Liposuction is among the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures performed in North America, so it’s pretty safe to assume that it’s common for people to want to get rid of “love handles” and other areas of unwanted fat. That also helps explain the surging popularity of CoolSculpting treatments at my New Jersey practice for patients who want a non-surgical alternative to liposuction.
CoolSculpting treatments are non-invasive procedures that take advantage of the fact that low temperatures can kill fat cells without damaging the skin or surrounding tissue. It’s a safe and extremely effective process that’s cleared by the FDA for fat reduction in the abdominal area, thighs, and elsewhere. As its popularity continues to grow, more people have questions about the procedure. Here are a few of the most common queries and my answers:
- Does it work as well as liposuction?
For a patient with pockets of exercise-resistant fat, CoolSculpting treatments can be a suitable alternative to liposuction. The key is to have an experienced provider and a detailed treatment plan before beginning the procedure. Patients with larger areas of fat that they want reduced may require liposuction to get the desired results, though. Neither CoolSculpting treatments nor liposuction should be viewed as a weight-loss procedure. They are designed for healthy men and women who want a contoured shape.
- What does a CoolSculpting treatment feel like?
There are various ways patients describe the sensations they experience during a CoolSculpting session, but virtually all say they are comfortable during most of the procedure. During the first few minutes, when skin is squeezed between panels on the applicator using vacuum suction, it can feel like the skin is being pulled. After the initial cooling period, there is some numbness. Most liken the sensation to using an icepack and say there is some tenderness afterward.
- Couldn’t I just use an icepack?
If freezing fat gets rid of it, some people wonder, why can’t you just place icepacks on your belly to get the same results? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. The CoolSculpting process lowers the temperature of fat cells in a carefully controlled, precise manner to avoid damaging the skin or other tissues. An icepack will injure your skin and probably result in scarring or frostbite.