how does coolsculpting work

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How Does Coolsculpting Work

Does CoolSculpting work?

CoolSculpting, or cryolipolysis, is a cosmetic treatment to remove areas of body fat. It works by freezing the fat cells from specific parts of the body.

Similarly to liposuction, plastic surgeons and other therapists use CoolSculpting to target areas of the body where it is more difficult to remove fat by diet and exercise.

CoolSculpting is noninvasive, meaning it does not involve surgery, cuts, or anesthetic, so it carries less risk than liposuction. The procedure is mostly safe, but people should be aware of some potential side effects.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at CoolSculpting, including how it works, its effectiveness, cost, plus side effects and risks of the procedure.

What is CoolSculpting?

coolsculpting or cryolipolyse used for fat reducton

CoolSculpting is a branded form of cryolipolysis.

CoolSculpting is a branded, FDA-approved form of fat reduction called cryolipolysis.

CoolSculpting and other forms of cryolipolysis use freezing temperatures to break down fat cells. Cold does not damage other cells in the way it does fat cells, and so there should be no damage to the skin or underlying tissue.

During the procedure, the practitioner vacuums the skin above the area of fatty tissue into an applicator that cools the fat cells. The cold temperatures numb the area, and some people report feeling a cooling sensation.

Most CoolSculpting procedures take around an hour. There is no recovery time because there is no damage to the skin or tissue. Some people report soreness at the site of CoolSculpting, similar to that they might have after an intense workout or minor muscle injury.

After the procedure, it may take around 4–6 months for the fat cells to leave the body. In that time, the area of fat will decrease by an average of 20 percent.

Does CoolSculpting work?

CoolSculpting and other forms of cryolipolysis have a high success rate. They are effective for removing areas of fat from the body, and have fewer side effects than other procedures, such as liposuction.

Though 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. The procedure will not work for everybody, and some people may experience worse side effects than others.

Lifestyle and other factors may also play a role. A person who continues to eat an unhealthful diet and remains sedentary while undergoing CoolSculpting can expect less fat reduction.

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.

What does the research say?

Caliper being used to measure body fat on abdomen.

Researchers have found CoolSculpting to be relatively effective.

Research generally points towards CoolSculpting being a relatively safe and effective treatment for removing some areas of fat.

A 2015 review published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery analyzed 19 previous studies of cryolipolysis.

Researchers found that when the studies had measured fat reduction with a caliper, which is a tool similar to a ruler, people lost an average of 14.67 to 28.5 percent of the fat in areas treated by cryolipolysis. When the studies measured the fat reduction with ultrasound, people lost 10.3 percent to 25.5 percent.

The authors found no major health risk factors associated with the procedure. There was no reduction in liver function or lipid levels, meaning that CoolSculpting is purely a cosmetic procedure. Moreover, freezing away fat without making other lifestyle changes may not improve a person’s overall health.

A separate 2015 review published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal that looked at 16 studies, reported that people had an average fat reduction of 19.55 percent.

The study’s authors emphasize the need for longer-term data on the procedure. Most of the studies included in their analysis were small and did not compare the results of CoolSculpting against results people would get from other cosmetic procedures or lifestyle changes.

Massaging the area immediately after treatment may improve fat reduction, though more research is needed. A 2014 study found an increase in fat reduction following massage 2 months after treatment. After 4 months, however, the difference was no longer statistically significant.

Side effects and complications of CoolSculpting

Cryolipolysis is a noninvasive procedure, so it does not require cuts, anesthesia, or medications that could cause an allergic reaction. This means that the rate of complications and side effects is lower than with more invasive procedures, such as liposuction.

The Aesthetic Surgery Journal analysis found that, of 1,445 people, only 12 people—which is less than 1 percent—reported complications. The most common complication was having less sensation than beforehand in the treated area.

Other complications may include:

  • swelling
  • bruising
  • sensitivity
  • skin redness
  • localized pain

A 2015 review found no serious complications, such as bleeding, skin pigment changes, or scarring.

A 2014 article describes an isolated case of a condition called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia following cryolipolysis.

According to the article, this complication is rare, affecting just 0.005 percent of people. People with this unusual side effect experience an increase in fat cells that can cause the treated area to bulge. It is more common in men and people of Latino or Hispanic descent than in other races.

How long does CoolSculpting last?

CoolSculpting destroys fat cells, and those particular cells will not return.

However, science knows little about the long-term effects or effectiveness of CoolSculpting. Most studies have followed subjects for only a few months after treatment.

Destroying existing fat cells will not prevent new fat cells from appearing. Hence, why a healthy lifestyle is vital to preserve the results of CoolSculpting. A person who does not exercise or who eats an unhealthy diet may soon see the fat return.

