CoolSculpting is a noninvasive fat reduction procedure that has rapidly gained popularity in recent years, primarily due to its effectiveness and minimal downtime.
This paper will explore the science behind CoolSculpting, the procedure’s effectiveness, determine if the results are permanent, and the factors contributing to its longevity. We will also discuss the role of genetics, the importance of patient education, and the role of the treatment provider in achieving the best possible results.
Overview of the Science Behind the Procedure
- Overview of the Science Behind the Procedure
- How Effective are CoolSculpting Procedures?
- How Many CoolSculpting Procedures will be Required?
- Can CoolSculpting Permanently Remove Fat?
- Factors Affecting the Permanence of CoolSculpting
- Are all Patients Good Candidates?
- Genetic Considerations
- How Long Do CoolSculpting Results Typically Last?
- Combining CoolSculpting with Other Treatments
- The Role of the Provider, Including Setting Patient Expectations
- The Psychological Benefits of CoolSculpting
- The Cost of CoolSculpting
- Future Developments in Noninvasive Fat Reduction
CoolSculpting is based on the principle of cryolipolysis, in which strictly controlled cooling is used to target and destroy fat cells without damaging surrounding tissues. The procedure uses controlled cooling to target and crystallize fat cells, which then undergo apoptosis (cell death) and are naturally eliminated by the body’s lymphatic system over the course of several weeks.
The procedure is effective because of two factors:
- Fat cells are more susceptible to cold temperatures than other types of cells; CoolSculpting also uses specialized hardware that allows for rapid cooling of fat cells in the targeted area. It includes extensive monitoring to ensure that no damage occurs to adjacent cells.
- Damaged fat cells are not regenerated by the body, hence the gradual removal of fat cells during each CoolSculpting procedure results in a permanent reduction in fat deposits in the treated area.
How Effective are CoolSculpting Procedures?
CoolSculpting is an effective method for reducing fat in targeted areas of the body – clinical studies have demonstrated that CoolSculpting can reduce fat in treated areas by up to 20-25% after a single treatment (Dierickx et al., 2013). Results are typically visible within two to three months, with final results appearing around six months after the procedure. However, individual results can vary, and additional treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired outcome.
It’s important to understand that CoolSculpting cannot remove all fat cells – even though damaged fat cells cannot grow back, other fat cells can (and will) expand if patients do not modify their diet and lifestyle to reduce caloric intake.
Results may vary between individuals, and multiple treatments may be required to achieve desired results. It is important to note that CoolSculpting is not a weight-loss treatment but rather a body contouring procedure designed to target stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise.
How Many CoolSculpting Procedures will be Required?
The answer to this question varies – the number of sessions depends on a number of factors. For many patients the 20-25% fat reductions after a single treatment will be sufficient. For others two or three treatments may be needed to achieve the desired results. Multiple treatments would normally be separated by four to six weeks, and sometimes longer. Your practitioner can help you to decide on the optimum number, depending on your personal physical condition, your medical history, and your expectations.
Can CoolSculpting Permanently Remove Fat?
Yes, CoolSculpting permanently removes fat cells in the treated areas. As the body eliminates the crystallized fat cells, they do not regenerate, and the results are long-lasting or permanent.
Many clinical studies have investigated the effectiveness of CoolSculpting, and its long-term benefits.
The ability to lose between 20 and 25% of fat in targeted areas has been demonstrated by multiple researchers. Longer-term benefits seem to be well established – some studies confirm that most patients were able to maintain their loss of fat over time, while other studies have reported that some fat was likely to return within six months of the procedure.
These results seem to be consistent with our experience, in particular that it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent remaining fat cells from enlarging and negating at least some of the procedure’s benefits.
Factors Affecting the Permanence of CoolSculpting
Several factors can affect the permanence of the procedure’s results. These factors include:
- Weight fluctuations: Gaining weight after CoolSculpting can cause remaining fat cells in the treated area to expand, potentially diminishing the results of the procedure. Maintaining a stable weight is crucial to preserve long-term effects of CoolSculpting.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those experienced during pregnancy or menopause, can affect fat distribution in the body and potentially alter the results of CoolSculpting.
- Lifestyle choices: A sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits can contribute to weight gain and diminish the procedure’s benefits.
- Genetics: Genetic factors may influence the distribution of fat cells in the body and how the remaining fat cells respond to future weight fluctuations.
Are all Patients Good Candidates?
Both men and women can benefit from CoolSculpting, as it effectively addresses common problem areas such as the abdomen, love handles, inner and outer thighs, and under the chin. However, men and women may experience different results due to differences in fat distribution and hormonal factors.
Although CoolSculpting has been cleared by the FDA, they do not regard it as a suitable treatment option for patients whose BMI (Body Mass Index) reaches obese levels, typically 30 or higher. Patients who are looking for a quick way to lose weight should be discouraged from the procedure, as they are unlikely to achieve their desired results.
