One of the fastest growing areas in aesthetics is non-surgical body contouring. Leading the way in this exciting new technology is Coolsculpting. The device was first FDA approved in 2010 and has continuously improved by offering more diverse treatments and decreased treatment times.
How It Works:
Coolsculpting operates on the principle of cryolipolysis which simply means freezing fat. At this point I want to do some name dropping. Two doctors I have long been associated with through the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, Rox Anderson and Dieter Manstein, were instrumental in the development of this technology. It is fun to listen to them discuss what a simple concept this is –Freezing Fat!– and how powerful the concept works in practice. Your skin and other soft tissue other than fat are mostly water. Water freezes at 32°, so skin will not freeze until it reaches 32°. Fat, however, freezes at 34.5°. This temperature is significantly higher than the freezing point of other soft tissues. Drs Anderson and Manstein developed a way to remove the heat from a targeted area to the point that the fat freezes and other body tissues do not freeze, therefore creating Selective Cryolypolysis.
What is the Plus?
The routine Coolsculpting procedure calls for vigorous massage of treatment area after applicator is removed. This encourages and increases fat cell death and improves results.
Studies have shown that treating the Coolsculpting area with AWT improves results dramatically compared to massage alone. For this reason, at Pure Radiance , we use AWT on every treatment area where it can be applied. Some areas may not be a candidate for AWT such as arm fat and bra fat. AWT stands for Acoustic Wave Therapy. This science has been used for years to treat a variety of issues including cellulite. For more, see Blog on AWT.
The Coolsculpting device uses applicators which are designed to fit specific areas of the body that commonly accumulate unwanted fat. Much of the fat in these areas is “resistant fat”, meaning it is difficult to loose, even with diet and exercise. 20-25% of the fat in the treated area will die and be absorbed and eliminated over a two month period. Once the fat cells die, they do not return or reappear in another place of the body. This is different than weight loss, where the fat cells shrink but do not go away. It is the same as liposuction, where the fat cells are removed, never to return. Unlike surgical removal, there is no down time. A patient can return to work immediately following treatment.
What Areas Can Be Treated:
Applicators have been developed for the upper and lower abdomen, muffin top/love handles, bra fat, inner and outer thighs, under the chin. Most recently the FDA approved Coolsculpting for upper arm fat.
Coolsculpting achieves the best results for patients within 30 lbs of their ideal body weight. It is not a weight loss treatment. It is best used to smooth bulges we don’t like that are resistant to exercise and dieting.
Since Coolsculpting was introduced other methods of selective fat destruction have entered the market. Radio frequency, laser, injectables, and ultrasound are all being used for body contouring. All of these other methods require multiple treatments to achieve the fat reduction of one Coolsculpting treatment. Some only shrink fat cells rather than kill them making them less effective.
When all is considered, it is obvious why non-surgical body contouring is so popular. If you have questions, I invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our technicians at Pure Radiance.
Mack Stewart, M.D.