Summer is coming, but for some, the idea of pulling out the shorts and bathing suits can be intimidating. Focal areas of fat that have not responded to diet and exercise efforts threaten to derail our summer body and keep us from looking and feeling our best. If this sounds like you, Dr. Andrews and the staff at Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery may have the solution. CoolSculpting is a body contouring procedure that can eliminate those stubborn areas of fat without surgery, just in time for the summer season.
CoolSculpting is a revolutionary method of body sculpting that uses targeted cooling to destroy selected fat cells. Known as cryolipolysis, this technology is based on the fact that fat cells respond to changes in temperature differently than other cells of the body. This means controlled freezing can target and destroy fat cells without damaging the skin or surrounding tissue.
CoolSculpting was first approved by the FDA in 2010 to treat the flanks and love handles around the waistline. In 2012, approval was expanded to the abdomen and two years later, the treatment was approved for contouring the thighs. Last year, approval expanded to submental fat that develops underneath the chin, thanks to the introduction of a newer, smaller applicator device known as the CoolMini.
CoolSculpting marked the first time the FDA cleared a non-surgical device for body contouring. The device was originally designed to anesthetize the skin prior to some dermatological procedures. However, physicians noted the controlled cooling also seems to lead to a smoother, leaner profile in the treatment area, resulting in additional research and the marketing of the procedure as a body sculpting device.
CoolSculpting is recommended for men and women with isolated areas of fat that have not responded to diet and exercise. It is not a weight loss procedure and should only be used on patients that have achieved a healthy, stable weight. CoolSculpting works on any skin type and tone and is effective for adult patients of all ages. Results tend to be best on patients that still have some skin elasticity, since this allows the skin to conform more smoothly to the new body contour after the fat is eliminated.
If skin laxity is a concern after your CoolSculpting treatment, you may find your new contour leaves you with even looser skin that mars your overall result. If this is the case, an additional treatment like ThermiTight may be recommended to enhance your outcome. Dr. Andrews or his PA Courtney Albritton can examine your skin prior to your CoolSculpting treatment to determine whether an additional procedure might be necessary to achieve your desired results.
CoolSculpting can be used to treat the following areas:
- Inner and outer thighs
- Upper and lower back
Dr. Andrews or his staff will meet with you prior to your CoolSculpting treatment to determine whether this procedure will address your concerns and help you meet your specific aesthetic goals.
The addition of the CoolMini applicator provided even more versatility to the CoolSculpting platform. The new applicator allows for treatment of smaller areas, including:
- Submental fat underneath the chin
- Pockets of fat around the neck
- The area underneath the upper arm
- Behind the knees
The CoolSculpting procedure may take 30-60 minutes to complete, depending on the size of the treatment area. No anesthesia is required prior to this procedure. The patient sits or lies down in a comfortable position and the device is placed on the treatment area. Patients may feel a sensation of cold at the beginning of treatment which will subside rather quickly as the procedure continues. Most patients find the procedure comfortable enough to be able to read, watch TV or even nap during the session.
Because CoolSculpting does not involve any type of anesthesia or pain, patients are able to return to regular activities as soon as the treatment is over. The skin around the treatment area may be slightly red or swollen following the procedure, but this effect typically subsides within a few hours. There is little or no discomfort after a CoolSculpting procedure so you will not experience any type of activity restrictions after treatment.
Full results following the CoolSculpting treatment will not become evident until a number of weeks or even months after the procedure. It takes time for the treated fat cells to be eliminated by the body’s natural processes. The gradual, subtle results can be beneficial, since they can make you look like you are successfully following your own weight loss plan instead of undergoing a cosmetic procedure.
Although positive results will appear after a single CoolSculpting session, most patients will require more than one treatment to reach their full results. Larger areas like the abdomen may require 3-4 treatment sessions, while smaller areas like the chin and neck may only need 1-2 treatment sessions to give you the results you were hoping for. Treatment sessions are generally spaced 4-8 weeks apart, but Dr. Andrews and his staff can help you determine the best schedule for your specific needs.
Because CoolSculpting actually destroys fat cells so they can be completely eliminated by the body, the results of this procedure are considered permanent. However, CoolSculpting does not destroy all the fat cells in the treatment area. This means that if you put on weight once again, you may require additional procedures to maintain your positive results. Because of this, it is best to go into your CoolSculpting treatment with an established diet and exercise routine that will enhance your overall results and help you to maintain them over the long term.
CoolSculpting is an effective method of body contouring that takes relatively little time to complete compared to surgical contouring procedures. However, the results are not instantaneous, so if you want to see positive improvements while summer is in full swing, it is best to schedule your first CoolSculpting treatment as soon as possible. To learn more, contact Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery at 319-800-6877.