What Is CoolSculpting®?

CoolSculpting® is a non-surgical body sculpting procedure that can eliminate stubborn areas of fat that have not responded to diet and exercise. Through an FDA-cleared cooling process known as cryolipolysis, men and women can reduce fat in common trouble areas, such as the abdomen, flanks, bra area, axillary, underneath the chin, inner thighs, outer thighs and upper arms. CoolSculpting® destroys 20-25% of excess fat cells in the targeted area per treatment, which are then naturally processed out of the body through the lymphatic system. Patients experience minimal discomfort and little to no downtime.

Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Lori Polacek, and our experienced team are committed to your safety, which is why the CoolSculpting® procedure will be fully customized to your comfort and contouring needs. During your consultation, you will be evaluated to determine if CoolSculpting® is the most beneficial option for your aesthetic goals. If you are considered a good candidate for CoolSculpting®, your treatment plan will be tailored to ensure the best possible outcome, producing the flattering, more contoured physique you desire.

Am I a Candidate for CoolSculpting®?

To be a good candidate for CoolSculpting®, you should have localized fat deposits that you would like to contour. Depending on the area being treated, candidates should have a body mass index (BMI) no higher than 30 to 46.2. You should be at or near your goal weight, as CoolSculpting® is not a weight loss treatment. The procedure is ideal for those wanting to reduce fat pockets that have not responded to diet and exercise.

What Does the CoolSculpting® Procedure Involve?

Each CoolSculpting® cycle can typically be completed within 35 to 60 minutes per treatment area, allowing you to return to your normal routine after a relatively short session. If you have multiple areas being addressed, you can opt for DualSculpting, which entails the use of two CoolSculpting® machines for a faster treatment time. Our team is one of the few practices in Rhode Island to utilize multiple CoolSculpting® devices, allowing you to treat two areas in half the time.

To begin the CoolSculpting® process, the treatment area is cleansed and a gel pad and applicator will be placed on the area being treated. Suction is then applied and the controlled cooling begins. For the first five to seven minutes, you may experience an intense cold sensation along with mild pinching or tugging. This will quickly subside as the cooling energy causes the tissue to go numb. Since the CoolSculpting® technology is precisely set to target and destroy unwanted fat cells, the surrounding tissue remains unharmed.

At the end of your treatment, the device will be removed and your tissue will be massaged for two minutes. This massage will increase results by 68% while producing heat and an increased blood flow to the area. (This will ensure a complete freeze of each fat cell.) Once this process is complete, you can resume your daily schedule immediately without the need for a recovery period.

Does CoolSculpting® Hurt?

Everyone reacts to CoolSculpting® differently, but most patients report only feeling mild discomfort during and after their treatment. As a non-invasive procedure, CoolSculpting® does not require any incisions or stitches, helping to minimize the amount of trauma to the area. The area may sting or cramp as the treatment begins, but once the area goes numb after 10 minutes, you should be able to relax.

When Will I See My CoolSculpting® Results?

Beginning results from CoolSculpting® can sometimes start to become visible at four weeks, but final results take four months to fully develop. The contouring effects of your treatment will gradually occur as the damaged fat cells are removed from the body through the body’s natural lymphatic system.

To achieve optimal improvement, you may require a series of CoolSculpting® sessions, which will be discussed in your initial consultation and adjusted based on your progress with each treatment.

Is CoolSculpting® Permanent?

Fat cells either expand or shrink with weight gain or weight loss but never multiply. After the dead fat cells are purged from the body following CoolSculpting®, they do not reproduce and will not return in the future. However, the remaining cells will continue to act as they naturally do by expanding or shrinking with weight fluctuations, which is why Dr. Polacek advises our patients to follow a healthy lifestyle including maintaining their current weight, which will help to ensure consistent long-term results.

The results were better than I had even anticipated. I received the subtle enhancement that I was hoping for and a great boost in confidence! I will definitely return to Dr. Polacek for other procedures in the future.

Emily. Z

Is CoolSculpting® Safe?

CoolSculpting® is carefully designed with patients’ comfort and safety in mind. In addition to the procedure being cleared by the FDA for fat reduction in several body areas, the system is equipped with temperature sensors to ensure the treatment area maintains the ideal temperature for an ideal length of time, without causing harm to the surrounding tissue. Clinical trials have shown that CoolSculpting® is both safe and effective for fat reduction.

