Many of us have areas of unwanted fat, and try as we might, no diet or exercise seems to get rid of those bulges – they’re not called stubborn for nothing!

CoolSculpting body contouring, also know as Fat Freezing, is certainly not a new technology in the industry, but this non-invasive aesthetic treatment is one of my favourites, and it really, really works! Having been through my own body transformation, I had some sculpting treatments done myself and completely fell in love with the process. So much so, that I became the first practitioner in the UK to attend CoolSculpting University in California. I just loved the idea of helping people achieve the results they were after in a visible, relatively quick and measurable way.

coolsculpting body contouring
The CoolSculpting body contouring device which I use at the Dr Rita Rakus Clinic

What is CoolSculpting body contouring?

Coolsculpting, medically known as Cryolipolysis, was developed by Harvard scientists, and is a non-invasive way of contouring your body by freezing unwanted fat cells in stubborn areas, whilst keeping your healthy skin cells intact.

It was discovered after Harvard researchers noticed that children who ate ice lollies growing up developed dimples. The frozen treats were freezing fat cells in their cheeks and causing their skin to form to the new contour. Say hello to CoolSculpting!

How does CoolSculpting body contouring work?

The CoolSculpting device uses cooling panels, available in a variety of sizes so you’re able to target different areas. The device is placed on your body and then the area is suctioned, like a vacuum, before beginning a controlled cooling process between two panels. Once the fat cells have been frozen, the body’s natural processes begin to eliminate the cells as they are metabolised, before being excreted via the lymphatic system. The best news is, the results are permanent – once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Why do patients choose CoolSculpting?

Patients really appreciate that they’re able to contour their bodies without having to undergo surgery and a lengthy recovery time. There’s no harm to the surrounding nerves or skin, no pain and no downtime. After your treatment you can simply continue with your day.

You only need to Google CoolSculpting to find an influx of positive reviews and articles endorsing the treatment. It has the science and clinical research to back it up, it was approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) in 2010, and it’s becoming more popular, even among celebrities such as the Kardashians, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Aniston to name a few.

This year, Lisa Snowdon became the UK ambassador for CoolSculpting and has been sharing her personal story with the world. She says “CoolSculpting has worked for me and it’s given me more confidence in my body. When I find something that works, I just love to tell people all about it” (see video below).

Lisa Snowdon is the UK’s ambassador for CoolSculpting

What does it feel like?

As the cooling begins, during the first few minutes you will feel a firm pressure or tugging, enough to ensure the selected tissue is being treated most efficiently, as well as an intense cold. This feeling soon disperses as the area becomes numb. Many people will bring along a book or magazine to read, work on their laptop, or even take a nap during their CoolSculpting treatment. As a qualified Psychiatrist, I’m also very good at the art of distraction, helping to minimise discomfort.

Once the treatment time is up, we remove the panels and begin a short massage of the areas to bring back circulation. This part can feel a little strange, after all it has been frozen. After the treatment, the area may feel a little tender or swollen but not inhibiting, so you’ll be able to continue with your day. It is entirely normal to feel cramping or bruising in the days following, but if you’re concerned simply get in touch with your doctor.

How long is each session?

The CoolSculpting body contouring treatment takes approximately 35 to 60 minutes, depending on which areas are being treated. Afterwards you’re able to continue with your day as normal.

What can you expect after a CoolSculpting body contouring treatment?

Patience is important. It’s hard not to want to see an immediate difference when you leave the clinic, but fat cannot magically disappear – we haven’t quite discovered the treatment for that yet! After just one treatment, in the weeks and months that follow your CoolSculpting session, you can expect to see the changes in the treated area, sometimes as soon as three weeks after your appointment. The most drastic results are visible usually between eight to twelve weeks after, but your body will continue to flush out the dead fat cells for up to four to six months. Results vary for each individual, but patients can experience 20-25% fat reduction in the treated area. The results are permanent, though some people do choose to have additional sessions to improve the results further, particularly for larger areas such as the stomach. As with anything, the more you do, the more results you’ll see.

