CoolSculpting® for Noninvasive Body Contouring
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 the only 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 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 most effectively include the abdomen, flanks (“love handles”), and back (the fat pads located just below the bra-strap area). Other areas such as the thighs and arms can be treated in select cases. 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. In an effort to decrease the amount of time required to perform the CoolSculpting procedure, a recently introduced applicator reduced abdominal treatment times by 2.5 times.
How Much Improvement Can I Anticipate after CoolSculpting Treatment?
CoolSculpting treatment should not be considered a replacement for surgical liposuction. Carefully performed studies demonstrate an average of just under 20% reduction in fat layer thickness with each CoolSculpting treatment. The amount of improvement after a treatment can be 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?
CoolSculpting treatment is now indicated for noninvasive body contouring in the United States. This means that the FDA has reviewed the scientific information about the Zeltiq pro. Call today to learn if you are a candidate for CoolSculpting treatment.
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