October 26th, 2013 Miguel A. Delgado Jr, MD
San Francisco, CA-According to the statistics of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the two most popular cosmetic surgical procedures, are breast augmentation and liposuction. Liposuction is very popular with men looking to get rid of love handles and reduce the abdomen. Women love it for reduction of their: “saddle bags”, abdomen, thighs and more. Liposuction has been available in the United States since the early 1980’s and the popularity continues to grow.
Fat reduction is big business, which is very evident by the multiple choices of the many types of fat reducing devices available. Competition is intense for market share between manufacturers, but competition is always good in a free market society encouraging manufacturers to continue to produce more effective and higher quality devices. There have been many liposuction machines introduced, but most are just variations with small differences.
Liposuction is surgery requiring: pre-operative lab tests, surgical and operating room fees, prescription medications, compression garments and downtime for recovery. To find a way of fat reduction that does not involve surgery, has been a dream of many, for years. That dream is now a reality! Doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston noted that children who consumed many popsicles were developing dimples in their cheeks due to fat loss. Through testing, the doctors discovered that intense coldness killed fat cells, and the fat cells were then eliminated naturally by the body. Even though it is a somewhat slow process, it is permanent. This discovery led to the development of CoolSculpting. With CoolSculpting, there are not any needles, scalpels, scars or downtime.
CoolSculpting has hit the market with great reviews; the demand for the procedure shows how many patients embrace the idea of a non-surgical fat reduction option. CoolSculpting will not replace liposuction as it is not as aggressive. CoolSculpting is not meant for large areas of reduction; it is more for those difficult localized pockets of fat that diet and exercise will not remove such as: the abdomen, love handles and for some men with pseudo-gynecomastia it will reduce the fat on their chest.
You are born with a certain amount of fat cells, if you consume more calories than your body can use, the extra calories will be stored as fat, and the cells will grow larger. If you lose weight the cells will shrink, but they will not go away unless they are removed by liposuction or CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting only removes subcutaneous fat, fat that is attached to the skin. It does not affect visceral fat, which is deeper and surrounds the organs.
The ideal patient is within 20 to 30 pounds of ideal body weight, if you can pinch more than 2” you may want to lose weight first or consider liposuction.
For treatment, the patient arrives in comfortable clothing and lies or sits on the treatment table. Most patients read, use their laptop or take a nap. The targeted area is placed between 2 cooling plates that are held into position by a vacuum. The fat is then subjected to intense coldness, which will kill the fat cells but does not affect the blood vessels, nerves or skin. The treatment lasts for about an hour per area. Most patients claim the procedure is not painful, but they feel the initial coldness and some pressure. The side effects are minimal, and if any would include: some redness, numbness, swelling and minor bruising.
Results will not be evident right away, the destroyed fat cells can take up to 2 to 4 months to be shed by the body. Many patients state that they first start seeing results after 2 to 3 weeks when they noticed the difference in how their clothes fit. In general, one treatment will reduce an area by 20%, if a patient desires to have more removed additional treatments can be done.
Success for permanent results will be based on lifestyle changes of a healthy diet and exercise program.
To find out if CoolSculpting is for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Delgado in either his Marin County office in Novato or his Union Square office in San Francisco. Ask about other procedures available through the “Non-Surgical Center of Excellence”such as: Ultherapy for skin tightening, Botox, fat injections, and facial fillers.