It’s important to note that the body sculpting work that I do needs to go hand in hand with what the patient does towards their own nutrition and healthy habits. I’ve always seen my role in each patient’s journey as a supportive one and I love what I do, but body contouring is not a quick fix for bad habits and should not be considered as a form of weight loss or a way to tighten excess skin. The fat that died isn’t coming back, but if you gain weight, new fat will grow and potentially in the area you had treated. Continuing with your own exercise routine and following a nutritional diet is important to achieve and maintain the best possible results.

CoolSculpting treatment areas

You can use this procedure on 9 body parts, the most popular areas being the stomach and ‘love handles’. Areas that can be treated include:

CoolSculpting body contouring is a great option for fine-tuning those stubborn areas of fat that aren’t easy to get rid of through normal exercise and healthy eating. There are even mini CoolSculpting applicators designed for treatments under the chin so that the process can be targeted even more precisely and safely.

What are the risks of CoolSculpting?

There is relatively low risk with CoolSculpting. Following treatment there can be temporary redness, light bruising or cramping, swelling or tenderness, but it is a safe non-invasive procedure, and not having to go under the knife is usually what draws people to it.

We always recommend consulting with your doctor prior to undergoing any treatment, but if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, paroxysmal cold hemoglobuinuria (PCH), or a vascular condition that makes you extra sensitive to cold temperatures, this isn’t the treatment for you.

You should also consider your own triggers and mental health. For example, having the CoolSculpting procedure on your chin is sometimes one of the more uncomfortable areas to have pressure applied, so it’s something to take into consideration if you’re claustrophobic or sensitive in that area. I always like to approach each patient’s needs in a supportive way, tailoring each treatment to the individual to help give them the results that they’re after. There are always alternative non-invasive treatments to choose from should CoolSculpting not be right for you.

coolsculpting process diagram

How much does it cost?

Sessions start from £895 per area.

Aftercare

If you’re worried about any pain following the treatment, rest assured that it is entirely common to experience the following:

Ibuprofen can be taken to reduce pain and inflammation if necessary, but it’s always worth chatting to your doctor if you have any concerns. Other ways I’d recommend to ease any discomfort include meditation or deep breathing exercises, warm compresses on the treated area, gentle exercise or massage therapy.

Advice for finding a good body contouring doctor

As CoolSculpting becomes more popular, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to do your homework when choosing your doctor. Counterfeit treatments that do not have FDA approval do pop up, and whilst it may be tempting as a more affordable option, it can be detrimental to your skin and potentially leave you with frostbite. And it’s not just about the end result, it’s also about the journey and finding someone you can trust with your body.

I have been practicing aesthetic treatments and non-invasive body contouring for over 10 years, as well as being a trained psychiatrist, and always try each treatment on myself first. I’m lucky enough to have become one of London’s leading aesthetics doctors. I’m also fondly known to my patients as the ‘Ice Queen’ – the Queen of fat freezing! So, if you have any questions, please do get in touch.

Is CoolSculpting body contouring for me?

If you’re set on finding a treatment to help tackle those tricky areas but feel really reticent to undergo surgery, CoolSculpting could be the perfect alternative. Technology has come on so much in recent years that I really do believe liposuction will not be needed in the future. It isn’t necessary when we have such incredible, easy to use and efficient options right at our fingertips.

CoolSculpting is perfect for people who are close to their ideal weight and looking for some minor to moderate body contouring. If you’re looking for an answer to obesity, weight loss or assistance with losing excess skin, this isn’t the right treatment for you.

In the end, it comes down to how you feel when you look in the mirror. Any treatment like this is a personal choice, and areas of stubborn fat might be something that only you notice, but if it bothers you, CoolSculpting may be the answer.

Want to know more about non-surgical body contouring? Get in touch.

dr galyna body contouring CoolSculpting expert

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