Did you know that body contouring is among the most common cosmetic surgical procedures performed in the United States? The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that it is more popular than breast augmentation.
CoolSculpting® (technically known as cryolipolysis) involves placement of a CoolSculpting device that combines vacuum suction with regulated cooling to impede blood flow in just the area being treated. This results in crystallization and removal of the targeted fat tissue. Importantly, at the temperatures used, cryolipolysis is limited to fat cells and has have no permanent effect on overlying dermis and epidermis tissues.
Not for Weight Loss
Cryolipolysis is not used to help people lose weight; and it is not an alternative to diet and exercise. Rather, Coolsculpting is replacing liposuction as the go-to procedure for body contouring. Our office has been doing this procedure for over 4 years.
CoolSculpting achieves body contouring by targeting stubborn localized areas of fat. Areas of treatment include “love handles,” the upper and lower abdomen, upper arm, and inner and outer thigh. Men also find CoolSculpting useful to sculpt the chest.
Response to CoolSculpting
While some patients may see results as early as 3 weeks after initial treatment, the most dramatic results are usually seen between 1 and 3 months following treatment.
Among 19 studies of cryolipolysis, each reported a significant reduction in fat volume in treated areas. The average 2- to 6-month reduction in fat volume ranged from 15% to 29%. The researchers concluded, “Cryolipolysis is a promising procedure for nonsurgical fat reduction and body contouring and presents a compelling alternative to liposuction and other, more invasive methods.”
Following two treatments in the hip and thigh area, the average fat layer reduction was 29% compared with 20% for patients receiving only one treatment.
Most, importantly, it was possible for people not involved in the treatment to see improvement in 79% to 89% of patients. And, most people can return to their normal activities immediately after CoolSculpting.
Importance of a Qualified Professional When CoolSculpting
When performed by a qualified and experienced aesthetic dermatologist, CoolSculpting has a low risk of side effects. During the 2 weeks following cryolipolysis there is minimal discomfort, with less than 1% of patients experiencing pain, which goes away without treatment. Other side effects are temporary redness, bruising, and short-lived numbness.
But like any medical procedure, inexperience can lead to unwanted results. For example, earlier this year a patient experienced frostbite following CoolSculpting treatment for love handles performed in a beauty salon. It appears that the person performing cryolysis didn’t recognize the early signs. In fact, medical attention was not sought until one week later.
In California, the applicator may only be placed on the patient, by a Physician, Physician Assistant, Registered Nurse, NOT by a Medical Assistant, Licensed Vocational Nurse, nor an Esthetician.
The authors rightly concluded, “Emphasis must be placed on increasing patient awareness of the potential hazards of seeking cosmetic treatment from unregulated providers.”
CoolSculpting at Aesthetic Dermatology and Skin Cancer: Jeffrey H. Binstock, M.D. follows a strict procedure that ensures you will enjoy the best results. For consultation and more information about our approach to CoolSculpting to achieve the best look for you, call our San Francisco office at (415) 956-8686, or in Mill Valley call (415) 383-5475.