How much does CoolSculpting cost?

Woman taking hundred dollar bills out of her purse.

CoolSculpting may cost anywhere between $700 to $1,500 or more.

Because CoolSculpting is a cosmetic procedure that does not treat an underlying health condition, insurance does not typically cover the costs.

Prices vary depending on geographic location, the skill of the treatment provider, and the size of the applicator used. It is sensible also to consider the number of treatments necessary. Areas with more fat may require more treatments.

Procedures using smaller-sized applicators, such as those used under the chin, can cost around $700 to $900. Procedures using larger applicators may cost $1,200 to $1,500 or more per session.

Alternatives to CoolSculpting

For people who want more rapid results in a single treatment, liposuction may be a better option. Because liposuction is more invasive, it also carries a much higher risk of complications than cryolipolysis.

A 2015 review reports that the rate of minor complications with liposuction is 21.7 percent. Significant complications occur at a rate of 0.38 percent.

Other types of nonsurgical fat reduction include:

  • injection lipolysis, such as Kybella, which uses an injection to destroy fat cells
  • laser lipolysis, such as SculpSure, which uses a hot laser to melt fat cells
  • radiofrequency lipolysis, such as Vanquish, which uses radio waves to kill fat cells

Outlook

CoolSculpting is a cosmetic procedure, so it will not address the underlying cause of unwanted fat. A person who has a metabolic condition, diabetes, or an unhealthy lifestyle may quickly regain fat lost through this procedure.

People considering CoolSculpting should know that, while stubborn areas of fat are common, they can also be a sign of another health condition. It essential to talk to a doctor before choosing to have any fat-removal procedures.

CoolSculpting is just one option for removing fat. A person should discuss options for fat removal with a doctor, as well as the benefits and risks of these procedures, which may vary between individuals.

What Is CoolSculpting?

What is CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a body contouring procedure that removes fat by freezing. During the procedure, the doctor uses thermal conduction to break down fat cells without causing damage to the underlying skin.

Unlike traditional fat removal methods, CoolSculpting is non-invasive which means it doesn’t involve surgery, cuts, or the use of anesthesia. It was first introduced in 2012 and recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a generally safe treatment.

How Does CoolSculpting Work?

Here's How CoolSculpting Works

CoolSculpting or Cryolipolysis usually takes about an hour. During the procedure, the practitioner safely delivers precisely controlled temperature (ranging from -11 to +5 °C) on the target area. Treated fat cells are ‘frozen’ or crystallized, and eventually, die.

The freezing of fat cells is followed by an inflammatory response, which begins on the third day, peaking around the 14th day. The body naturally eliminates the dead fat cells, a process which might take up to three months.

CoolSculpting is performed using a device that pulls a piece of flesh between two paddles, cooling it below freezing point. Once the desired temperature is met, it is retained for half an hour or so.

While the entire procedure takes just about an hour, the result is unnoticed until after 2-3 months. You are also likely to experience mild discomfort from the suction and cooling sensations brought by the device. Eventually, the area will feel numb.

Does CoolSculpting Really Work?

CoolSculpting is said to reduce about 20 to 25% of fat cells in a given treatment area.  Yes, it works but it usually takes several treatments to achieve your desired results. A study which appeared in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found an average fat reduction of 19.55% on people who went through the procedure. Furthermore, a 2014 study, published in the Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, found an increased fat reduction two months after Cryolipolysis treatment.

While CoolSculpting can remove fats from certain areas in the body, it isn’t the magic bullet to weight loss. You cannot expect complete fat removal and it may take a few sessions before you achieve your desired result. Additionally, it cannot be used to tighten loose skin.

How Much Does CoolSculpting Cost?

CoolSculpting Cost

With such substantial claims of success, CoolSculpting may sound like a very expensive treatment. Fortunately, as compared with other popular fat removal treatments like Vaser Lipo and SmartLipo, CoolSculpting costs are easier on the wallet.

CoolSculpting Prices

CoolSculpting prices vary, depending on the number of treatments needed, the target body areas, and your body contouring goals. Yes, the procedure can be personalized to meet your fat removal needs. Your doctor will provide a customized treatment plan that’s tailored to your goals, body, and of course – budget.

Average Cost of CoolSculpting

Based on the 2017 Plastic Surgery Statistics, the average physician fee for CoolSculpting is $1,481. The typical cost for the entire treatment, however, is between $2,000 and $4,000, according to the official website of CoolSculpting.

In most cases, you will need one treatment session for a specific area in your body that you want fat cells to be removed. However, you may opt to have a few more sessions to achieve additional results after several months.

CoolSculpting Cost Per Area:

Cost of CoolSculpting for Arms

Many people turn to CoolSculpting to trim fats in their arms. The average cost for smaller areas like the arms is $650-800 per area.

