A question we often get asked in our Tucson, Arizona office is “What is Coolsculpting, and how does Coolsculpting work?” Coolsculpting is an in office procedure that is performed by an FDA approved device compromised of a control unit and several site specific applicators. Coolsculpting is non-invasive, no incisions or injections are performed. The process is nearly painless and requires no anesthesia. Coolsculpting can be used at many different sites on the body to decrease the amount of fat in an area. Different areas that can be addressed with Coolsculpting include the abdomen, flanks, upper back fat, beneath the chin, thighs, and arms. With a Coolsculpting treatment, you can expect to see a 30% decrease in the fat in the area treated.
There are several different applicators that are used depending on the location of the body that is to be treated. The Coolsculpting applicator is placed over a treatment area, such as the abdomen, and a vacuum is engaged which pulls the tissue of the treatment area into the cooling panels. The fat that is pulled into the applicator gets cooled and initiates the process of fat cell death. Approximately 30% of the fat that gets treated will be eliminated through a natural program of cell death known as apoptosis. This process takes 1-3 months to see the final results as the rate of fat cell death varies from person to person.
When a patient comes to Rao Plastic Surgery for a Coolsculpting consult we discuss what areas the patient would like to address. I examine the patient and determine if they are a good candidate for Coolsculpting and whether Coolsculpting will help them reach their aesthetic goals. Once I determine that they are a good candidate for Coolsculpting I then determine which applicator to use. The choice of the applicator is driven by area that the patient wants treated and which applicator will best fit their contour.
At the time of your treatment we bring you into our dedicated Coolsculpting room and template the areas to be treated. We apply a gel pad over the area to be treated and then place the applicator over the marked area. We engage the vacuum and then check to make sure there is adequate tissue in contact with the cooling panels. Once the session has begun you are free to read, watch a movie or televsion, catch up on work, or just sleep and relax. Each area treated takes anywhere from 35 minutes to one hour depending on the area treated and the applicator chosen. After each area is treated there is a two minute manual massage which improves the amount of fat destruction. After you have completed your treatment you are free to go about your day, there are no activity restrictions or down time after the treatment. After receiving a Coolsculpting treatment, we have had people travel, play golf, go hiking, and go to the gym.
The recovery is very simple after Coolsculpting. You may have some minor discomfort such as one might feel after a bruise, or tingling in the treated area, but it is very minimal. Over the counter ibuprofen or Tylenol can be taken for any discomfort, but the majority of the patients do not even require over the counter pain medications. The friendly staff at Rao Plastic Surgery will call to check on you the next day. At one month after a treatment we schedule an appointment to evaluate your progress. Occasionally patients need additional treatment sessions to achieve the desired results, depending on the amount of fat in each area. The best results are typically seen after two treatment sessions.