Freezing Fat

Does It Work?

CoolSculpting. Maybe you have heard of it, maybe you haven’t, but it seems to be a growing beauty trend. It’s also known as crylipolysis or “freezing off fat”, and it’s being lauded by some experts as one of the best non-surgical alternatives to liposuction. The treatment was approved by the FDA in 2010 and in this article we’ll take a deeper look at what CoolSculpting is exactly, what is involved in the process, who is eligible for the procedure and how much it can cost.


What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is  the commercial name given to a procedure known as cryolipolysis or “fat freezing” in which your fat cells are crystallized and made to die, with weight loss as a result. Jason Roostaeian, plastic surgeon and professor at UCLA, explains that fat cells are more sensitive to temperature than skin cells, meaning that low temperatures will cause the former to die off before the latter do, resulting in a loss of weight without a need for invasive surgery.


What does the CoolSculpting process look like?

Central to a fat freezing process are rounded cooling panels that are waved over the areas in which you need to lose fat. In those areas the fat cells will be crystallized and killed off before the skin in that same area gets damaged. The patient sits up in a chair for about two hours and the process does not cause much discomfort. He or she will experience some sucking and cooling sensations, but these are mild enough to watch a movie, use your laptop or even take a quick nap meanwhile.


Who is the procedure for?

In theory everyone is eligible for fat freezing, but age and especially skin quality and the thickness of the tissue are taken into account for every patient. The skin does not get damaged badly, but it does need to possess the strength to recuperate after mild freezing. Besides that, the thickness of the skin tissue plays an important role, because the only cells that can be frozen are the ones that can be reached through the skin tissue. The thicker the tissue is, the less fat cells can be reached.


The price

It’s hard to put an exact price on a fat freezing procedure, because it can vary per person, per area and per center of treatment. At the end of 2015 Cosmopolitan’s Carly Cardellino stated that a  single CoolSculpting session can cost more than $500.


So, does it work?

CoolSculpting was approved by the FDA in 2010 as a recognized weight-loss procedure, but several experts, including the previously mentioned Dr. Roostaeian, do mention that only mild weight-loss effects should be expected. He estimates that after a few sessions some people have recorded fat reduction by 25%. What’s important to realize though, is that the actual loss of weight will be minimal and that the effects of Coolsculpting are more aesthetic in terms of things like an improved waistline and less bulging in specific areas.

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