Your Top CoolSculpting® Questions Answered

Edwena Sobande, LA

What do you do when you have been eating healthy and working out hard to stay in shape, but there are just some areas on your body that seem to refuse to “get with the program?” When you wish there was something you could do to get rid of your love handles. There are a few Cosmetic Dermatology treatment options that could take care of those body issues. One of the most popular options available is called CoolSculpting®, and it is an excellent body contouring treatment.

What Is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is often referred to as the fat freezer, but what does that really mean? CoolSculpting uses a process called cryolipolysis, which involves applying cool temperatures externally to areas of unwanted fat and freezing the fat cells without damaging the outer skin. Imagine your fat cell is a storage unit for excess energy. With weight gain or loss, that storage unit expands and contracts. With CoolSculpting, we eliminate the storage unit in the treated area so the excess energy cannot be stored and turned into fat. This causes the subcutaneous fat cells to die, and your body then eliminates the dead cells through a natural elimination process.

The FDA has approved CoolSculpting for the treatment of visible fat bulges under the chin, under the jawline, thighs, abdomen, flank, back fat, underneath the buttocks (banana roll), upper arms, and along the bra fat. Keep in mind that this is NOT a weight-loss treatment, nor does it address loose skin. It is optimal for treating areas of fat resistant to diet and exercise. This area or “soft fat” is just beneath the skin, and is very soft to touch, pinch, or squeeze. Imagine a pillow; it is very voluminous but light. Treatments usually take anywhere from 35-60 minutes, depending on the area treated.

The procedure involves securing the skin with a removable gel pad and a handheld device to cool the fat cells through a vacuum-like suction. The freezing temperature cools the fat cells enough to freeze them. Most patients describe the process as feeling icy. This icy-cold feeling typically numbs within 5-10 minutes. You may also feel a tugging, pulling sensation as the device is working, but most people do not find this painful.

Following the procedure, there is typically no downtime. Some patients may experience redness, swelling, bruising, itching, or skin sensitivity. These symptoms are temporary and will resolve on their own.

Does CoolScultping Work?

Yes, absolutely. Each CoolSculpting treatment typically removes 22 – 25% of the targeted fat, and if you need additional treatments, it can remove a higher percentage of targeted fat. Most patients begin to see results within 14 to 90 days of their treatment, with maximum results usually seen within three months. This is because you must allow time for the body to dispose of the dead fat cells. Once these cells are destroyed, they are gone for good, resulting in long-term results. However, if you gain weight after CoolSculpting, you may gain fat back in the areas you had treated. A healthy diet and exercise are the best way to maintain your results for a lifetime. 

Who Is a Good Candidate for CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is optimal for healthy individuals within 20-30 pounds of their goal weight and are looking to have areas treated that are resistant to volume loss, such as the chin, abdomen, and flanks. It is not ideal for those who do not have subcutaneous fat present, who have skin laxity in the areas of concern, or those seeking weight loss.

Consult with your Provider before treatment as some medical conditions can prevent you from getting a CoolSculpting treatment. You should not be treated if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have recently had surgery, have a pre-existing hernia, or have any sensitivities or allergies.

What Are the Benefits of CoolSculpting?

One of the main advantages of CoolSculpting is that it is a non-invasive procedure, so there is little to no downtime. Typically, patients can return to their daily activities immediately. There are no incisions, no anesthesia, chemicals, injections, or needles used in this treatment. 

CoolSculpting was developed in 2010, and it is estimated that as of 2019, over 8 million treatments have been done worldwide, so you can feel comfortable knowing that it is a tried and proven technology. 

Getting results in the areas you have concern over is, of course, the best advantage. During your initial consultation with one of our highly trained Providers, we can determine the optimal treatment plan for you and your goals. 

Does CoolSculpting Work for Cellulite?

We sometimes get questions about whether CoolSculpting treats cellulite as it gets rid of the fat cells. The basic answer is no. Cellulite is a condition relating to the skin rather than the presence of subcutaneous fat cells. According to the Mayo Clinic, it involves fibrous connective cords that tether the skin to the underlying muscle, with fat lying in between. As fat cells accumulate, they push up against the skin while the long, tough cords pull down. This creates an uneven surface or dimpling effect. Since it results from these connective tissues attaching muscles to your skin, it is considered a skin condition. CoolSculpting is effective at targeted fat loss, but it will not improve the appearance and texture of your skin.

Ready to see if CoolSculpting is right for you? Request an appointment online at one of our convenient locations in the Austin area.

Edwena Sobande, LA, is a native of Austin. She is experienced and skilled at procedures including but not limited to chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, laser resurfacing and light treatments, ingredient science, Microneedling, PRP, and CoolSculpting. She works at our Cedar Park and Harker Heights locations.