Does CoolSculpting actually work?
“Getting stuff done” is no longer a closely guarded secret. However, whether you’re thinking about going under the knife or under the needle, you have a right to know. From injectables to invasive treatments, we’re breaking down everything you need to know in our Life in Plastic series. Change your appearance or not—the thing is, the choice is yours.
Let’s get one thing straight: fat-targeting procedures are polarizing. As the campaign to reclaim the term fat—and eliminate the stigma associated with it—proliferates, so does interest in cosmetic surgeries and injectables. (According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ most recent figures, the number of liposuction procedures increased by 5% last year, while noninvasive fat reduction therapies increased by 6%.) Our interactions with our bodies are complex, and they rarely fit neatly into a single belief system.
What Is Coolsculpting and How Does It Work?
First and foremost: “Fat-freezing fat reduction” is how Coolsculpting is described. Because it’s noninvasive and requires short recovery time, doctors frequently recommend it as an liposuction surgery. The method, known scientifically as cryolipolysis, involves suctioning fat from specific locations using a vacuum-like device. It then deep-freezes your fat cells, causing them to die and be removed naturally through your lymphatic system. (It’s exactly what it sounds like.)
It’s safe to use under your chin and jawline, on your thighs, tummy, and flanks (also known as “love handles”), for bra fat, and underneath your buttocks and upper arms. The only stipulation is that you must have enough fat for the applicator to stick on. Appointments last around 45 minutes, and the treatment isn’t uncomfortable, at least in my experience.
When the applicator suctions on your skin, it feels exceedingly cold at first, but then your skin numbs, almost like your foot does when it falls asleep. They swiftly massage out the frozen patch of fat after removing the equipment, which most believe is the worst part. It’ll be over before you realize it. In Beverly Hills, I had my sessions with cosmetic surgeon Ashkan Ghavami, M.D. We scheduled three appointments in total: one for my chin and two for my abdomen, each six weeks apart.
It’s been two years since I had Coolsculpting, and I’m still getting asked if I’d do it again. Yes, and I’d probably have my stomach and flanks treated as well. While I was pleased with my Coolsculpting results, there are a few things I wish I had known ahead of time to help me manage my expectations. Here are eight things to consider before scheduling your own appointment.
Coolsculpting Doesn’t Always Help You Lose Weight
Although Coolsculpting is FDA-approved, it does not guarantee that your fat will vanish permanently. If you gain weight, the regions you treated may also acquire weight. “The fat that perished isn’t coming back, but fat can still develop,” says Facile Dermatology Boutique’s board-certified dermatologist Nancy Samolitis, M.D. Weighing you before the first treatment is part of the Coolsculpting process in case you gain weight afterward. “If you’ve gained 10 pounds, it may even out, and you’ll look like you did before,” she explains. For the record, I’ve gained 10 pounds, and while the treatments gave me more sculpted results, fresh fat has grown back in certain regions.
At the very least, two treatments are recommended
In principle, you can observe fat loss in regions like your stomach, sides, and chin after just one session. Ghavami, on the other hand, said that two sessions are best for long-term outcomes. For larger areas like your abdomen, you might want to schedule three treatments.
Results take a few months to appear
I expected to walk out of the therapy with my fat magically vanished, but that did not happen. Ghavami explained that after my second round, I will see the best effects. “Fat reduction of twenty to twenty-five percent is expected after two sessions,” he says. “The best outcomes will be seen three to six months following the second session.” He was correct; when I looked in the mirror one morning, I realized that my chin and stomach had both slimmed down significantly. However, you must be patient.
Talk to board certified Santa Monica plastic surgeon Reza Nabavian MD about liposuction today.
Reza Nabavian MD
2001 Santa Monica Blvd #1180
Santa Monica, CA 90404