Fat freezing, also known as cyrolipolysis, is a method of getting rid of “love handles”, double chin, or any other undesirable areas of fat. This procedure is non-invasive and FDA approved. It can remove up to 25% of the fat of a certain area, but this can often take more than one treatment. The procedure works by using paddles that you’re your skin into a cup and crystallize (or “freeze”) the underlying fat cells. This can take up to an hour, depending on the area. Discomfort with this procedure is minimal; the patient will first feel a cold sensation and then numbness. In 2010, the FDA approved the fat freezing technology CoolSculpting after a study revealed that six months after receiving treatment, 60 patients saw an average reduction of 19% in fat cells around their hips. Now, fat freezing is becoming common across the nation. Many dermatologists and medical spas are offering the treatment, and it is often promoted in TV ads.
CoolSculpting is not a treatment for obesity but rather aims to reduce the appearance of visible fat bulges. The most often targeted areas include the thighs, upper arms, abdomen, breasts, and under the buttocks. The results can be very subtle at first, so much so that patients may not even see a difference. It can take four months to really see the results, but patients shouldn’t expect any significant weight loss to result from this procedure. Fat freezing can be very useful in reducing the size of men’s breasts. This is the fourth most popular cosmetic surgery for men, as it can be a distressing condition. A study from September 2015 reported that 95% of the 21 men who used fat freezing said they saw improvement in their appearance, and 89% said they felt less embarrassed about their chests. Each of the men involved in the study received two 60-minute treatments, followed up with another two months after. All of them claimed their quality of life had improved since the treatment. This procedure is reportedly very safe, with little to no downtime for recovery, and the results appeared to last for a year after the procedure. This is in comparison to surgery or liposuction under general anaesthesia, the standard treatments before fat freezing emerged for reducing men’s breast size.
Coolsculpting costs an average of $625 per treatment. Including additional treatments, it can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000. The risks involved with this procedure include potential contour asymmetries due to removing fat cells in an uneven manner, numbness that lasts weeks or months, swelling, and even the chance that the fat comes back. Make sure you talk to your doctor about potential complications before deciding to get the procedure.