What is CoolSculpting and is it Worth the Hype (and Money)?
CoolSculpting, also known as fat freezing or cryolipolysis, is a hugely hyped fat loss method that is being called the best new non-invasive alternative to undergoing liposuction. But what most people would like to know is if it does actually work and whether or not it is safe.
Finding an alternative to liposuction has long been a top quest for many people who want to lose weight quickly. The reason is that liposuction is far from being gentle on the body. The most common type requires a fluid to be injected into the body. This liquid is a combination of saline (salt water), pain reducing lidocain and blood vessel constricting epinephrine. Incisions are made in the body, allowing the surgeon to insert a suction tube that sucks the unwanted fat out through the tube. Other forms of liposuction are just as invasive, or even more so.
After that procedure is finished, there can be considerable swelling, pain, bruising and numbness. This can last for days to weeks. It also comes with certain serious risks such as blood clots or fat clots in the blood vessels that can travel to various parts of the body. They could even end up making their way into the brain and causing a stroke. Moreover, if the surgeon makes a mistake, a nearby organ could be damaged.
That said, just because liposuction comes with risks and downsides, it doesn’t necessarily mean that CoolSculpting is better. To know that, it’s important to take a closer look. The
CoolSculpting system is made by ZELTIQ Aesthetics, Inc, which manufactures and sells it. IT first received its European approval in September 2009 and got the nod from the U.S. FDA in September 2010.
The concept of fat freezing is that fat cells have greater sensitivity to cold temperatures than the cells surrounding it. It uses a vacuum device on the areas where excess fat is present. That fat is then exposed to temperatures notably colder than the body’s temperature, though warmer than freezing. This exposure continues for as much as an hour. The idea is that the cold will selectively destroy the fat cells while leaving other surrounding body cells intact.
Among the most common side effects are redness and numbness that can last a few hours or days, as well as bruising. The resulting fat reduction is not instantly visible, but occurs gradually over time. Moreover, several treatment sessions over a span of two to four months are usually required.
What should be noted is that this procedure provides purely cosmetic results. The fat will return unless the patient changes his or her lifestyle habits including eating and exercise. Moreover, this procedure impacts only the outer layer of fat that is closest to the surface of the skin. It will not reach fatty deposits deep beneath the skin. For this reason, it will only replace liposuction in certain lighter cases.
As this procedure remains relatively new, it is still not known how long the average fat loss will last.