Most of us are familiar with liposuction: an invasive cosmetic procedure undergone to rid the patient of excess weight. This cosmetic surgery reigned supreme for years, as it was the only option for men and women to effectively reduce fat content aside from diet and exercise. Within the past few years, however, a new medical procedure became available to the masses – CoolSculpting.
According to the CoolSculpting website, this non-invasive treatment promises to, “…contour your body by freezing unwanted fat.” But hold on – freeze your fat? Didn’t we learn ages ago in our high school chemistry class that to burn calories and fat you need heat? CoolSculpting seems to go against everything we thought we knew about weight loss, so if you’re skeptical we understand.
CoolSculpting differs from (and is said to be more effective than) working out in a gym to lose weight. Doing cardio – like walking, running and hitting the elliptical or StairMaster – reduces the size of fat cells, but does not eliminate them completely. CoolSculpting decreases the number of fat cells by 20% to 25% within the targeted area, making for a more effective and long-term sculpting of your body. If you do decide to take the plunge and splurge on this treatment, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 a pop, here’s what to expect.
First, because it is a medical procedure, you should always consult a certified professional when determining if this treatment is right for you. Before your appointment you will have a consultation with a CoolSculpting clinician to explain what your end-goal is, as well as discuss how to achieve those results.
When you go in for your treatment, a gel pad will be placed on the targeted area, followed up by the cooling device that freezes your fat cells. Treatments last anywhere from 35 to 60 minutes and because the procedure is non-invasive, you can read or watch Netflix while you’re getting it done to pass the time. At first you’ll feel intense cold and a pulling sensation from the suction of the machine, then numbness will set in 5 to 10 minutes into the procedure. Once the treatment is over you’ll feel some tingling in the area, the clinician will massage it for a few minutes and then you’re off to get back to the rest of your day.
The CoolSculpting treatment crystalizes your fat cells, and then your body needs time to process and eliminate those cells – so results are not immediate. Typically, your body will be able to do this in about a few weeks, and you may even need multiple sessions. The CoolSculpting website claims that there is no downtime to the procedure, but they do acknowledge that patients may feel temporary tingling, tenderness, cramping and bruising that can last days or weeks after the procedure is over (ouch).
So while CoolSculpting at first may seem like the perfect answer to all of our of weight loss and exercising woes, it’s still a medical procedure that demands our investment – in both time and major money. So, discomfort should always be taken into consideration before making any changes to your physical makeup.