As CoolSculpting is able to target specific fat deposits, patients who have localized fat deposits that have proven resistant to exercise and diet are the best candidates for the procedure. As long-term results are contingent on patients modifying their diet and/or lifestyle, it follows that the best candidates are those who acknowledge this, and who are ready to commit to long-term lifestyle changes.
CoolSculpting is not recommended during pregnancy, and for 6 to 8 weeks afterwards. Likewise, we don’t recommend it while breast feeding.
CoolSculpting is also not suitable for patients with certain medical conditions such as cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
Patient genetics can have a large influence on the effectiveness of CoolSculpting. In particular:
- Fat distribution: Genetic factors have a significant effect on where fat is stored in the body. Some patients have a tendency to store fat in parts of the body that are quite resistant to target by diet and exercise, for example the abdomen, hips, and thighs. CoolSculpting’s ability to target these areas can provide a very effective way to address these problem areas.
- Fat cell characteristics: Genetic factors can influence the number and size of fat cells, as well as the degree to which they are affected by cold temperatures. This means than not all patients respond exactly the same way to CoolSculpting treatments. The CoolSculpting equipment allows the operator to modify certain aspects of the treatment to compensate for individual differences.
- Metabolism: Genetic factors also influence the efficiency with which the body can dispose of damaged fat cells after each CoolSculpting procedure. The primary effect is seen in how quickly results become apparent after treatment.
- Response to treatment: individuals differ not only in how effective the CoolSculpting treatment is in damaging and removing fat cells, but also in how likely they are to develop side-effects after treatment. Most side-effects are mild and transitory, but there is a small chance of experiencing longer-term side effects.
How Long Do CoolSculpting Results Typically Last?
CoolSculpting results are typically visible within three to four months after the procedure, with the most noticeable changes occurring between two and six months.
The permanence of CoolSculpting results depends on an individual’s ability to maintain a stable weight and a healthy lifestyle. If the patient is able to modify their diet and exercise habits, then the benefits will be long-lasting. If the patient reverts to their previous habits, then the remaining fat cells will expand, gradually compromising the procedure’s benefits.
Combining CoolSculpting with Other Treatments
CoolSculpting can be combined with other noninvasive body contouring treatments to achieve more comprehensive and lasting results. Examples include radiofrequency skin tightening, or laser treatments to improve skin elasticity and appearance. Consulting a qualified professional practitioner to determine the appropriate combination of treatments based on your individual goals and expectations.
The Role of the Provider, Including Setting Patient Expectations
The success of CoolSculpting relies heavily on the expertise of the treatment provider. An experienced and skilled provider will assess the patient’s individual needs and develop a customized treatment plan to achieve the desired results. They will also monitor the patient’s progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan as needed, ensuring the best possible outcome and long-lasting results.
Educating patients about the CoolSculpting procedure, its benefits, potential risks, and the factors that can impact the permanence of the results is crucial for ensuring realistic expectations and optimal outcomes. A well-informed patient is more likely to follow post-treatment care recommendations and maintain a healthy lifestyle to preserve the long-term effects of CoolSculpting.
The Psychological Benefits of CoolSculpting
The long-term results of CoolSculpting can have a positive impact on a patient’s self-esteem and body image. By addressing stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise, CoolSculpting can help patients feel more confident in their appearance, which can have a positive effect on their overall mental well-being. It also contributes to their motivation and ability to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
The Cost of CoolSculpting
The cost of CoolSculpting treatments will vary depending on factors such as the provider’s fees, the location and size of the treatment area, and the number of sessions required. Average prices for CoolSculpting sessions typically range from $600 up to $4,000. It is important to consider the long-term benefits and potential cost savings associated with CoolSculpting when comparing it to other fat reduction procedures, and in particular to liposuction. For many, the minimal downtime and long-term benefits of a non-invasive procedure justify the cost.
Future Developments in Noninvasive Fat Reduction
As our understanding of adipose tissue biology and the mechanisms underlying noninvasive fat reduction techniques expands, we can expect the field to continue to evolve, offering more effective and targeted treatment options in the future. CoolSculpting technology has evolved over time, and we expect that it will continue to do so in the future, refining and extending its ability to offer cost effective long-term results.
In summary, CoolSculpting is a promising, permanent, noninvasive method for reducing fat in targeted areas of the body. However, the permanence of the results is dependent on an individual’s ability to maintain a stable weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Factors such as weight fluctuations, hormonal changes, and genetics can impact the procedure’s benefits, so it is essential to be aware of these factors and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. With minimal downtime and a low risk of complications, CoolSculpting remains an attractive option for those seeking a noninvasive method to address stubborn fat deposits.
- Safety, Tolerance, and Patient Satisfaction With Noninvasive Cryolipolysis.
Christine C. Dierickx, Jean-Michel Mazer, Mila Sand, Sylvie Koenig, Valerie Arigon.
Dermatologic Surgery 39(8):p 1209-1216, August 2013.