CoolSculpting has been a buzzword in magazines, blogs, and radio ads for the past couple of years now. But what exactly is this supposedly magic fat-freezing procedure, and is it safe? We talk to plastic surgeon Dr. Carrie Houssock about what CoolSculpting is, its benefits, and its long-term results.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a non-surgical option for fat loss. Typically, people get it on their stomach and flanks, but they can also have it done on their inner and outer thigh as well as their upper arms. The procedure uses a cooling mechanism to freeze and eliminate stubborn fat. There is no down time needed for this treatment and little to no discomfort.
Are there any risks or side effects?
Yes, but the amount of risks and side effects are low. One of the side effects you could experience is pain or discomfort during or after the procedure. There could also be some swelling in that area for the first 24 hours or so. In other cases, the area where you had CoolSculpting done can be numb for a few months after the treatment, but it will eventually subside.
What is the actual process like?
First, you come into the office and we weigh you and take some photos of you pre-procedure. We then fit the head of the CoolSculpting machine to whatever part of the body you are having worked on. There is a gel pad that we place between you and the machine, and then once we press start it begins to suck your skin, tissue, and fat into the machine. At first it feels a little funny when you feel the suctioning, but it is generally not painful. The procedure lasts about an hour, and our customers usually use that time to watch TV or use their phones. Then we turn the machine off and pull the machine off. Your skin will be hard and cold, almost like an ice block, at this point. So we then do a massage to break down the tissue.
When do you see results?
It takes about three months to see results and to notice a difference. It is not like a surgery would be, where you would see immediate results. I suggest people wait until the three-month mark for a follow-up appointment where we will weigh you and take photos again.
Is this a safe procedure for everyone?
The ideal patient is someone who does not want the down time of an operation, who has a small amount of stubborn fat but is overall fit, and who does not have a lot of excess skin. CoolSculpting will not treat excess skin and significant amounts of adipose [fat storing] tissue. It will never give you the surgical result, but it is a good option for those who do not want to have a surgical procedure.