Read on to find out what else you need to know about CoolSculpting.
What Is CoolSculpting?
How Does CoolSculpting Work?
In the procedure, a technician will apply gel pads to the targeted areas and then pass over them with the device. They may also use an applicator cup with a vacuum to draw tissue into the cup.
Who Might Consider CoolSculpting?
All humans are born with a fixed number of fat cells, says Alan Matarasso, MD, a clinical professor of surgery at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra Northwell?in Hempstead, New York.?After our teen years, the cells shrink or swell as we gain or lose weight. With procedures like CoolSculpting, the goal is to reverse those effects of time on the body.
At the same time, CoolSculpting is a strictly cosmetic procedure and isn't effective as a means of weight loss, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology in New York City. Because the cold temperatures delivered by the device penetrate only the upper layers of fat below the skin, the procedure is best used to eliminate small areas of stubborn fat. CoolSculpting can't change a person's overall body composition.
CoolSculpting may be a good option for people who want to reduce subcutaneous fat in a specific area, and for whom surgery might be too risky (for example, organ transplant recipients), says Dr. Matarasso. But it can't remove as much fat as surgical options like liposuction, and it won't remove excess skin that may develop after childbirth or significant weight loss. Excess skin requires surgical removal, Matarasso says.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting can be unpredictable, Matarasso adds, noting that the person undergoing the procedure may be disappointed if their results aren’t what they expected.
What Is Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia?
“This is terrible, because they had someone who wanted a minimally invasive procedure,” he says, “and then they end up with a big scar.”
Alternatives to CoolSculpting
CoolSculpting is just one brand of cryolipolysis, and other similar devices offer the same treatment. But it’s not yet clear whether one brand is more or less likely to cause PAH than another.
Separate options for noninvasive fat removal, such as Trusculpt, involve radiofrequency devices that “melt” fat cells. For very small pockets of fat, injectable treatments like Kybella may be an option, says Zeichner.
Matarasso recommends liposuction or common procedures such as the “tummy tuck” for more extensive fat removal.
“[CoolSculpting] is never going to be as dramatic as liposuction,” Matarasso said. “I took more off one patient in an hour yesterday than you could ever do with CoolSculpting.”
How to Find a CoolSculpting Provider
Although CoolSculpting is offered in nonclinical settings such as medical spas, Zeichner and Matarasso agree that if you're considering this procedure, it’s essential to see a trained medical professional. Look for a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon; he or she will be familiar with a wide variety of treatments and procedures and can help you decide whether CoolSculpting is a suitable option for you. The?American Academy of Dermatology and the?American Board of Cosmetic Surgery both offer searchable databases of qualified medical practitioners in your area. In other words, just because medical spas are offering the treatment doesn’t mean the individuals working there have the aforementioned necessary credentials.
Another word of caution: Practitioners who aren’t trained in a variety of fat-loss techniques may oversell the abilities of the tools they have at their disposal, Matarasso says, and this may be particularly attractive to patients who are anxious about undergoing more invasive procedures.
“If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail,” he says. “You want to go somewhere where someone can offer you options.”
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
- Weight Management.?Boston Medical Center.
- Nikolis A, Enright KM. A Multicenter Evaluation of Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia Following Cryolipolysis for Fat Reduction and Body Contouring: A Review of 8,658 Cycles in 2,114 Patients.?Aesthetic Surgery Journal. August 2021.
- Nathan N, Manstein D. The Skinny on Freezing Fat.?Harvard Health Blog. March 12, 2020.
- Sheeler J. Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding.'?People. February 16, 2022.
- Linda Evangelista. IMDB.com.
- About CoolSculpting Elite.?CoolSculpting.com.
- About Kybella.?MyKybella.com.
- Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It.?Harvard Health Publishing. June 25, 2019.
- Jalian HR, Avram MM, Garibyan L, et al. Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia after Cryolipolysis. JAMA Dermatology. March 2014.
- Required Reporting of Adverse Events. American Medical Association.
- Singh SM, Geddes ERC, Boutrous SG, et al. Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia Secondary to Cryolipolysis: An Underreported Entity? Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. June 19, 2015.
- CoolSculpting.?American Med Spa Association.
- Derrick CD, Shridharani SM, Broyles JM. The Safety and Efficacy of Cryolipolysis: A Systematic Review of Available Literature.?Aesthetic Surgery Journal. September–October 2015.