Are There Any Side Effects Associated with CoolSculpting®?

During the CoolSculpting® procedure, you may notice an intense coldness as well as a sensation of stinging or cramping in the treatment area. As the area goes numb, these side effects should quickly fade. Throughout the treatment process, sensors within the CoolSculpting® machine will monitor the temperature of the target area, ensuring it does not get too cold and damage nearby tissues.

Following your CoolSculpting® session, you may or may not have temporary redness, swelling, itchiness, bruising, soreness, or numbness, all of which typically resolve within the first few days or weeks. Our team will go over the possible side effects and risks of CoolSculpting® to ensure you are well-informed, feel confident about your procedure, and know what to expect during and after treatment.

How Much Does CoolSculpting® Cost?

The cost of CoolSculpting® varies with each patient, due to the personalized treatment plan created to effectively treat to complete their specific contouring needs. On average, CoolSculpting® costs vary depending on how many applications and treatments are needed. The costs involved may also vary based on the amount of fat reduction you desire and how many areas you would like to have treated. Our staff will provide you with a cost estimate at your consultation so you can plan accordingly and decide if the solution is right for you.

CoolSculpting® vs. Liposuction

CoolSculpting® and liposuction are both popular and effective methods of body contouring. Each procedure is intended to remove excess fat cells for a smoother body shape, but they accomplish this goal in very different ways. As explained above, CoolSculpting® is a non-invasive treatment that uses cooling technology to freeze and damage the targeted fat cells. Liposuction, on the other hand, is a surgical procedure that involves inserting a small tool (cannula) into the targeted region and using suction to remove the excess fat cells.

As a non-surgical option, CoolSculpting® has less risk than liposuction and can be more affordable in many cases. Recovery is also typically more comfortable and faster than that of liposuction. The main benefit of liposuction is that it can provide more substantial fat removal. However, with a treatment plan tailored to the needs of the patient, CoolSculpting® can also provide dramatic improvement with beautiful body contouring results.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About CoolSculpting®

How Cold Does CoolSculpting® Get?

As the CoolSculpting® system works, the device sends cooling energy that gets down to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0 degrees Celsius). At this precise temperature, excess fat cells are crystalized while the surrounding skin and other tissues remain unharmed. To ensure the utmost safety during treatment, the CoolSculpting® machine has safety measures in place that cause it to turn off if the temperature starts to get too cold.

Can I Do CoolSculpting® at Home?

CoolSculpting® provides body contouring by freezing targeted fat cells. While this may sound like a process that could be replicated at home, such as with ice packs, Dr. Polacek strongly advises against this, due to concerns of safety and poor results. The CoolSculpting® machine has been cleared by the FDA to remove excess fat cells, which means it has been tested for its safety and efficacy. Performing a do-it-yourself (DIY) version of CoolSculpting® at home does not have the same safety precautions or science-backed system in place. Attempting this risks problems like burns to the area or no improvement at all. For those interested in CoolSculpting, it is important to seek a trained provider in a professional setting.

How Much Weight Can You Lose with CoolSculpting®?

CoolSculpting® is not a weight loss tool and is not intended to help reduce the number you see on the scale. The treatment only removes fat cells in the area that is being targeted, effectively sculpting the body instead of reducing weight. Designed as a skin-cooling device, CoolSculpting® destroys approximately 20-25% of fat cells in the area. For this reason patients should be at a healthy weight before pursuing this body contouring procedure, as this will provide the most noticeable improvement.

How Can I Speed up My CoolSculpting® Results?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to speed up your results from CoolSculpting®. Everyone’s body responds differently to treatment, and it can take anywhere from four to 12 weeks to see results. Most patients will need a series of treatments to reach their aesthetic goals. To achieve the best possible results from CoolSculpting® and maintain them long-term, Dr. Polacek recommends patients to be active, drink plenty of water, and eat a healthy diet.

How Can I Reduce Swelling After CoolSculpting®?

Swelling is a normal side effect from CoolSculpting® as your body starts to process the destroyed cells, but some patients may experience more than others. The majority of your swelling should fade within the first few days or weeks after your treatment. To help control this bloated feeling, you may want to wear a compression garment in the area. As your swelling gradually goes down, you can begin to see the contouring effects of your CoolSculpting treatment.