Washington Dermatology Consultants has two offices, serving patients in and near Arlington and Stafford, VA. One of our most requested cosmetic treatments is CoolSculpting, which freezes away fat with no surgery and long-lasting results. Many patients tell us that they know it does work, but they want to understand exactly how it works.
Here is everything you need to know about the history, science, and art of CoolSculpting treatment.
Science and popsicles: How CoolSculpting technology was developed
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the technology behind CoolSculpting was discovered and developed by scientists at the esteemed Harvard University. However, the inspiration behind the science is surprisingly simple. CoolSculpting was inspired by dimple-cheeked children. More specifically, scientists observed that dimples seemed more common in kids who ate popsicles frequently. They began researching, and discovered their theory was correct.
Fat cells cannot survive at low temperatures. However, the temperature does not need to be low enough to cause frostbite or any other damage to the skin. A popsicle held against the inside of the cheek will quickly chill tissue all the way through. Even though the skin is not damaged, the repeated chilling of fat cells caused some of them to die, leaving kids with adorable cheek dimples.
The same principle applies to fat anywhere in the body. However, it is not as simple as holding an ice pack (or popsicle) against the skin. There is a thin layer of tissue in the cheeks, but fat in other areas is layered against muscles and organs, so these areas cannot safely be chilled all the way through. To achieve body sculpting safely and reliably, they needed to find a way to specifically target the fatty layer, chill it to a specific temperature, and consistently maintain that temperature for the required length of time – all while protecting the skin.
The result of this research was a brand-new technology called Cryolipolysis, and a new body shaping procedure aptly named CoolSculpting. How successful is it?
- Proven effective in clinical trials including more than 5,500 patients
- More than six million CoolSculpting procedures have been performed around the world, with an excellent patient satisfaction rating.
- Leading CoolSculpting doctors and researchers have published papers in over 100 peer-reviewed journals and other publications.
- CoolSculpting has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, and many other national media programs.
What happens during treatment
The CoolSculpting procedure is completely noninvasive, and quite comfortable. This is how it works:
- A thin cotton pad with skin protectant gel is applied to the treatment area. It prevents adverse effects on the skin.
- A suction device is used to pull tissue into the applicator cup. You might notice a tugging sensation, similar to what you might feel if you grabbed a “love handle” and tugged.
- The CoolSculpting applicator provides precision temperature control, chilling and hardening targeted fat. You will feel intense coldness, but it should fade within minutes as the area numbs.
- A percentage of fat cells in the treatment area crystalize, causing them to die. The body’s natural processes then take over. Gradually the fat, and the cells it was contained in, are broken down and eliminated.
- The body does not heal or replace fat cells. Once they are eliminated, the treated area will have a lower number of fat cells for the rest of your life. No changes in diet or exercise are needed to maintain the results of CoolSculpting.
You can return to normal daily activities after treatment with no downtime. Side effects are generally mild. You may have some bruising, and for the first few days or weeks you may experience sensations such as tingling, itching, numbness, or soreness in the treatment area.
Within a couple of months dramatic improvement should be visible, though it can take up to six months for the full results to develop. CoolSculpting can achieve dramatic improvement after just one treatment, but you aren’t limited to one. Additional treatments can be performed, each yielding progressive improvement.
It’s your body – sculpt it the way you want!
The best way to understand the wonders of CoolSculpting is to experience it for yourself. Give us a call at 571-431-6175 and schedule a consultation to find out if you are a good candidate.