By Donna Potter

CoolSculpting advertisements have been abundant in the media recently. CoolSculpting claims to eliminate stubborn fat without surgery or down time, without a special diet or exercise, and with no incisions or scarring. This sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

What is CoolSculpting and what does it involve?

CoolSculpting is an exciting advancement in science and the technology was developed right here in New England. Two scientists from Harvard University, Dr. Dieter Manstein, and Dr. R. Rox Anderson, observed that some children had dimples in their cheeks from sucking on popsicles. From that observation came the idea that cold could selectively destroy fat without damaging the skin or underlying tissues. This is how the concept of cryolipolysis became the proven science on which the CoolSculpting procedure was developed.

The CoolSculpting procedure is clinically proven and FDA-cleared. There is no downtime except for the procedure time, and it has lasting results. There is no surgery, no needles, no anesthesia, no special diets and no exercise required. There have been millions of cycles completed to date with great long-lasting results.

How does CoolSculpting actually work?

Well, beginning in adolescence, your body has a certain number of fat cells which generally remain constant throughout your life. Those fat cells enlarge and expand with weight gain and loss. The CoolSculpting system has various sized applicators available to target different pockets of fat throughout your body. An applicator is placed onto the skin overlying the fat and the cooling begins. Most people feel cold at the treatment area for a few minutes and then very little sensation thereafter. You can read, watch TV, work on your computer or cell phone, or even take a nap. The treatment time is short and typically varies from 35 minutes to one hour per applicator.

After the procedure, your skin will feel numb for a couple of weeks and sometimes a bit itchy or slightly sore, but there are no lasting side effects and no damage to the underlying nerves or tissue. Once the fat cells are treated, they will not come back and are gone for good. Yes, it is permanent. Although fat is destroyed, there are no other significant medical benefits such as a reduction in weight or a change in blood levels such as cholesterol, and, therefore, is not a procedure that insurance covers. Once the fat is frozen, it is slowly and naturally eliminated through your body. Changes may be seen as early as three to four weeks, but generally people see the most noticeable results after eight to 12 weeks.

What if you gain weight afterward?

This is not a weight-reduction procedure and you still need to watch your weight as well as keep healthy lifestyle habits. But as long as you maintain your weight with your normal diet and exercise regimen, your long-term results should remain stable. This technology does not work with just any kind of fat. It has to be pinchable fat, also known as subcutaneous fat. This is the fat just under the skin and in front of the muscle. The other kind of fat in your body is called visceral fat. This is the fat that is around the organs and behind your muscle. How do you distinguish between the two types of fat? The easiest way to distinguish between the two is to pinch your abdomen or another area of your body that has a pocket of fat. Can you pinch and pull out a pocket of fat between your fingers? Or do you feel muscle or a hard wall in front of the fat? If it’s the latter, this is not the fat that is able to be treated and you would not be a candidate for CoolSculpting. The CoolSculpting technology targets subcutaneous fat. Diet and exercise treat visceral fat.

The most common areas that are treated with CoolSculpting are the abdomen and flanks. Other fat areas that tend to be stubborn in response to diet and exercise that respond well to this treatment include: under the chin fat, bra fat, arm fat, above the knee fat, the banana roll (the roll just under your bottom), inner thighs, outer thighs, and any other place you can imagine with pinchable fat that fits into one of the applicators.

With millions of CoolSculpting procedures performed worldwide to date, feeling better about yourself is possible with treatment plans specifically tailored for your individual body.

Donna Potter, NP, works with Southeastern Vein Specialists of Hyannis and Mashpee, www.southeasternveinspecialists.com. She can be reached at (508) 775-1984 or donnamariepotter724@yahoo.com.

This article was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Health & Wealth.