As summer draws closer, we are fielding more calls about body contouring procedures. You may have been putting in the effort to tighten and tone, only to end up frustrated at the lack of dramatic results. More people are discovering that as advantageous as diet and exercise can be, the path to a tight, tone body may involve a bit more. CoolSculpting might be that “icing on the top” that your body needs to be ready for summer. If this is something you’re considering, you’re probably wondering how quickly you’ll see results. Let’s see if we can answer this question.
How CoolSculpting Works
CoolSculpting is an inventive fat-reduction method that differs from anything we’ve seen to date. Historically, we have removed excess fat using the liposuction technique. We’ve also seen devices developed to melt fat with literal heat from laser platforms. The CoolSculpting device is different because it creates the scenario for cryolipolysis to occur. “Cryo” is a term that pertains to ice or freezing (think cryotherapy). “Lipolysis” refers to fat degradation or breakdown. Scientists decided to test out the theory that freezing temperatures could lead to the breakdown of fat, and they discovered it absolutely can.
During CoolSculpting treatments, an area of fat, such as the abdomen, is suctioned up and between two panels. The gentle suction secures fatty tissue while the panels gradually adjust to cooler and cooler temperatures until the target degree is reached. Studies have indicated that superficial fat reaches approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the hour-long session. By cooling fat cells to this degree, tiny crystals form inside of them. This can happen because the lipids inside of fat cells are fluid. Studies on fat cells after CoolSculpting indicate that these crystals remain present hours after treatment, and this is where cryolipolysis begins.
When the body realizes that certain fat cells have crystallized, it sets out to eliminate them because, biologically, they are “damaged.”
The process we have just described does take time. The injured cells are eliminated by being broken down further and metabolized by the lymphatic system. This doesn’t happen overnight. The gradual nature of fat elimination can actually make it difficult to notice the change that is taking place. That’s why most of our patients take before and after photos. While we may start to see better contours within three weeks of initial treatment, they peak at about the 3-month mark.