In my mind, I imagined myself as “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, the results that I saw, and how I came to the conclusion that it was the right decision for me. Hopefully, it will inform you about the process and help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.
Coolsculpting is the near-freezing (and thus killing) of fat cells in a part of the body where they are not wanted. The dead cells are then slowly sloughed off by the bloodstream and liver. In addition to the torso, Coolsculpting can also be done on the chin area and the upper arms. See the official Coolsculpting website for a good description of which parts of the body are the best candidates for Coolsculpting. The procedure is performed in the office of a licensed physician, and the generic name for Coolsculpting is cryolipolysis.
Who Should Consider Coolsculpting?
If you are heavyset, with excess fat all over your body, Coolsculpting will not be of much help to you. However, after experiencing weight loss involving diet and exercise, you may be able to determine which part(s) 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 hometown. 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. These days the internet is full of reviews and opportunities to find information about a doctor, so if you still aren’t comfortable not knowing more about your potential doctor, the information is out there if you want to find it. I know there are a number of Facebook pages that give the chance to ask for reviews and opinions about a physician, so that could be one path to consider. However, always take the reviews with a grain of salt and don’t rely solely on them when making your selection.
I was fortunate because my experience with the doctor was good. While I initially balked at the cost of the procedure, I later understood the reason for the steep price after 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, so I had to pay the sticker price because there didn’t appear to be any wiggle room.
For my procedure, 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 through my midsection and allowing me to look more proportional.
What Happens During Coolsculpting?
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. On the third visit, a month after the second, my 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, and 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.
- 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, a history of any bleeding conditions, or taking any 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.