- CoolSculpting is a patented nonsurgical cooling technique used to reduce fat in targeted areas.
- It’s based on the science of cryolipolysis. Cryolipolysis uses cold temperatures to freeze and destroy fat cells.
- The procedure was created to address specific areas of stubborn fat not responsive to diet and exercise, such as the upper arms.
- CoolSculpting was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012.
- The procedure is noninvasive and doesn’t require anesthesia.
- More than 6,000,000 procedures have been done around the world to date.
- You may experience temporary side effects, which should go away within a few days following treatment. Side effects may include swelling, bruising, and sensitivity.
- CoolSculpting may not be right for you if you have a history of Raynaud’s disease or severe sensitivity to cold temperatures.
- The procedure takes about 35 minutes for each arm.
- Expect minimal recovery time. You can resume normal day-to-day activities almost immediately after the procedure.
- It’s available through a plastic surgeon, physician, or healthcare provider who is trained in CoolSculpting.
- Cost ranges an average of about $650 for each arm.
CoolSculpting for the upper arms is a noninvasive fat reduction procedure that involves no anesthesia, needles, or incisions. It’s based on the principle of cooling subcutaneous fat to the point that the fat cells are destroyed by the cooling process and absorbed by the body. Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat just under the skin.
It’s recommended as a treatment for those who have already reached their ideal weight, not as a weight loss measure.
Cost is determined by the size of treatment area, desired outcome, the size of the applicator, as well as where you live. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the lower end of CoolSculpting costs an average of about $650 per treatment area. You’ll likely be charged per arm. Follow-up appointments shouldn’t be necessary.
CoolSculpting is based on the science of cryolipolysis, which uses the cellular response to cold to break down fatty tissue. By extracting energy from fat layers, the process causes the fat cells to die gradually while leaving surrounding nerves, muscle, and other tissues unaffected. After treatment, the digested fat cells are sent to the lymphatic system to be filtered out as waste over a period of several months.
A trained healthcare provider or doctor performs the procedure using a handheld applicator. The device looks similar to the nozzles of a vacuum cleaner.
During the treatment, the doctor applies a gel pad and applicator to the arms, one by one. The applicator delivers controlled cooling to the targeted fat. The device is moved over your skin while administering suction and cooling technology to the target area.
Some offices have several machines that allow them to treat multiple target areas in one visit.
You may experience feelings of pulling and pinching during the process, but overall the procedure involves minimal pain. The provider typically massages the treated areas immediately after treatment to break up any frozen deep tissue. This helps your body begin to absorb the destroyed fat cells. Some have said that this massage is uncomfortable.
Each treatment can take about 35 minutes per arm. People frequently listen to music or read during the procedure.
CoolSculpting has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The procedure itself is noninvasive with a quick recovery time.
However, as the freezing process unfolds, you might experience some pain and discomfort after treatment. Numbness, aches, and swelling may occur in the upper arms. You might also experience more discomfort during the procedure if you have a sensitivity to cold temperatures.
Other common side effects during the procedure include:
- sensations of intense cold
These should all subside once the treatment area is numb.
After treatment, you may experience temporary side effects that usually go away within the next few days:
- skin sensitivity
Finding an experienced provider is crucial to preventing damage to the ulnar nerve. This important nerve extends through the entire arm from your neck to your fingers. While nerve damage is rare with CoolSculpting, such instances can cause long-term numbness.
There’s also a rare chance of developing enlarged fat cells months after the procedure. This is referred to as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia.
As with any other medical procedure, you should consult your primary care physician to see if CoolSculpting is right for you. You should also be counseled about the risks and benefits of the procedure if you have Raynaud’s disease or severe sensitivity to cold temperatures.
There is little to no recovery time after a CoolSculpting procedure. Most people can resume routine activity immediately after. In some cases, minor redness or soreness may occur in the arm areas treated, but that will typically subside within a few weeks.
Results in the treated areas may be noticeable within three weeks of the procedure. Typical results are reached after two or three months, and the fat-flushing process continues for up to six months after the initial treatment. According to CoolSculpting market research, 79 percent of people reported a positive difference in the way their clothes fit after CoolSculpting.
CoolSculpting doesn’t treat obesity and shouldn’t replace a healthy lifestyle. Continuing to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly is crucial to maintaining results.
CoolSculpting doesn’t require much preparation. But you should make sure your body is healthy and close to your ideal weight. People who are very overweight or obese aren’t ideal candidates. An ideal candidate is healthy, fit, and looking for a tool to eliminate body bulges.
Although bruising from the suction of the applicator is common after CoolSculpting, it’s a good idea to avoid anti-inflammatories such as aspirin before the procedure. This will help reduce any bruising that may occur.