Is It Possible to Freeze Your Fat Away?
You’ll be happy to know you can freeze away fat. This is possible with a treatment called cryolipolysis or, as it’s more commonly known, CoolSculpting.
Cryolipolysis is the result of innocent child’s play. It came to the attention of doctors that eating popsicles – or ice pops – reduced fat in children’s cheeks and caused them to form dimples. From there, doctors realized fat freezes more readily than skin. Cryolipolysis protects the skin while freezing and eliminating fat in hard to reach places.
The brand name of cryolipolysis is CoolSculpting. The FDA approved this technique in 2010, and it has since been widely accepted as a liposuction alternative. The popularity of CoolSculpting is plain to see: it hits those areas that don’t respond to natural weight loss measures. For example, bra bulges, love handles, and under chin padding can rarely be lost with diet and exercise alone.
CoolSculpting reaches these parts because it allows for precise therapy. During treatment, rounded paddles are used on the skin similar to a vacuum. We apply the paddles to those areas previously designated for treatment. You are required to do nothing but sit in a chair. We encourage you to relax, read a book, or watch a movie on your tablet.
This therapy freezes fat cells so they die. During this process, the cells crystalize, are broken down, and then get dissolved by the immune system. These actions take several months for the body to complete.
The best news is that once they die, fat cells do not return. They don’t regenerate, and other fat cells within your body will not mobilize to replace those that were lost. This is how you achieve the trimmer and more contoured appearance you want – the fat cells truly are eliminated.
What to Expect
Each session to freeze your fat away lasts about an hour. During treatment, you’ll likely feel some cold that lasts between five and 10 minutes. After that, treatment continues in a painless and easy-to-complete manner. You’ll feel very little.
Once we detach the applicator from your skin, we’ll conduct a brief massage to break up those cells that received treatment. This helps to enhance the process of cells freezing and dying. You don’t need to worry about recovery time because CoolSculpting omits incisions and damage to other tissues. You’ll be free to carry on your day.
On average, you can expect to lose about 20 percent of your existing fat in the treatment area. Achieving these results will likely require multiple sessions, and you can expect to see complete results a few months after starting treatment. But not to worry; you’ll start to notice a gradual improvement much sooner than this.
Going into this therapy requires that you have reasonable expectations. CoolSculpting is not intended to help you lose weight. In fact, we encourage patients to be at their ideal weights prior to treatment. This will help you maintain results for as long as possible; although CoolSculpting removes fat cells, those that remain can still enlarge if you gain weight.
Knowing that this therapy is not a weight-loss tool can help you set reasonable goals. CoolSculpting can, for example, remove the jiggle in your midsection, viscerate extra padding near the buttocks, and target other stubborn spots (we’ll cover this more later). The point is that you can use this therapy to add definition to certain parts of your body.
Most Popular Treatment Areas
This leads us to the areas that are most popular for CoolSculpting treatments. We’ll start with the stomach, which is one of the body’s most common fat storage sites. You can likely blame this on cortisol, the hormone known for its fight or flight response.
Cortisol, released in higher qualities during times of stress, prompts the body to hold onto its fat stores. So, no matter how well you’re eating or how much exercise you’re undertaking, it can be nearly impossible to lose fat in this area. For this reason, patients commonly want CoolSculpting here to give their abdomen a leaner appearance.
Fat that settles in the thighs can be just as stubborn as that in the abdomen. Thighs tend to be more problematic for women than men, which we can attribute to reproduction. The body naturally stores more fat in this area to support lactation when women need to breastfeed. Breastfeeding requires a great deal of energy, and the body recognizes this in advance.
It’s also true that some patients – men and women alike – naturally have more fat cells in their thighs. CoolSculpting can effectively tackle fat that exists on the inner thigh and on the outside (saddlebags).
Padding under the chin can strike even the thinnest patients. This we blame on the natural aging process, which depletes skin of its natural volume and firmness. As skin starts to sag, and fat moves down the face from the cheeks, it settles to create a “double chin.”
Thanks to the precision of targeted treatment, CoolSculpting can be applied to an area as small as the chin to remove fat cells. This restores one of the most youthful aspects of your face: a tighter jawline and more prominent neck.