That means for both your arms, expect to pay at least $1,300 for the procedure. The treatment session can last for about 35 minutes. Expect numbness in the affected area once the freezing temperature is applied. For smaller areas like the arms, one session of Cryolipolysis is enough to achieve your desired results.

Cost of CoolSculpting for Stomach

CoolSculpting prices for stomach is quite high due to the fact that the abdominal area usually has the most amount of fat cells. Additionally, it can also be difficult to remove fats around the midsection because of certain factors like age, pregnancy, or massive weight gain. On average, one CoolSculpting session for the stomach costs $1,500.

CoolSculpting prices for stomach are still relatively low compared with that of SmartLipo and liposuction which costs $5,000 and $3,374 respectively.

Cost of CoolSculpting for Thighs

For a slimmer, more toned thighs, expect to pay $750 for CoolSculpting for each inner thigh. In total, one treatment session should cost you $1,500. That’s not far from the Sono Bello cost for TriSculpt which is $1,395.

Cost of CoolSculpting for Belly

Similar to CoolSculpting treatments for stomach, the cost is around $1,500 per session. Most providers recommend two treatment sessions for better results but some people choose to undergo a few more treatments for ultimate results.

Cost of CoolSculpting for Chin

The chin may not be a large area but the cost is about $1,400. To achieve the best result, you may need another session. That is still low compared with Kybella. Kybella costs around $5,400 for three treatments (with each session 4-6 weeks apart).

Cost of CoolSculpting for Neck

The neck area is usually covered for CoolSculpting procedures for the chin, which is priced at $1,400, on average. The treatment normally lasts about 35 minutes and two sessions are likely needed to achieve better results.

CoolSculpting Price List

Here’s a list of CoolSculpting price estimates:

Customized Procedures

Since everyone’s body type is different, most providers will require you to visit their clinics for a consultation, during which, they will provide you the cost estimate. They will have to assess your body so they can give you the most accurate CoolSculpting estimate.

Like most cosmetic treatments, CoolSculpting can be personalized to meet your body contouring goals and budget. Work with your provider to create the best treatment plan for you. Some providers like Sono Bello even offer flexible payment plans to help patients achieve their goals.

Customized CoolSculpting treatments cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000. It all depends on how much fat you have and how many areas you want to treat.

Is CoolSculpting Worth It?

It may not be as expensive as the traditional body contouring options, but CoolSculpting isn’t cheap either.

After knowing the average cost of CoolSculpting, you’re now wondering – is it worth it?

Let us look at the benefits of CoolSculpting.

Advantages & Services

  • Non-invasive – You will have no cuts or incisions during the entire procedure which means it is generally safe and gives you no downtime.
  • Convenient – In most cases, the procedure will just take about 30 minutes or more. You can easily fit it in your busy schedule. And since it’s completely non-surgical, you can return to your normal activities on the same day after the treatment.
  • Widebody coverage – CoolSculpting targets fat cells from various parts of the body – arms, thighs, stomach, neck, and chin.
  • Long-lasting results – Once the fat cells are destroyed, they won’t grow back. When coupled with a healthy lifestyle, you should expect to see long-lasting results from CoolSculpting. Take note, however, that you won’t notice the effect of the treatment right after. Your body will naturally eliminate the broken fat cells, a process which may take several weeks.

CoolSculpting Results

  • Thighs – CoolSculpting is a sought-after cosmetic treatment for thigh gap reduction. Most people who undergo this treatment lose 20 to 80% of fats in their thighs.
  • Arms – Most people start to notice a reduction of the bulge in their arms after four weeks. A fat reduction of 25% can be achieved.
  • Stomach – Fats in the stomach might be the hardest to remove and would typically require several treatments. Nevertheless, CoolSculpting promises amazing results.
  • Belly – CoolSculpting can effectively get rid of belly fats. However, it cannot tighten skin. For people who lost excessive weight or women who previously became pregnant, traditional body contouring options are preferred to remove excess skin.
  • Chin – CoolSculpting is very effective in eliminating the so-called ‘double chin’. For best results, 1-2 sessions might be required.
  • Neck – Unwanted fats around the neck can be addressed together with chin CoolSculpting.

CoolSculpting Before & After

CoolSculpting offers long-term results, although they may not be visible until after several weeks.

CoolSculpting Before & After: Stomach

CoolSculpting Before & After: Thighs

CoolSculpting Before & After: Chin

CoolSculpting Before & After: Neck

CoolSculpting Before & After: Arms

CoolSculpting Before & After: Belly

(Photo Courtesy of CoolSculpting)

Is CoolSculpting Safe?

