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CoolSculpting is a non-invasive treatment to eliminate body fat. It works by freezing the fat cells from certain areas of your body. It involves a special device that can cool fat cells down to +5 °C to -11 °C. The freezing temperature will kill fat cells permanently without damaging the overlying skin.
The purpose of CoolSculpting is to reshape the contours of the body and remove stubborn fat cells from certain areas. It is important to understand that this procedure is not a weight-loss treatment. You need to be within a certain range of your ideal weight (approximately 30lbs/13.6kg).
CoolSculpting targets areas of the body where it is more difficult to eliminate fat by diet and exercise, such as the abdomen, upper arms, neck (double chin), back, bra fat, sides, flanks, and underneath the buttocks (banana roll). However, because it is noninvasive – meaning it does not involve incisions or anesthetic – it carries less risk than many other fat reduction procedures, such as liposuction.
Since CoolSculpting is noninvasive and relatively painless, it has quickly become the most popular fat reduction treatment globally. According to the CoolSclupting official website, over eight million CoolSculpting treatments were administered in the United States in 2019.
To start the procedure, your doctor applies a clear gel pad to the targeted area where you want to remove excess fat. This gel pad is required to provide a barrier between your skin and the cooling applicator, preventing the freezing temperature from damaging your skin. Then, your doctor places a special, cooling device on top of the gel pad. The device will cool down the fat cells to a temperature at which it will be damaged irreversibly. Once your doctor finishes freezing the fat cells, the applicator is removed and your doctor performs a massage to break up the fat cells.
Some people reported that the procedure is pain-free, while others may experience a sucking sensation, as well as pinching and stinging sensation. In most cases, the freezing temperature will numb the targeted area so you will not feel anything.
CoolSculpting is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can leave the hospital or clinic right after your session ends. Since it does not involve any incision, stitches, or anesthesia, you can fly back home during the same day. You do not need to stay in South Korea any longer than you want to. However, if you experience temporary soreness, bruising, and discomfort, your doctor will recommend you to fly back home the next day to give your body time to heal.
You can expect minimal recovery time after the procedure. Your doctor may allow you to resume your normal daily activities and go back to work almost immediately after the procedure.
While you will not have any long-term discomfort following CoolSculpting treatments, you may experience a few temporary discomforts, such as numbness, bruising, redness, soreness, and itching. All of these side effects usually subside and disappear on their own within a few days after treatment. To help you ease your discomfort, you should wear comfortable clothing, such as oversized shirts. You can also consider Spanx or other compression clothing. It is also important to keep moving by doing some light exercises to reduce inflammation. Massage therapy, deep breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery can also help relieve the discomfort.
If you experience pain, your doctor may suggest you take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications. You can take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to reduce the pain, or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, as well. Make sure to ask your doctor before taking any medications. Also, bear in mind that you must not take any pain medication before treatment as it can increase the side effects.
In order to keep the results of CoolSculpting for a long time and avoid fat returning, you need to make some dietary changes. Follow a healthy diet filled with vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains, and watch your intake of sugary, fried, and processed food. You must also exercise regularly, at least 30 to 60 minutes every day.
CoolSculpting is a safe procedure with a high success rate. Around 82% of people who had the treatment were satisfied with the result and would recommend it to a friend. According to a study, a single session of CoolSclupting can result in around 20% to 80% of fat reduction. While many people can achieve their desired result after just one session, others need to have more than one treatment to achieve their goals. It is also important to note that the result is not immediate. You will start to see the results four weeks following the procedure and achieve the most significant results in two months.
Although the procedure is generally safe, you still need to be aware of its risks, including temporary aching, cramping, stinging, bruising, redness, itching, and tingling sensation. In some rare cases, CoolSculpting may cause the formation of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia.
One of the most popular nonsurgical alternatives is Sculpsure. Unlike CoolSculpting, Sculpsure uses heat to destroy unwanted fat cells permanently. The procedure involves laser beams to melt away unwanted fat. While the temperatures increase, the fat cells will be reduced naturally by your body.
Another alternative is liposuction, which is one of the most popular plastic surgeries in the world. Liposuction uses a suction technique to eliminate unwanted areas from specific areas of your body.
Liposuction will leave scarring due to the surgical nature in which the cannula is inserted through openings in the skin, although these scars are very small in size and are often unnoticeable. Some form of local or general anesthetic is required and there will be a few week's recovery time, whereas, with CoolSculpting, recovery is near-instant as the body quietly expels the dead cells in the background. Liposuction can be considered more cost-effective if there are multiple sites to treat, as CoolSculpting is priced per site and a patient may need 1-3 sessions per site, depending on the amount of fat.
Whilst the information presented here has been accurately sourced and verified by a medical professional for its accuracy, it is still advised to consult with your doctor before pursuing a medical treatment at one of the listed medical providers. This content was last updated on 10/02/2022.