You’re a healthy weight, you eat a nutritious diet and work out regularly. But you still have an embarrassing roll of fat on your tummy or a muffin top that hangs over the waistband of your jeans. For years, the best option you had for removing that extra, unwanted fat was liposuction, a surgical procedure that required a few weeks downtime.
Newer, less invasive ways to get rid of your unwanted fat include CoolSculpting, a treatment that actually freezes the fat to destroy it. While CoolSculpting has earned high praise from people who’ve tried it, there are still some things people don’t know about it. As with any procedure, you’ll want to consult with a plastic surgeon before deciding if the treatment is right for you. In the mean time, here are a few things you may not have known about it.
The Treatment Can Take Many Hours
The duration of a CoolSculpting session depends on how many areas you are having treated. If you are just concerned about the fat on your abdomen, you may just need a single treatment session, which can last about one hour. But, if you would like to reduce the fat on both of your thighs and on your abdomen, the treatment can take about three hours. Generally, you can assume that each area treated will need about an hour’s worth of CoolSculpting.
Although you may need to spend several hours in treatment, the benefit of it is that you’ll be fully awake and alert. You can ask your surgeon about bringing along a tablet or laptop, so that you can get some work done. Or, you might be able to use the time to catch up on your reading.
You Might Feel Some Discomfort
CoolSculpting isn’t a pain or discomfort-free treatment. The device picks up the area being targeted with a bit of suction, which can create a feeling of pressure and discomfort. Also, the initial blast of cold might feel a bit unpleasant. Usually, any feelings of discomfort wear off about 10 minutes into the treatment.
After the treatment is over, you might have some soreness in the treated area for a few days, and the area might be red or swollen. The treated area will have pronounced swelling immediately after treatment, but your surgeon will most likely massage that away. In many cases, people are able to get back to their lives right after a CoolSculpting session.
You Need to Give It Time
While some cosmetic treatments give instant results, when it comes to CoolSculpting, you’ll need to give things time to work. In some cases, you may need a second treatment about a month after the first, to get the results you want. Usually, patients see results after two or three months. While some people see results after just a few weeks, it can take even longer, up to four to six months, for your body to start looking the way you’d hoped it would.
You Can Make the Results Last
After your treatment and after the results appear, it’s up to you to make them last. Continue to eat a healthy, nutritious diet and to exercise. While the fat that was destroyed during the CoolSculpting treatment won’t come back, it is possible for the remaining fat cells to expand if you eat a high calorie diet or stop working out. The expanded fat cells will reduce the appearance of any results you gained from CoolSculpting.
You Might Want a Lift After It
Like liposuction, CoolSculpting is only concerned with removing fat from the body. It won’t reduce excess skin or make your skin more elastic. That means that if you have loose skin in the treated area, you may want an additional procedure, such as a lower body lift, tummy tuck or thigh lift to help you achieve the results you want.
During your consultation, your surgeon will let you know whether you’ll get the most benefit from CoolSculpting alone or from the fat removal treatment plus a surgical lift.
Dr. George Bitar and Dr. Robert Centeno offer CoolSculpting and other body shaping surgeries at the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in the Washington, D.C. area. If you want to improve the shape your body is in, contact the practice for an appointment today. Schedule your consultation by calling (703) 206-0506.
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.