By now, you have seen the infomercials and heard the radio ads about the revolutionary CoolSculpting procedure for fat cell removal. At first glance, it might seem like a magic bullet for weight loss. The ads repeatedly state that unwanted fat, bulges and even love handles can simply disappear during a non-invasive 35-minute procedure.
No surgery, no diets, no exercise…
Can this really be true?
Well, the answer is yes. CoolSculpting is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved technique for eliminating fat cells in men and women. However, it is not a “weight loss” strategy. You cannot go in and lose an overall 50 pounds. Instead, think of it as fine-tuning those body parts that you just might want a little help with. You might think of this as something to consider prior to Spring Break or just in time for summer vacation. But the process takes time and the results appear gradually. And now that the holidays are over… it might be an ideal time to consider CoolSculpting.
How did we get here?
It could certainly seem like this innovative fat-cell reduction technique comes straight from a futuristic sci-fi movie or alternative universe. We already have so many techniques and procedures for reducing fat:
- pills that suppress hunger, burn calories, or burn fat
- diets ranging from Atkins and Keto to South Beach and Zone—and everything in between
- specific workouts like Crossfit and spin classes and hot yoga
- surgical procedures such as gastric-stapling and liposuction
This is all in our efforts to be the best we can be, shed a few pounds and tone those problem areas.
Who would have thought that the next generation in fat-cell reduction would be something akin to having a doctor zap you with a ray gun directed toward a specific area. Want to lose those saddlebags? Zap! A smaller tummy? Zap! While CoolSculpting is not exactly like the electromagnetic shrinking machine used in Honey I Shrunk the Kids, in a way it has been around for generations. It’s just that no one ever thought to put two and two together to equal less. (We promise this is not the #newmath!)
Popsicles changed the world
Decades ago, doctors first documented a strange reddening-of-the-cheeks phenomena among babies and children who ate popsicles or sucked on ice—mostly for teething purposes. This is called popsicle panniculitis. Simply put, the cold permanently destroyed fat cells inside the infants’ cheeks. (Note: This is much different from sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, the brain freeze or headache we get from gulping down ice cream.)
Cryolipolysis is the technical term for the freezing and killing of fat cells. Using this technique, scientists found that applying cold to a region would destroy fat cells… while leaving normal cells and surrounding tissues intact. A true eureka moment! CoolSculpting was born.
Right now is the right time
The first fat cell application came from doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital. Patents and trademarks were filed. A company was formed (Juniper Medical, Inc.), then went public (as Zeltiq) and then was purchased (by Allergan). Clinical trials were successfully completed.
The FDA approved one of the first CoolSculpting procedures in 2010, initially for numbing the skin. Then, the FDA approved it for fat removal in areas such as the abdomen, love handles, thighs and double chins. In 2016, the FDA granted additional approvals for areas around the bra straps, the back and underneath the buttocks. Today, CoolSculpting is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry worldwide.
Yes, it’s freezing outside right now… and we’re a long way from bathing suit season. But if you’re bothered by stubborn pockets of exercise-defiant fat on your body, there’s no better time to contact us at Southern Dermatology and learn more about the option of CoolSculpting.