Last updated date: 22-Jul-2023
Originally Written in English
CoolSculpting has been approved as a safe medical treatment by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CoolSculpting has numerous advantages over other fat removal procedures, such as liposuction. It is non-surgical, non-invasive, and does not require any downtime. Injured fat cells may take 4-6 months to leave the body after a procedure. On average, cryolipolysis reduces fat in the treatment area by 20%.
What is CoolSculpting?
Cryolipolysis is the use of cold temperatures to destroy fat cells just beneath the skin's surface. (The name gives it away: cryo means cold, lipo means fat, and lysis means "destruction."). Although the term "CoolSculpting" is frequently used to refer to the cryolipolysis process, it is actually the brand name of a specific medical device used to accomplish cryolipolysis. CoolSculpting is typically performed by a doctor, nurse, or physician assistant, though some medical spa professionals can also perform the procedure.
CoolSculpting targets specific areas of stubborn body fat with extremely low temperatures. Every year, millions of people go on extreme diets or have surgery in the hopes of slimming down. This can be a difficult goal for a variety of reasons, so it's no surprise that the prospect of losing body fat without dieting or surgery draws thousands of people each year to cryolipolysis, also known as CoolSculpting.
CoolSculpting was approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010, and it was the fourth most popular noninvasive cosmetic procedure in the US in 2019.However, in recent months, a public debate about the safety of this procedure has erupted, sparked in part by Canadian model Linda Evangelista's announcement that a CoolSculpting procedure had left her "permanently deformed." Evangelista, whose modeling career soared in the 1990s, revealed to People magazine in February 2022 that she developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) as a result of the procedure.
PAH is a rare side effect of the CoolSculpting procedure that is characterized by areas of increased tissue volume, creating firm bulges in the skin, and health experts say that while the procedure is generally low-risk, patients should consider this possible side effect.
Who Might Consider CoolSculpting?
According to Alan Matarasso, MD, clinical professor of surgery at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra Northwell in Hempstead, New York, all humans are born with a fixed number of fat cells. As we age, our cells shrink or swell as we gain or lose weight. The goal of procedures like CoolSculpting is to reverse the effects of time on the body. At the same time, CoolSculpting is a purely cosmetic procedure that isn't effective for weight loss, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Because the device's cold temperatures only penetrate the upper layers of fat beneath the skin, the procedure is best used to eliminate small areas of stubborn fat. CoolSculpting has no effect on a person's overall body composition.
"It's critical to think of CoolSculpting as a fat reduction treatment rather than a weight loss treatment," says Dr. Zeichner. "It is ineffective for people with visceral fat, or fat around the organs." High cholesterol, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer have all been linked to visceral fat. the right up arrow However, CoolSculpting primarily targets subcutaneous fat, which is typically found on the lower half of the body and is "pinchable."
According to Dr. Matarasso, CoolSculpting may be a good option for people who want to reduce subcutaneous fat in a specific area but don't want to risk surgery (for example, organ transplant recipients). It cannot, however, remove as much fat as surgical options such as liposuction, and it cannot remove excess skin that may develop after childbirth or significant weight loss. According to Matarasso, excess skin must be surgically removed.
The basics of body fat
Subcutaneous fat and visceral fat are the two types of fat in the body.
The majority of your total body fat is made up of subcutaneous fat. It exists as a layer beneath the skin and can be found on your arms, legs, and waist. Although subcutaneous fat is necessary for the human body, having too much of it can increase your risk of developing health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Cryolipolysis procedures are used to remove subcutaneous fat.
Visceral fat covers the stomach, intestines, and liver, among other major organs. It can also accumulate in the arteries. While visceral fat is necessary for the proper functioning of your vital organs, excess visceral fat can contribute to insulin resistance, raise blood pressure and increase chances of serious health complications.
What is the procedure for CoolSculpting?
During the procedure, a specialist will apply gel pads to the targeted areas before passing the device over them. They may also use a vacuum-assisted applicator cup to draw tissue into the cup. In either case, the goal is to apply low temperatures to specific areas of the body in order to kill fat cells and thus change the body's shape.
CoolSculpting is based on the same basic science as liposuction, various heat and sound-wave treatments (such as SculpSure and TruSculpt), and chemical treatments (such as Kybella). Dead fat cells do not necessarily disappear overnight. According to the CoolSculpting manufacturer, it may take up to six months for the body to fully process and eliminate dead fat cells following the procedure.
Does it hurt?
The majority of the pain associated with Coolsculpting is felt during the procedure. According to the official Coolsculpting website, the company acknowledges that the numbness caused by the cooling sensations from the freezing applicator used during the procedure can cause pain. As the fat cells are frozen and pulled out, patient may experience slight pinching and pulling sensations. Such effects may last 5 to 10 minutes of the 60-minute treatment time Trusted Source. Patient may experience pain, itching, and swelling following the procedure. The level of pain experienced can also differ depending on the treatment area, with the abdomen being the most vulnerable.
Preparing for Coolsculpting
Consider meeting with a few potential providers before committing to Coolsculpting. While dermatologists, dermatologic surgeons, and aestheticians can all perform the procedure, not all of these doctors are Coolsculpting certified. Certain preparations can help make your treatment day more comfortable. Make certain that you:
- Bring something to read or play with, such as a tablet computer.
- To avoid nausea from treatment, eat a small snack.
- Dress in loose, comfortable clothing.
Care following procedure
The full effects of your Coolsculpting treatment can take two to four months. Patients should not experience long-term discomfort during this time, but may experience side effects for a few weeks after treatment.