With over four million procedures performed worldwide each year, CoolSculpting is generally safe and effective. It has also received certifications from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for being a safe medical treatment. According to a review published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Cryolipolysis is a relatively safe treatment that provides significant fat reduction without major health risk factors.

CoolSculpting Risks – Does CoolSculpting Hurt?

You might experience discomfort only during the procedure. Since freezing temperature is applied to your skin, expect some painful sensation which declines gradually. You will also experience numbness in the treatment area.

CoolSculpting Pain

Some people experience a bit of pain during the procedure. Initially, you will feel intense cold on the area being treated which soon dissipates, and feel numb (lasting 5-10 minutes). It may also feel like your skin is being pulled due to the suction applied. After the treatment, you may feel a tingling sensation as the treated area is massaged.

CoolSculpting Recovery

Recovery from this treatment is quick. You won’t also be restricted by your doctor to go back to work and other normal activities. However, immediately after the procedure, you might notice minor redness and swelling. It may also feel sore as if you’ve been bruised. After 3-5 days, these symptoms should subside.

Side Effects & Benefits

Some common side effects of CoolSculpting are:

  • Pain, numbness and tingling sensation on the treatment area during the procedure. Some people might experience some pain within 3 to 11 days after the treatment, as reported in a study.
  • Redness, swelling and skin sensitivity. All these are temporary and should go away within a couple of days.
  • Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia. While this is very rare, it is a serious condition wherein fat cells in the treated area grow larger rather than smaller.

CoolSculpting Reviews

What do people say about CoolSculpting? Many of those who took the procedure are happy and satisfied with the results. Some didn’t experience pain (during and after treatments). Others did, along with numbness. Very few CoolSculpting reviews report pain and other side effects a year after the treatment.

Is CoolSculpting Permanent?

Once the fat cells are destroyed, they won’t come back. They will be eliminated by the body and will be gone for good. In that respect, CoolSculpting offers permanent results. But in order to maintain the results achieved through CoolSculpting, you must stick to a healthy lifestyle.

How Long Does CoolSculpting Last?

CoolSculpting results should last indefinitely because the treatment is performed to kill fat cells. However, weight gain after the treatment can cause new fat cells to grow, thus, causing bulges or fat deposits to appear again.

CoolSculpting Near Me

CoolSculpting is a popular body contouring treatment that is performed all around the world. Since the device used to perform the procedure is designed and patented by ZELTIQ, you should expect the same results from certified CoolSculpting providers in your area. You can find a provider through the official CoolSculpting website and other accredited online directories.

CoolSculpting At Home

Because not everyone can afford CoolSculpting, some people try to copy the procedure and perform it at home using ice and other frozen products.

Does DIY CoolSculpting Work & Is it Safe?

While DIY CoolSculpting sounds like a good idea, it is not recommended and could do more harm than good.

Cryolipolysis is a medical procedure which involves the use of a vacuum-like device that suctions out some frozen fat cells. This causes the fat cells to shrink and eventually die. Without this technology, applying ice or any frozen product on the skin only freezes it, and does not destroy the fat cells underneath.

CoolSculpting Machine At Home

You will find CoolSculpting machines available for home use. These products promise quality fat removal without the high price tag. However, note that CoolSculpting is a patented technology that is provided only by ZELTIQ. This FDA-approved is only available at authorized clinics.

There are, however, fat removal products for personal use that many people swear by. One is the Isavera fat-freezing wrap. Similar to CoolSculpting, it uses fat-freezing technology along with cold thermogenesis to target stubborn fats. It is also so simple to use. It comes with gel packs that you insert into the pockets of the wrap before wearing it around your waist.

CoolSculpting Alternatives

Currently, CoolSculpting is the only fat removal technique that works by freezing fat cells. However, there are other non-invasive methods offered today, such as:

  • VelaShape – uses radiofrequency and infrared light, along with massage, to shrink and tighten fat cells.
  • Exilis – another radiofrequency treatment that penetrates deeper than VelaShape and does not require the use of suction. Heat is applied to the fat cells, causing them to explode, leak, and go into the bloodstream. The fat cells are then excreted by the body through urination.
  • SculpSure – uses advanced laser technology to melt fats away.

Conclusion

CoolSculpting is a groundbreaking technology which involves freezing fat cells throughout the body. It is a popular alternative to traditional surgical procedures like liposuction and tummy tuck and is proven to eliminate 20-25% of fat cells in a single treatment.

Compared to other fat removal methods, CoolSculpting costs are relatively lower. The prices depend on the number and extent of the target areas. Because everybody is different, CoolSculpting treatments are personalized.

There’s no doubt that CoolSculpting works. It is backed by research and many people swear by the promised results. Nonetheless, getting the treatment from a certified professional will ensure that you are able to achieve your body contouring goals.

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