Unfortunately, CoolSculpting isn’t ideal for treating jiggly or sagging skin on your arms. It can, however, be used to freeze fluffier fat in the upper arms to provide a more contoured appearance. This is especially ideal for men and women who have lost fat elsewhere but can’t quite get their arms where they want them to be.
Like the thighs, this is another area where the female body naturally stores more fat to support fertility. Men can similarly experience pockets of fat under the buttocks. Excess fat here can cause the body to look disproportionate. CoolSculpting smooths the buttocks to give a lifted and firmer appearance
Fat pockets can exist in two prominent spots of the back: love handles (the flanks of the lower back) and midback on the sides – in women, this is known as bra bulge, but men can experience it as well. Just as CoolSculpting can treat small areas, it’s also ideal for larger spots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many patients ask if CoolSculpting is safe, and we proudly report that it is. It’s not only safe but also highly effective. Some patients prefer this method to liposuction simply because it is non-invasive, which in and of itself makes it slightly safer.
What Are the Side Effects?
Patients also ask if the process to freeze your fat away comes with side effects. These are minimal, with the most common being slight redness in the treated area. You may also experience a little stinging or tingling. All in all, this therapy is more comfortable than most. The risk for human error is almost nil, and there’s no swelling or wound care to contend with.
It’s important to note that any side effects you might experience will resolve quickly. Again, this is because the treatment is non-invasive and doesn’t cause external body damage.
When Should You Start?
Patients who are planning vacations, family reunions, or weddings typically want to know the ideal time to start treatment. We suggest scheduling three to six months in advance of your event. This allows plenty of time to see complete results, and your skin will be nicely smooth.
Can You Treat Multiple Areas At Once?
We can certainly administer treatment to several parts of the body in one session. This reduces the time you need to spend in our office and also provides faster results. Many people refer to this as a cumulative effect, in which wobbles and pockets in multiple areas are targeted at the same time to improve your overall appearance.
How Many Treatments Are Necessary?
This is a tough question to answer, as treatment varies from person to person. One patient might need two or three sessions, while another may need four to achieve the desired results. In most cases, patients do need more than just one session.
We can tell you we’ll formulate a treatment plan that provides this information before you begin treatments. Additionally, as we monitor your progress, we’ll adjust the number of sessions you need if necessary.
The Skinny On Fat
People tend to think of fat as being universally the same, but it’s not. For better distinction, fat cells can be identified by three different colors: white, brown, and beige. Fat is also stored in three different ways: essential, subcutaneous, and visceral.
We provide you with these labels so you understand that fat throughout the body is not consistently the same. That in the stomach, for example, is visceral fat and can increase your risk for conditions like diabetes and stroke. Essential fat can be found in critical places like the brain and nerves, while subcutaneous fat sits beneath the skin.
Fat Is Important
Having some fat in the body is vital to crucial functions, including those that:
- Regulate temperature
- Stabilize hormones
- Improve reproductive health
- Store vitamins
- Ensure proper neurological function
- Maintain healthy metabolism
- Balance blood sugar
Having too much fat, however, can contribute to increased risk for disease, as discussed earlier. This is why having the correct amount of fat – a balance, so to speak – can promote overall health.
Dispelling The Myth
One of the most common myths is that high-fat foods cause too much fat. The reality is that refined, processed foods contribute far more to weight gain than dietary fat. Specifically, eating a lot of refined sugars can cause you to pack on more visceral fat. This poses this greatest risk for disease.
We urge you to remember that consuming more calories than you burn will also contribute to your body’s fat reserves. The best way to maintain your results after CoolSculpting is to enjoy a well-balanced diet and skip the refined sugars and grains. Staying physically active will further contribute to a toned body and improve cardiovascular health.
Lose Your Fat
To achieve the lean and youthful body you want, we recommend you freeze your fat away. This easy, non-invasive treatment can be done on a lunch hour or after you take the kids to school. Schedule your appointment today with The Plastic Surgery Center in Bradenton and Sarasota, FL, and enjoy the improved you.