If CoolSculpting treatments at our Albany practice reduce fat by freezing it, is it possible to simply apply ice packs to get rid of “muffin tops,” “love handles,” or other pockets of unwanted fat? That’s a fairly common question we hear from patients, but the popular nonsurgical, fat reduction technique is more technologically advanced.
The “freeze the fat” phrase associated with CoolSculpting simplifies the controlled cooling process used during the procedure. First, it’s important to understand why and how CoolSculpting works.
Fat cells tend to start dying at temperatures that don’t damage the skin or other tissue surrounding the cells. The cooling process used by CoolSculpting — called cryolipolysis — is more complicated than just applying ice to a patient’s unwanted bulges.
A CoolSculpting procedure begins with positioning applicators specially designed for specific areas to your body. For areas such as the abdomen or flanks, for example, fat is drawn up between 2 cooling panels. Initially, you’ll feel a pulling sensation along with some pressure. The applicators are connected to the CoolSculpting machine that carefully lowers the temperature. It takes about an hour to treat a single area, so treating both flanks requires 2 hours.
CoolSculpting can treat various areas of the body:
- Upper and lower abdomen
- Inner and outer thighs
- Under the buttocks
- Upper arms
- Double chin
In weeks following the treatment, the targeted fat cells die, and your body naturally eliminates the dead cells. The results are long-term.
Losing fat is different from losing weight — losing weight makes fat cells smaller, while CoolSculpting actually reduces the number of fat cells. Unlike what happens in other procedures, there is no change to fat cells in untreated areas.
Because the treatment is nonsurgical, most patients can return to their daily routines immediately. Sometimes patients experience redness, minor bruising, tingling, numbness, or discomfort in the area that has been treated. These side effects typically resolve quickly and completely.