A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Freezing fat: An option for ‘problem spots’

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CoolSculpting® is an FDA-approved, nonsurgical option for eliminating “problem spots,” such as love handles and lingering belly fat.

Free CoolSculpting consults now in Marshfield. Schedule one today by calling 715-387-5557.

Eating right? Check. Exercising? Check. “Problem spots” still there? Check …

Without a doubt, a healthful diet and daily dose of activity are the best ways to lose and keep off weight. Unfortunately, genetics may not always agree when it comes to your tummy, love handles, butt and thighs where fat may linger long after you’ve dropped additional pounds.

For some, a nonsurgical weight-loss option called CoolSculpting® may be the answer.

Freezing away fat: How it works

CoolSculpting® is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medical procedure that, in simplest terms, freezes fat cells away for good.

Over 2-3 one-hour sessions, a machine cools the targeted area. This process kills fat cells, which your body then naturally processes and eliminates.

While not as powerful as liposuction, it doesn’t require incisions, anesthesia or downtime. Also, results are subtler, making it an ideal option for “problem spots.”

“For anyone looking to remove those pesky areas like love handles, which may stick around due to genetics and not lack of personal effort, CoolSculpting® is worth considering,” said Dr. Michael Harl, a plastic surgeon at Marshfield Clinic Health System. “More than 1 million CoolSculpting® procedures have been performed worldwide and we’ve found it to be safe and effective.”

Who qualifies?

If your body mass index is 35 or less and you don’t have any diseases triggered by cold, then it’s likely you’re a candidate, Harl said.

The procedure is elective, though, meaning health insurance doesn’t cover the cost.

Those who qualify usually start seeing results in about 3 weeks with the final results by 3 months.

“Many people don’t have time to recover from a surgery because of busy schedules, work and family obligations,” Harl said. “With CoolSculpting® you have no activity restrictions after treatment. If you feel like it, you could even go to the gym on the same day.”

What to expect with CoolSculpting®

Some patients report a bit of discomfort during the procedure. This results from the machine sucking targeted fat into a small chamber where it’s cooled.

“Think about it like a combination between a vacuum and freezer,” Harl said. “Some patients have said it feels like pulling, combined with a cold feeling that may include stinging.”

Discomfort lessens after about 10 minutes when the skin becomes numb, Harl said.

Occasionally, people do not see improvement after the first treatment and require repeat treatment. Typically, the improvement in contour is maintained over time because those fat cells are gone, Harl said.

For more information on CoolSculpting®, click here. Or, to schedule an assessment call Marshfield Clinic Plastic Surgery, 715-387-5557.

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