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Anti Aging

Coolsculpting: Is it Right for You?

My self-image was “tall and thin.” But my clothing told me otherwise. Here is the experience I had a couple of years ago with Coolsculpting on my stomach. 

Coolsculpting is the near-freezing of (and thus killing) fat cells in a part of the body where they are not wanted. The dead cells are slowly sloughed off by the blood stream and liver. In addition to the torso, Coolsculpting can also be done on the chin area and on the upper arms. See the official Coolsculpting website for a good description of which parts of the body are the best candidates for Coolsculpting. It is performed in the office of a licensed physician. The generic name for Coolsculpting is cryolipolysis.

Who should consider Coolsculpting?

Woman holding stomach - coolsculpting

If you are heavyset, with excess fat all over your body, Coolsculpting will not be of much help to you. After initial weight loss involving diet and exercise, you may be able to determine which part of your body needs the most attention. Coolsculpting is for spot reducing and not for application to the entire body. 

Finding a Doctor

I confess I googled “Coolsculpting” to find a doctor in my home town. There were two, so I chose one. I had never had any cosmetic procedures done and therefore had no way of judging any past experiences with either doctor.

My experience with the doctor was good. I understood the reason for the steep price when he explained to me that his expensive machine was leased and that it kept track of every use and he was charged accordingly. So there was not much chance of a deep discount. 

I wanted Coolsculpting on my stomach and “spare tire.” Although I would like to lose weight, I have thin arms and legs, so losing weight makes me look like I am walking on toothpicks. Coolsculpting was a good option for looking a little slimmer.

What Happens During Coolsculpting?

woman getting coolsculpting on stomach

Coolsculpting is done in segments. On the first visit, I had two treatments on my stomach. A month later, treatments were done on the right and left sides of my torso. The third visit, a month after the second, the stomach was treated again. The treatment is somewhat painful, as the fatty part of the torso is suctioned up closer to the applicators. The cold is not an issue – it actually feels good – but the suctioning brings out the “grin and bear it” attitude. 

After the treatment, my doctor massaged the treated areas. That really hurt! I don’t know why that finishes the treatment – probably to ensure that the fat cells don’t clump together – but I was glad when it was over. For me, the pain went away immediately after treatment. I walked out of the doctor’s office pain free. 

I didn’t have any side effects from the Coolsculpting treatment on my stomach, but I had bruising on my “love handles.” Luckily, it was not bikini season and no one ever saw my bruises. Since “before” and “after” pictures were taken, I could see the improvement, which was a nice psychological boost. The fat is eliminated by the body slowly – it doesn’t happen overnight. So no one ever commented on my slimmer figure, but my clothes fit a lot better.

Looking at my slightly slimmer figure, I was motivated to improve my diet and exercise. Keeping healthy requires a multi-faceted approach. Diet, exercise, and spot reducing kept me looking good.

Cons

  • It is expensive. Insurance does not cover such elective cosmetic procedures. It costs several thousand dollars per visit, with an average of three visits to deal with excess fat on the torso. 
  • It is somewhat painful. But this pain can be dealt with by remembering that it is only temporary and will be over in a few minutes. 
  • Side effects experienced by some patients include redness, numbness, firmness, minor swelling, bruising, itching, and diarrhea. 
  • Conditions that rule out Coolsculpting include pregnancy, any autoimmune disease, and a history of any bleeding conditions and taking of blood-thinning medications.

At-Home Devices on the Market

Fat cells are not really “frozen” – they are taken down to 39-41 degrees, the point at which fat cells die. It is important that this be closely monitored by a physician, as damage could be done to the external skin layer, nerves, and muscle tissue. There are devices on the market for purchase at reasonable prices that cool the skin, but the results may not be as predictable. You could easily end up giving yourself scarring, burns and blisters. At-home attempts cannot be delivered at consistent temperatures and there is no suction. I once thought about buying a machine to use at home, but after doing some research, I decided against it. It is time to re-read Prime Women articles on healthy eating and regular exercise. Then I’ll be ready for summer!

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