It’s not a new treatment (it launched in 2010), so you’re probably wondering why I’m about to tell you about the non-invasive, fat-freezing treatment otherwise known as CoolSculpting by Zeltiq. Here’s why: thousands of treatments are being performed worldwide (more than 650 000 so far!), yet new important updates have surfaced since CoolSculpting first launched. Here’s everything you need to know before freezing your fat:
1 Fat cells self-destruct when the skin gets cold enough. The FDA-cleared procedure suctions in the skin surrounding the area of fat you want to freeze, then uses controlled cooling (aka cryolipolysis) to drop the temperature of the skin down to where the fat cells die. The body then eliminates the cells in the following weeks.
2 There is a tendency for uneven removal. It’s not skill-dependent, since a vacuum-like head suctions the skin in to freeze it, so there is a risk of uneven removal, says Dr Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist.
4 One treatment has been said to be enough, but that isn’t always the case. So in the end, it might not be the most cost-effective option to get the results you’re looking for. Be sure to talk to a doctor before going in for the treatment to see whether you’re the perfect candidate for this procedure.
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5 The procedure is for very discreet fat removal. Picture a thin man with love handles or a woman with small pockets of fat on her inner thighs. ‘Broader areas are not good for this treatment because that won’t come out evenly,’ Frank says.
6 There is literature that paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) can occur after cryolipolysis. According to Frank and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, fat can grow back rather than disappearing forever. ‘Of course, there are risks with everything but this is the only fat removal process that has this particular risk (though low),’ he says.
7 It takes an hour to treat each section. So it could take a long time, depending on how many areas you want to treat.
8 You might experience cryolipolysis-induced numbness that can last for weeks. ‘It does something to the superficial nerves when the skin is frozen that can leave you without feeling for hours,’ Frank says.
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9 You can also have bruising. There’s minimal downtime with this treatment but you might experience bruising because the areas treated will have been pulled, tugged and pinched in the suction process. And you could be sore for days or weeks after the treatment.
10 Full results take weeks or months to show up. This depends on how well your body reacts to the treatment. You should expect to see full results by the second or third month.
11 You need to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine to keep the results. But you probably already knew that.