What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting, also called cryolipolysis, is a medical procedure that helps eliminate excess fat cells underneath your skin. There are several benefits to CoolSculpting, but it’s also essential to be aware of the risks associated with this procedure. The procedure can help get rid of small amounts of excess fat that doesn’t easily go away with diet and exercise.
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During a CoolSculpting procedure, a plastic surgeon or other licensed practitioner uses a special tool to cool certain parts of your body to freezing temperature. This destroyss fat cells in the part of your body that you’re having treated. Within a few weeks of treatment, these dead fat cells are naturally broken down and flushed out of your body through your liver.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has certified CoolSculpting as a safe medical treatment. CoolSculpting is nonsurgical and noninvasive, and the procedure usually lasts for about two hours, so it has many benefits over traditional liposuction. CoolSculpting requires no recovery time. And it’s 20-25 percent effective in reducing fat cells in a given treatment area.
However, CoolSculpting can cause several side effects, and it’s not recommended for everyone.
Risks and side effects of CoolSculpting
Some common side effects of CoolSculpting include:
Tugging sensation at the treatment site
During a CoolSculpting procedure, your doctor will place a roll of fat between two cooling panels on the part of your body that’s being treated. This can create a sensation of tugging or pulling that you’ll have to put up with for the duration of the procedure.
Pain or stinging at the treatment site
Researchers have discovered that a common side effect of CoolSculpting is stinging, pain, or aching at the treatment site. These sensations begin soon after treatment and lasts for about two weeks after treatment. The intense and penetrating cold temperatures that the skin and tissue are subjected to during cryolipolysis may be the cause.
A study from 2015 examined the results of people who had collectively done 554 CoolSculpting procedures over one year. The review discovered that any post-treatment pain usually lasted 3-11 days and went away on its own.
Temporary inflammation at the treatment site
Common CoolSculpting side effects include bruising, swelling, skin sensitivity, and temporary redness, all located where the treatment was done. These temporary symptoms are caused by exposure to cold temperatures. They usually go away on their own after a few weeks. These side effects occur because CoolSculpting affects the skin in a similar manner as frostbite, in this case targeting the fatty tissue just below the skin. However, CoolSculpting is safe and will not give you frostbite.
Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia at the treatment site
This is a very rare but serious side effect of cryolipolysis, it occurs most in men. This means the fat cells in the treatment site grow larger rather than smaller. It’s not fully understood why this occurs. Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia doesn’t go away on its own.
Who should avoid CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a safe and effective treatment for reducing body fat in most people. However, there are some people who should not receive this treatment. People with the following conditions should avoid CoolSculpting:
- cold agglutinin disease
- paroxysmal cold hemoglobulinuria
CoolSculpting could cause serious complications for people with these maladies.
Whether or not you have these preexisting conditions, it’s vital to discuss with your doctor before seeking out a plastic or cosmetic surgeon to perform the procedure. Note that CoolSculpting is not a treatment for obesity.
The fat cells eliminated by CoolSculpting procedure never return because the body eliminates them. There are no cuts because it’s a noninvasive procedure, and there’s no scarring after treatment. There’s also no required rest or recovery time. Results may begin to show in as little as a few weeks. If you are a good candidate for CoolSculpting, go for it, however, consult your doctor first.