Getting in shape and staying there is hard. And, though we hate to admit it, the only way to really do it is through proper diet and regular exercise. However, even after months of kale salads and nights spent sweating in pilates, there’s just that last bit of bulge that won’t budge. Introducing CoolSculpting — a new way to shape your body.
Founded by the same Harvard doctors that created laser hair removal, CoolSculpting was based on studies that revealed when fat and skin are frozen, fat will be targeted and skin will remain unharmed. An FDA approved, non-surgical, non-invasive way of sculpting a desired body, the procedure takes about an hour per section to complete and has little to no downtime.
The process is easy, the patient sits in a chair — no anesthesia needed — while a cooling suction device is used on the skin for 60 minutes. “With CoolSculpting, you apply an applicator to a bulge of fat on a patient. It sucks the skin and the fat on an area and holds it there for one hour, then it drops the whole area of fat down to a specific temperature. Once you get the fat down to that specific temperature, essentially, you’re freezing the fat cells and destroying them,” explained Dr. Grace Liu of Newport Coast Dermatology, one of the few offices that provide this service.
During the procedure, patients can work, watch TV, sleep or do whatever they desire, as they experience very little pain throughout the process. “During assessment, I usually pinch the patient and tell them it’s going to feel similar to that … If you imagine it’s like a vacuum, it’s going to suck (skin) up and feel really tight for the first few minutes,” stated Dr. Liu. She added, “What happens is when you start the cycle, the cooling kicks in and, after a few minutes, the area goes numb.”
After the procedure, the fat cells are then dissolved into the body over the course of the next few weeks, to be destroyed by the body’s natural immune system, and the patient will lose weight increasingly over time. “What I always tell patients is that they’re reducing fat in a treated area with one treatment to about 20 to 40 percent,” Dr. Liu said. There’s no down time after the procedure, meaning patients can go back to work.
While losing up to 40 percent of fat cells will greatly reduce size, it’s important to maintain healthy habits. “Let’s say you do your treatment and you lose about 40 percent of fat cells. You’ll still have 60 percent of them still there … So we always tell patients that it’s really important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise.”
Though CoolSculpting does help shape the body for a more desirable look, it is not a replacement for diet and exercise. “The ideal candidate is someone who has distinct pockets of fat that they want to get rid of and they’ve tried exercise but it just won’t go away,” stated Dr. Liu. She added, “Let’s say someone is about 30 pounds overweight. We say, ‘Mmaybe you’re better off looking at diet and exercise before looking at something like CoolSculpting.’” Other persons that are not advised to use CoolSculpting are patients that are pregnant or breast feeding and patients who have recently had a surgical procedure on the abdominal area within the last few months prior to attempt CoolSculpting treatment.
Although many want a quick fix in weight loss, even the most advanced procedures still require a healthy diet and exercise. However, to get rid of stubborn belly fat post pregnancy or to get that last bit of fat that refuses to go away, CoolSculpting is a great addition. Dr. Liu says, “It’s the only non-invasive, non-painful, no downtime way to reduce your fat on a pretty permanent basis without having to do anything. It’s a very straightforward procedure and it’s safer and easier than botox.”