Coolsculpting – Does it Work? By Jen Oliak

Coolsculpting has been around now for about 6 years. Real Self.com has an 83% “worth it” rating which I found interesting.  This is a very positive result worth exploring.

I preface this post by disclosing that my husband’s medical practice, Oliak Center for Weight Loss offers Coolsculpting to his patients. However, it is not a significant part of his business as he primarily provides weight loss surgery for patients who are at least 50lbs overweight.

Below is my candid experience with the Coolsculpting procedure:

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I went in to get assessed and treated yesterday. The Coolsculpting representative felt that my flanks and back were appropriate for treatment (see photo above).

It was determined that I needed three medium sized applications on each side.  These applications were to be placed at angles and overlap with each other to cover my flanks and my back. The picture above shows three different marker colors for the placement of each separate application.

It is important that you are assessed correctly during your consultation.  You may have an area you are concerned with, but the provider may find that other areas of your body would benefit more from the treatment. For instance, I wanted just a small portion of my hips (love handles) treated. But when I was assessed, I was shown how much fat could be grabbed on my sides and back in comparison to my hips.  I had quite a bit of back fat I wasn’t aware of!  I needed a treatment that went higher and further up my sides and back to give me more of a silhouette.

It is important to understand that the results with Coolsculpting are not immediate. The maximal effect doesn’t occur until 2-3 months after treatment. I find this lack of immediate results frustrating.

To clearly see the effectiveness of my treatment, I decided to initially treat only one side of my body. This way I can compare the treated side to the untreated. I will wait 2-3 months to assess the effectiveness before completing the other side.

This is an expensive treatment.  Although it is true that one treatment averages about $600, what most people don’t know is that it will take multiple treatments to get a good result.  For instance, I needed 6 treatments (3 on each side of flank/lower back).

Let me back up a bit and give some brief information about Coolsculpting.  You can read about this procedure in depth on the website www.coolsculpting.com.  This procedure has been around since 2010 and is the only noninvasive treatment for fat removal that has been cleared by the FDA.  Treated fat cells are injured by the cold. Over time, the body recognizes these fat cells as damaged and removes them.

This procedure is best for people who are close to their ideal weight and have stubborn areas of fat they cannot get rid of with diet and exercise.  In my opinion, it does not make sense for people who are more than 15-20 lbs overweight to have this treatment as it will make only subtle differences in their physique.

For those who are otherwise healthy and fit but have pockets of fat they want to get rid of, it is important that there is ENOUGH fat to be drawn into the applicator.  You should be able to grab the fat easily. This procedure is not a treatment for loose skin.

Below are the steps in the treatment process:

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A wet sheet skin barrier is placed flat on the area to be treated.  This will protect your skin from frostbite.  It is VERY COLD so be prepared for a jolt!

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The applicator is placed on the skin at the marking. This is the most important step as the suction has to be able to pull enough fat into the applicator to be frozen.  The fat should reach to at least the silver bar to indicate a “good draw.”  The picture above shows my fat had a very good draw!  The suction may be uncomfortable.  Just imagine a large vacuum cleaner hose sucking your fat in – this is exactly how it feels.

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Once the applicator is on, make yourself comfortable because each treatment takes one hour.  The initial few minutes may be uncomfortable as your skin is not yet numb.  Discomfort during this stage goes away quickly as the cold numbs your skin, and you can read or do work on your computer while you wait.

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After an hour, the applicator is removed.  Like a stick of butter that is put in the fridge, the fat should be firm and protuding from your body as shown above.

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The practitioner will then massage the treatment area for 2 minutes until the fat melts back into the body. This is a crucial step in the process.  The massage will further damage the fat cells.

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Once the massage is complete, there will be a red area where you were treated.  If the application is near or on a muscle (ex. stomach), at this point you may feel muscle cramping which is very uncomfortable for about 5 minutes. If this happens, try not to flex your muscles as it will prolong the discomfort.

We did this three times on one side of my body to cover the treatment area.  My third treatment hit some of my stomach muscle.  After my massage, the pain made me run around in circles and hunch over.

It is hard to relax when in pain.  But try!  Once the spasms stop, you will feel fine and can go about your day.   The treatment gets boring and feels a bit tedious.  Bring a movie or work – something to keep your mind occupied to make the time pass quickly.

I will give you an update in 10-12 weeks when we can see if my body is lopsided! In the meantime, what are your thoughts about Coolsculpting?

UPDATE:

I don’t have great pics for you. Although you could see a difference on one side, it was not significant enough to see well in pictures. My advice: don’t spend money on this treatment. It is expensive for the amount of fat loss it provides, and the amount is widely variable, depending on the person. I find that offices who do best with Coolsculpting have it as a bundle service to sell with other things like medical spa treatments (botox, filler, laser, etc).

You’re better off getting liposuction. Granted, my husband and girls at our office had very good results with this treatment. But the fat came back when they gained a few pounds. I suppose that is expected, though.

One thing you’ll know when reading my blog – I speak my opinion, sponsored or not! Such few places to get the truth these days.

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.