When diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to shed excess or stubborn fat, noninvasive fat reduction treatments can create that slim, toned look you want—without the need for surgery. Chief among these nonsurgical options is CoolSculpting®, which capitalizes on the body’s natural metabolic processes to target fat. This technique has been around since 2010 and is cleared by the FDA to address unwanted fat in a variety of areas. But how does CoolSculpting really work, and why should you consider it over other options?
This blog post will cover the basics of CoolSculpting and compare it against other nonsurgical alternatives to help guide your decision-making.
What Is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a noninvasive cosmetic fat reduction treatment that is safely used on many parts of the body, including the waistline and abdomen, the thighs, hips, back, and beneath the chin. The principle behind it is simple: When fat cells are exposed to intense, sustained cold, they begin to break down (a process called cryolipolysis). The body then gradually eliminates the damaged fat cells through the lymphatic system.
A CoolSculpting treatment involves two components: cooling and suction. Both are delivered simultaneously through panels applied to the target area, creating a numbing but not unpleasant sensation during the one-hour treatment. The suction pulls the subcutaneous fat into the cooling panels, while the continuous cold temperature degrades the fat cells without damaging the surrounding skin and tissue.
Does CoolSculpting Work?
CoolSculpting patients consistently see a 20 to 25% reduction in fat, though results generally take 2 to 3 months to become fully visible. As with any lipolysis treatment (such as SculpSure® or KYBELLA®), CoolSculpting relies on the body’s natural ability to process and expel damaged fat cells. While the improvements occur gradually, this gives the skin time to “bounce back” without causing sagging skin or stretch marks.
Will I Lose Weight With CoolSculpting?
While your CoolSculpting results may not change the number on the scale, patients can typically expect to lose inches from their trouble areas as bra bulges and “love handles” begin to melt away. Many patients find that their clothes fit more smoothly and comfortably or are even too loose, as their clothing size may drop with multiple treatments.
What Other Nonsurgical Options Are Out There?
SculpSure is another nonsurgical fat reduction treatment offered at our practice. Unlike CoolSculpting, SculpSure relies on laser-generated heat as its primary fat-targeting mechanism. It produces comparable results to CoolSculpting across a similar timeline; however, the treatment can be completed in less than half the time as CoolSculpting. For a more detailed comparison between the two, please see our related blog post.
For patients looking specifically to target a double chin, KYBELLA is an injectable fat-reducing treatment that creates a more sculpted chin and neckline. Results become visible within the first few days and will continue to improve with time and follow-up treatments.
Other nonsurgical fat reduction techniques may use infrared light, radiofrequency (RF) energy, or ultrasound to target fat cells and trigger lipolysis.
Why Should I Choose CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting offers a safe, measured approach to reducing unwanted fat without anesthesia or surgical downtime. It has been effectively used for over a decade with consistent, long-term results and is one of the most well-regarded and popular procedures for treating stubborn fat deposits.