shrink through diet and exercise.
People with weakened immune systems are not ideal candidates for surgeries such as CoolSculpting. People with certain conditions that weaken or change the body’s ability to handle the cold can also experience serious medical complications.
Conditions that rule out the use of CoolSculpting include:
- pregnancy, attempting to become pregnant, and breast-feeding
- cryoglobulinemia, a disorder where proteins that usually only increase in response to cold are in abnormally high concentrations
- cold agglutinin disease, an autoimmune condition where temperature change kills red blood cells
- paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, a condition where red blood cells die in response to temperature change
- Raynaud’s disease
- reduced circulation or skin sensation at the treatment area
- nerve conditions, such as diabetic neuropathy
- skin conditions related to the immune system, such as eczema and psoriasis
- inflammatory skin conditions, such as dermatitis and hives
- a recent injury to the skin area being treated, including scar tissue
- long-term use of blood-thinning medications
- bleeding conditions that thin the blood
- history of a hernia or a hernia in or near the treatment area
- active, implanted medical devices, such as pacemakers
- allergy to propylene glycol or isopropyl alcohol
- chronic pain conditions
- severe anxiety disorders
What are the positive results?
There is not much independent research on CoolSculpting at present. What research exists suggests that it is a low-risk option for removing small amounts of fat that is proving difficult to remove with diet and exercise.
One benefit of CoolSculpting is that, unlike with diet and exercise, fat cells are actually destroyed and removed from the body. This means the same fat cells cannot return or enlarge with weight gain.
There are several other benefits of CoolSculpting:
- It is a low-risk procedure for most people.
- The skin barrier is not broken or compromised, removing most of the risk of complications, such as infection and scarring.
- There are few reported adverse reactions or outcomes.
- There is no need to take time off from work or everyday activities afterward.
- The results look natural, as they develop gradually in the weeks following the surgery.
- It can help people who have lost weight or at a healthy weight but still have excess fat in particular areas.
- There is less risk of regaining weight and results are long-lasting because fat cells are actually destroyed and removed from the body.
- The risk of skin dimpling or bumps is low because fat cells are destroyed evenly across a patch of skin.
Overall, the procedure can help boost self-confidence, especially when combined with weight loss achieved through a healthful diet and exercise.
What are the rare long-term effects?
In some very rare cases, fat cells respond to CoolSculpting by enlarging rather than dying. A 2014 study reported the incidence of PAH with CoolSculpting is currently thought to be around 0.0051 percent.
Researchers are not sure why PAH occurs, but most people who develop the condition are men. While PAH does not cause any symptoms aside from changing physical appearance, only surgery can reverse it.
Additional rare complications that may occur after CoolSculpting include:
- pain that starts several days after the treatment and usually resolves when numbness goes away, or after about a month
- scarring or changes to skin color
- reduced movement or response of the tongue following procedures involving the neck or chin
- lower lip muscle weakness following procedures involving the neck or chin
- reduced saliva production and dry mouth following procedures involving the chin or neck
- frostbite, or first- and second-degree freeze burns
- dizziness, lightheadedness, sweating, fainting, nausea, and flushing
- hyperpigmentation, or dark skin coloration that often resolves on its own
- subcutaneous induration, a generalized hardness or specific hard nodules that develop in the treated area and can be painful
- abrupt and undesirable changes in fat layering
The risk of side effects and complications often depends on the medical professional performing the procedure. People should make sure to choose an experienced and trusted professional. Such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Individuals can do this by researching local options and asking questions before committing to the procedure. CoolSculpting is relatively new, and so the full extent of risks.
A 2017 study reviewing all available research papers from two major medical research databases found only 319 studies linked to the terms cool sculpting, cryolipolysis, fat freezing, and lipocryolysis.
As it is relatively new, few medical professionals are aware of the procedure or have much experience with it
Finally, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and have understood some of the main benefits and risks associated with Body Contouring procedures.
Besides, if you’ll have additional contributions, suggestions or even questions, please feel free to Contact Us. And by the same token, you can share your thoughts with other readers in the comments box below this article.