Serendipity often leads to some of the most significant advances in science and medicine. CoolSculpting® is just one such example of where a “happy accident” led to a significant advance in non-surgical body contouring. The observation by doctors that children who ate lots of popsicles developed permanent dimples in the cheeks due to fat loss was the initial insight. This observation led to the development of technology that could safely and effectively freeze fat to improve the contour of unsightly bulges of the body that are resistant to exercise and diet.
Genetics often predisposes us to have bulges of fat in certain areas of the body that do not improve even with significant efforts. These resistant fat deposits traditionally have been treated with liposuction to correct them. While much less invasive today, the downtime associated with liposuction is not an option for many patients due to their hectic schedules and responsibilities. Others just don’t like the thought of getting their extra fat sucked out or of being poked and prodded. Fortunately, improvements in technology have made non-surgical freezing of fat to improve body contour a reality today.
During a consultation, the physician will assess the problem areas that are of concern. Discrete bulges that can easily be grasped with two hands and pulled away from the body respond very well to this treatment. Soft fat responds much better than hard fibrous fat. Popular areas for treatment include the upper and lower abdomen, love handles, bra rolls, arms and inner thighs. A treatment plan of one to two treatment sessions is developed.
Treatment involves a reasonably comfortable procedure performed in the office without any medications. A cool gel sheet is applied to protect the skin. A suction cup device is applied to the problem area which sucks the skin and fat in and gently freezes the fat. The crystallization of fat leads to permanent clearance of these fat cells and byproducts through the lymphatic system and liver. The permanent reduction in fat cells leads to a significant reduction in size of the bulge. More dramatic improvement can be achieved with two sessions separated one month apart. After the procedure, patients can drive themselves home and resume normal activities that same day. Some patients may experience numbness, tingling or a mild burning sensation after the treatment, but this typically resolves quickly. Most patients are candidates for CoolSculpting® unless they are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a cold related blood disorder. To learn more about CoolSculpting® visit https://www.bitarinstitute.com/coolsculpting-va.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.