Cool Sculpting, Non-surgical Fat Removal

Cool Sculpting involves “cryolipolysis”, a term for freezing fatty tissue under the skin, causing fat cell death. Cool Sculpting is an in-office device created by a company named Zeltiq, that involves the placement of pads on a fatty area such as the abdomen, flanks or thighs to protect the skin, while freezing the underlying subcutaneous tissue. Fat cells become inflamed, then die and are excreted naturally over a period of about 2 months. A 20% improvement in a treated area is expected. Small amounts of weight gain will negatively affect the results.

The procedure is done in a doctor’s office by office staff, with no anesthesia, and little downtime. Discomfort can occur for the first 5-10 minutes of the 1 hour-long procedure. Each treatment area takes about 1 hour; sometimes more than one area can be treated at one time. 2-4 sessions are usually required, and cost per area ranges from $1000-3000.

After the procedure, expect about 2 weeks of soreness managed with Tylenol. Most doctors do not prescribe stronger pain medicine, and the degree of discomfort is variable. Initially swelling, itching, redness, and numbness become intermittent sharp shooting pain as the nerves get back to normal. Most patients are pain free after 2 weeks. Results are noticed gradually over the following 6 weeks.

Cool sculpting is not a skin smoothing or skin tightening procedure. It does not affect cellulite. The best candidates are of normal weight with small pockets of fat resistant to diet and exercise and with good overlying skin tone. It is not helpful for generalized obesity or large amounts of fatty tissue. Results can be variable and unpredictable. Do not expect results obtained with surgery such as liposuction or tummy tuck.

Noninvasive methods to remove unwanted fat are appealing. Although the results aren’t fabulous with Cool Sculpting, it is the first device FDA approved to decrease the number of fat cells that is truly non-invasive. Invasive treatments such as tumescent liposuction, Smart lipo, laser liposuction, ultrasonic liposuction, water jet liposuction and tummy tuck surgery will always achieve more dramatic changes in body contour.

Cool Sculpting may help improve body contour in a select group of candidates: think model, and not your average mother of two kids. Expect a 25% improvement in treated areas at best in ideal candidates in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise and usually after more than one treatment session. Keep in mind; a 50% improvement in a treatment area is usually required in order to show up on a non-photo shopped “after” photograph.

See what patients say about their experiences with Cool Sculpting:

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