Let’s start off with a general reminder that having some body fat is completely normal, not to mention, healthy. That being said, many of us still struggle with that little bit of excess fat in areas that can get uncomfortable and to some, may look unflattering with extra fat. I was aware of treatments like liposuction, that surgically eliminate this excess fat, but was particularly intrigued when I heard about “lunchtime lipo,” a treatment called CoolSculpting, which eliminates your fat using a non-invasive method, which can be carried out during your lunch break without any downtime restricting you from going right back to your regular day to day life. The treatment has become incredibly popular and is available at body sculpting clinics as well as medical spas across the globe. I was able to get some more information on the treatment from the founding doctor of Skinly Aesthetics cosmetic dermatology located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, who offers the treatment at his clinic and treats patients on a near-daily basis with it.
What is CoolSculpting and how does it work?
CoolSculpting is a procedure that uses cryolipolysis to freeze unwanted fat cells and permanently eliminate them. The process is carried out through the use of a vacuum applicator that comes in various sizes, which is placed on the treatment area or area of concern over a protective membrane that is placed on the skin to prevent burning or freezing of the skin. When turned on, the applicator begins to suck in the fat in the area and reduce the temperature gradually. The temperature only goes down to the exact freezing temperature for fat, which prevents all other tissue from freezing. This means that the procedure is non-invasive and also does not damage the skin or any surrounding tissue other than the fat cells. One session allows for 25% of subcutaneous fat reduction, and results can be seen within 1 – 3 months after your first session. “One session will be sufficient for some patients, but others will need up to four sessions, depending on how much fat is initially present,” says Dr. Schwarzburg.
Who is CoolSculpting for?
“At Skinly Aesthetics we recommend CoolSculpting primarily to those who have an overall healthy body weight, but have some extra (pinchable) fat in areas that bother them,” says Dr. Schwarzburg. CoolSculpting is ideal for people who have small pouches of pinchable fat that bothers them. If you can’t pinch it, then it likely is just skin. CoolSculpting will work on people who carry a lot of fat but will require several sessions for results, making a surgical procedure such as liposuction more efficient in that case.
How to prepare for CoolSculpting?
There isn’t a ton of preparation involved in CoolSculpting. Patients should avoid taking anti-inflammatories before their procedure, but it will not make or break the results of the procedure. Unlike many other methods of fat elimination, CoolSculpting is completely non-invasive, so there is really no preparation needed. In addition, there is no downtime.
What are the side effects?
While CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure, there are some possible side effects involved, including numbness in the treatment area, mild swelling, and possible bruising. The numb feeling may persist for up to a month but will subside over time. There are some other minimally invasive treatments, such as Kybella, that involve injections to break down fat cells, which usually result in more pain and side effects, making CoolSculpting an amazing non-invasive tool to use to eliminate fat and skip the downtime.