For the past couple of years those of us interested in developing technology-based Aesthetic treatments have been working on ways to reduce fat without injections or surgery. A number of approaches have been used including lasers, ultrasound, electrical energy, mechanical devices and cold therapy (known technically as cryolipolysis.) To date, the greatest amount of both work and success has been achieved using this latter technique. We are extremely pleased to be one of a very few sites in the United States and first site in a several-state region to offer this exciting technology.
What is Cryolipolysis?
Cryolipolysis refers to cold-induced injury to fat. Interestingly, fat cells are more susceptible to reduced temperature than skin. Therefore when fat and skin are cooled simultaneously, fat can be injured while the skin remains unharmed. Zeltiq® is the name of a company that manufactures a device designed to use a vacuum to draw a fold of skin and fat between 2 cooling plates. When the cooling plates are activated, the temperature of the tissue is lowered to a point where the skin remains healthy but some of the fat is irreversibly injured. Over a period of approximately 3 months the fat layer gradually becomes thinner. As the reduction in fat occurs slowly, risks associated with this procedure seem to be minimal.
Where Does the Fat Go?
When the injured fat cells die, they are removed by the body’s natural repair mechanisms. On account of the gradual nature of the induced changes, despite careful testing there is no detectable increase in the blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides or other potentially harmful byproducts of the fat breakdown process.
Tell Me More About CoolSculpting by Zeltiq Treatment. Who is a Good Candidate? What is Actually Involved?
Ideal candidates for CoolSculpting treatment must have discrete bulges of fat. Generally obese individuals are not good candidates. CoolSculpting treatment is not a weight loss procedure. The anatomic regions that the currently available device is able to treat include the abdomen, flanks (“love handles”) and back (the fat pads located just below the bra-strap area). CoolSculpting treatments are performed in the office without sedation, pain medications, anesthesia or numbing creams. There is minimal discomfort as the vacuum applicator is applied and cooled, then no pain for the remainder of the treatment. A typical session to treat a single region on both sides of the body takes 2-3 hours. Patients are encouraged to bring a book, iPod, computer or other activity to help pass the time during a CoolSculpting treatment. Bruising in the treated area is not uncommon after the CoolSculpting procedure. This resolves over a period of days to weeks like any other bruise. There are no special instructions or limitations of activity after CoolSculpting treatment. In the future, we anticipate that other anatomic regions will be amenable to treatment via the CoolSculpting technique. Efforts are also underway to reduce treatment times.
How Much Improvement Can I Anticipate after CoolSculpting Treatment?
CoolSculpting treatment should not be considered a replacement for surgical liposuction. The amount of improvement after a treatment is somewhat variable with some patients achieving more impressive changes than others. Additional CoolSculpting treatments lead to further reduction in fat layer thickness. Ongoing improvements can be measured for up to 4 months after a single CoolSculpting treatment.
Is the CoolSculpting Procedure FDA Approved?
Yes, CoolSculpting treatment is approved by the FDA for the noninvasive reduction of fat.
How important is it that CoolSculpting be performed by an experienced user?
Extremely. Like any other procedure, CoolSculpting demands knowledge and experience to achieve the best outcomes. The Nashville Centre for Laser and Facial Surgery was the first practice in the mid-South to obtain this exciting technology and thus has longer experience than any other in its best uses.
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