As a board-certified plastic surgeon who has spent more than 3 decades performing a wide array of procedures for the face, breasts, and body, I have come to enjoy explaining the inner workings of procedures and treatments we use in order to improve our outer selves. I believe that when patients truly understand the technology and method behind their procedures, they have a deeper appreciation for the processes and end results.
Liposuction comes up often among my Albany patients because of its versatility and proven effectiveness. In recent years, the growing popularity of non-invasive liposuction alternatives such as CoolSculpting® has highlighted one misconception in particular: that all weight loss and fat reduction methods are the same.
It’s questions like these that make it so important to thoroughly explain each treatment plan until I am confident that a clear understanding has been reached. As a plastic surgeon and longtime educator in our Albany community, it is not courtesy — but my responsibility.
So, fat reduction and weight loss. These terms sound perfectly interchangeable, and colloquially, we hear them all the time on the radio, on TV, at the gym, and among friends here in Albany. But what’s the difference?
It all comes down to the hard-wired genetic behavior of our fat cells. The creators of CoolSculpting have put together a series of diagrams to explain this very topic. Here’s a simple breakdown of their explanation for fat reduction after CoolSculpting versus weight loss.
- Weight loss: When we shed pounds, our fat cells become smaller — but we ultimately still have the same number of fat cells. That means they’re always there, ready and waiting to expand. After a period of overindulging, for example, these cells can get bigger once again.
- Fat reduction: Using a science known as Cryolipolysis®, CoolSculpting works by targeting and freezing fat cells. In the weeks and months following this FDA-cleared treatment, those fat cells are actually eliminated from the body and cannot return. It’s that permanent reduction of the cells that really makes the difference.
As part of my commitment to education, both among my patients and my peers, I am careful to explain that the CoolSculpting procedure is not a weight-loss solution. In fact, it is best to be at or near your ideal weight before starting treatment. As the name suggests, CoolSculpting is all about sculpting more appealing contours, not dropping significant weight.
If you are wondering whether CoolSculpting or liposuction may be best for you, I invite you to read this past blog post for a good starting point.