A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

CoolSculpting: What to expect when you freeze fat

Senior woman enjoying a run on the beach - CoolSculpting, what to expect

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive approach to freeze fat and get rid of it in problem areas hard to target with diet and exercise.

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Even with diet and exercise, there are specific places on the human body where it is hard to get rid of fat cells. CoolSculpting® is a non-invasive approach to freeze fat and get rid of it in those areas.

The procedure uses cold temperatures to freeze and kill fat cells while not affecting the skin. Over the period of 1-3 weeks, the body processes the fat and removes these dead cells.

The treatment is completed over a one-hour period:

  1. A gel pad or gel is applied to the target area.
  2. An applicator is then applied and draws the tissue into the applicator cup, which can cause pulling, tugging and mild pinching.
  3. The applicator then delivers cold temperature to the targeted area to freeze fat. You may feel intense cold for 10 minutes until the area becomes numb. Many people read or check email during their session.

“Some people actually fall asleep during the treatment,” said Dr. Michael Harl, a plastic surgeon for Marshfield Clinic Health System.

CoolSculpting® can be used on stubborn fat cells in the abdomen, thigh, flank (side), under the chin, bra fat, back fat, fat underneath the buttocks and upper arm.

What you need to know

While CoolSculpting® can help with stubborn fat, there are some limitations.

I think it is important to talk to a plastic surgeon who can offer you many different options,” Harl said.

He advises that CoolSculpting® does not fix excess skin, and in some cases liposuction or other measures may be more effective. He also would not recommend CoolSculpting® if being cold is harmful to any other health conditions.

Harl said most patients should expect to have at least two sessions before they see results they are expecting, and that treatments can cause numbness in treated areas for up to a week afterwards.

The procedure is elective, meaning health insurance doesn’t cover the cost. If you are interested in CoolSculpting®, talk to a plastic surgeon for more information.

  1. Aug 31, 2018
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