Is CoolSculpting The New Liposuction?

Touted as the hottest alternative to liposuction, cryolipolysis is big news right now. Like, huge.

Otherwise known as fat freezing or CoolSculpting, cryolipolysis was the fastest-growing trend in non-surgical cosmetic treatments last year. And with its promise of destroying fat cells without having to even look at, let alone be subjected to ‘the knife,’ it’s understandable why.

Sometimes no amount of lunges, SoulCycle classes, healthy eating or candy bans are able to shift certain stubborn areas of fat – yes, we’re talking to you, muffin top. And you can blame nature and genetics all you like, but that won’t get results.

Historically, this is where liposuction has always come to the rescue, removing those hard-to-shift bulges most commonly found on your hips, thighs, buttocks and abdomen.

Liposuction works by removing pesky fat pockets to help sculpt your body and slim certain areas. A surgeon makes a number of small incisions into your skin, then, as the name suggests, uses suction to literally draw out excess fat through a small, stainless steel tube called a cannula. It may sound a little gross, but it’s extremely effective and it’s one of the most popular surgical procedures in the country (along with nose jobs and boob jobs in case you were wondering).

The issue for many people, however, is that lipo is no walk in the park. Not only is the procedure very invasive, but recovery can be painful and typically lasts around two or three weeks. It’s also not without risks such as infection, bleeding and even organ damage.

This is why alternative fat-attacking treatments have gained such momentum in recent years and why, after gaining approval from the FDA in 2010, CoolSculpting became such a major breakthrough.

So, what is CoolSculpting? Well, it’s a non-invasive medical treatment that uses a controlled cooling system to freeze and destroy fat without damaging the skin. These fat cells die, then over time are naturally processed and eliminated by the body.

The theory is that fat cells are more sensitive to cooler temperatures than other cells in the body and this stemmed from studies of infants who developed dimples in their cheeks after sucking popsicles. Yes, really. Research eventually confirmed this selective freezing of fat cells could reduce them by around 20-25 percent. And CoolSculpting was born.

The questions on most people’s lips, however, is does it really work and is it safe?

“Over a million CoolSculpting treatments have been performed worldwide and it’s been proven to be safe and very effective,” explains Dr. Stephen J. Ronan, MD FACS, HintMD partner and founder of Blackhawk Plastic Surgery & MedSpa.

“I’ve seen some fantastic results at Blackhawk Plastic Surgery, where we develop customized treatment plans for each individual’s needs, goals and budget.

“The procedure is fairly quick, relatively painless and requires very little downtime. It’s a great option for many of our patients, and we’ve seen a lot of success. What’s not to like?” Dr. Ronan adds.

CoolSculpting has been approved to treat fat in various areas, including the submental area (double chin), thighs (chub rub), abdomen, arms and flank, along with bra bulges, back fat and that annoying area underneath the buttocks that’s otherwise known as the banana roll.

Like any procedure, it’s not without some minor risks such as surface irregularities and side effects like temporary redness, swelling, stinging or skin sensitivity. And this is why we always stress the importance of seeking out an experienced, board-certified practitioner to carry out the treatment.

But you know that, right?

Written by: Georgia Gould