Ever since we at Maine Laser Skin Care introduced the revolutionary body sculpting technology known as CoolSculpting earlier this year, many of you have expressed great interest in it. Every week, we see an increase in introductory consultations and treatments with no signs of waning or slowing down.
During my ongoing research of CoolSculpting, I came across a new review about this treatment in a recent plastic surgery and aesthetic journal. I thought it best to share the insights of that article with you in this blog post.
The technology used in CoolSculpting is technically and medically known as cryolipolysis. Although you don’t have to remember this word (let alone try to pronounce it), this word is derived from the Greek words for “cold” and “fat breakdown”.
The cryolipolysis phenomenon was actually first described in medical literature back in 1970 in cases of children who would have loss of fat in their cheeks when they sucked on popsicles. This simple observation led to the discovery that fat-rich tissues were more susceptible to cold than surrounding water-rich tissues.
It was not until 2007 that scientists developed a non-invasive method to reduce fat by using selective freezing. The research on humans found that precise application of cold temperatures below 4 degrees Celsius triggers the death of fat cells known as adipocytes.
This cell death, or necrosis, triggers an inflammatory response within the treated area. During this response, the body’s scavenger cells, called macrophages, slowly digest this fat over the next several weeks and months.
Initial animal studies showed a reduction of up to 1 centimeter (or 40%) of the total fat layer after a single treatment. Biopsies showed that the inflammation and removal of fat begins as early as 2 weeks after the procedure.
Microscopic analysis also showed that in the 2-4 week time frame, fat cell digestion and removal occurs as part of the body’s natural response to this localized injury. Two to three months after the treatment, the inflammatory process is reduced and the fat in the treated area is significantly decreased.
CoolSculpting was the first FDA-approved device using cryolipolysis to reduce body fat in the thighs and abdomen. The tissue is drawn in to the handpiece using a mild vacuum suction, and then two cooling panels apply cold to the treatment areas.
The cooling is controlled also by thermoelectric sensors that measure the movement of heat out of the fatty tissue and prevent excessive cooling that might damage other tissues. Each area is generally treated for 35-55 minutes depending on the handpiece and the area treated, followed by several minutes of massage. The most common areas treated by CoolSculpting included the abdomen, “love handles”, hip flanks, inner thighs, lower back, and bra rolls.
The journal review I mentioned found 319 medical articles published on cryolipolysis over the past several years. Some of these studies employed basic, direct measurements with tools such as callipers, while others used more advanced technology such as ultrasound and 3D imaging.
All of the studies reported significant reductions of fat volume in the treatment areas with the average ranging from 14.67% to 28.5% reduction per treatment. They also disclosed up to an 89% high post-treatment satisfaction rates among study participants.
In one study of over 850,000 CoolSculpting procedures performed worldwide, only 850 adverse events were reported. The most common complaints including pain in the local area, mild numbness, redness, and bruising. However, most of these side effects resolved themselves within a few weeks of treatment.
While the results may be less immediate and dramatic than liposuction, CoolSculpting is not associated with the higher level of risky side effects of surgical procedures. I would confirm from our experience at Maine Laser Skin Care that CoolSculpting is both safe and effective with very high patient satisfaction.
CoolSculpting has been found to be safe for all skin types and for repeated applications. There have been no reports of pigment changes, infections, blisters or ulcers following a CoolSculpting treatment.
Who is the ideal patient for CoolSculpting? It is generally thought that the best candidates are those who are within their ideal weight range or moving towards it, and those who engage in regular exercise and healthy diet as part of an active lifestyle.
If you are intrigued about how to lose that stubborn area of fat that persists despite all your efforts at diet and exercise, call us at (207) 873-2158 to schedule a confidential and free consultation with Denise Gidney, our aesthetician and certified CoolSculpting technician. She can give you more information on how this technology can help your individual and unique needs.