Consider the following aftercare tips to make yourself more at ease:
- Wear loose-fitting clothing, such as yoga pants.
- Consider wearing Spanx or similar compression clothing.
- Continue to move to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Any severe side effects should be reported to the doctor right away.
What are the risks and side effects of CoolSculpting?
While CoolSculpting is generally safe, some side effects may occur after treatment.
The following are some of the most common CoolSculpting side effects:
- Ache or pain
Patients may experience minor pain, stinging, or aching at the treatment site after a CoolSculpting procedure. This could be due to the treatment's use of extremely cold temperatures. A 2015 study examined the outcomes of 554 cryolipolysis procedures performed over the course of a year. According to the review, any post-treatment pain typically lasted 3-11 days and resolved on its own.
- Temporary irritation
Coolsculpting's exposure to cold temperatures may irritate your skin. This may result in Reliable Source:
Skin discoloration, swelling, bruising, and sensitivity. These usually resolve on their own within a few weeks.
- Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH)
The most well-known moderate-to-severe potential side effect of CoolSculpting is PAH, which Evangelista reported, though research has not yet determined what causes it. It occurs when CoolSculpting causes an increase in fat cells in the targeted area rather than a decrease. PAH causes new tissue to grow in the shape of the treated area for several months after the CoolSculpting treatment. According to Matarasso, the new tissue is typically harder than normal fat and may have an almost rubbery texture.
Blood flow to the affected area may increase as well. According to Matarasso, in some cases, new fat growth cannot be removed with liposuction, and the patient must choose between having the new tissue surgically removed or leaving it in place. "This is terrible because they had someone who wanted a minimally invasive procedure, and now they have a big scar," he says.
According to Matarasso, the amount of data available about people who develop PAH is limited. He goes on to say that this is due in part to the fact that the procedure is not always performed by doctors, who are required to report negative outcomes. The incidence rate of PAH at their practice was significantly higher (2 in 422, or 0.47 percent) than the incidence rate claimed by the CoolSculpting brand, according to one clinical report (1 in 20,000).
PAH may be slightly more common in men than in women, though the reason for this is unknown. The study also found that when technicians used newer-model CoolSculpting units, the incidence of PAH was 75% lower, implying that the machines themselves may be a factor in the risk of PAH.
Who is a good CoolSculpting candidate?
CoolSculpting aids in the removal of localized pockets of fatty tissue. It is a treatment for fat loss rather than weight loss. As a result, someone who wants to reduce or remove localized pockets of fatty tissue that persist despite exercise and diet intervention is a good candidate for CoolSculpting and other cryolipolysis treatments.
Cryolipolysis treatments are less effective in people who are overweight or obese. According to Trusted Source, ideal candidates for cryolipolysis treatments such as CoolSculpting should be adults in good health with no history of neurological or skeletal problems and normal kidney function.
Who should avoid CoolSculpting?
In most cases, CoolSculpting is a safe and effective treatment for reducing body fat. However, some people should not be subjected to this treatment. CoolSculpting should not be performed on people who have the following conditions:
- Agglutinin cold disease
- Hemoglobinuria with paroxysmal cold
CoolSculpting may result in serious complications. People suffering from these disorders can rely on this reliable source. Whether or not you have these preexisting conditions, it is critical to consult with your doctor before requesting the procedure from a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. It is also worth noting that CoolSculpting is not a treatment for obesity. Rather, it can aid in the removal of small amounts of excess fat that are difficult to eliminate through diet and exercise alone.
What are the CoolSculpting Alternatives?
CoolSculpting is only one brand of cryolipolysis; similar devices provide the same treatment. However, it is unclear whether one brand is more or less likely than another to cause PAH.
Separate noninvasive fat removal options, such as Trusculpt, use radiofrequency devices that "melt" fat cells. Injectable treatments such as Kybella may be an option for very small pockets of fat, according to Zeichner. For more extensive fat removal, Matarasso recommends liposuction or common procedures such as the "tummy tuck." "[CoolSculpting] will never be as dramatic as liposuction," Matarasso predicted. "I took more off one patient in an hour yesterday than CoolSculpting could ever do."
How to Find a CoolSculpting Provider?
Although CoolSculpting is available in nonclinical settings such as medical spas, Zeichner and Matarasso agree that if you're thinking about getting this procedure, patients should consult with a trained medical professional first. Look for a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who is familiar with a wide range of treatments and procedures and can advise you on whether CoolSculpting is right for you. Searchable databases of qualified medical practitioners in your area are available from the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. In other words, just because medical spas provide the treatment does not imply that the people who work there have the aforementioned credentials. Another word of caution: practitioners who aren't trained in a variety of fat-loss techniques may oversell the capabilities of the tools at their disposal, according to Matarasso, and this may be especially appealing to patients who are hesitant to undergo more invasive procedures. "If all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail," he says. "You want to go somewhere where you can get options."
CoolSculpting is a fat-reduction procedure in which a device uses cold temperatures to kill fat cells near the skin's surface. CoolSculpting experts say the results can be unpredictable, and patients who undergo the procedure are sometimes disappointed. CoolSculpting may cause PAH in rare cases, which is the CoolSculpting side effect that Linda Evangelista reportedly experienced. PAH causes additional fat to be produced rather than reduced, but doctors are unsure why this occurs in some patients but not others. Although it may be available in your area at medical spas, experts recommend consulting with a qualified physician before undergoing the procedure.