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Can You Freeze Fat Away With CoolSculpting?

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Real Style magazine. Become a Real Style subscriber and get the hottest fashion, beauty and celebrity news, enter exclusive subscriber giveaways and be the first to receive the full digital version of Real Style magazine every month. Click here to subscribe for free! 

 

Freeze fat away? Yes, it’s possible, with CoolSculpting’s advanced technology—but there are caveats. Writer Lee Greene explores the popular body shaping treatment.

“It’s cold and uncomfortable and expensive,” I mused over lunch with a friend the other day, describing my CoolSculpting experience.  “But does it work?” was her eager reply. My answer: Yes, but it requires multiple treatments and is most definitely not a weight loss treatment.

I exercise regularly and watch what I eat, yet I’ve never been able to get rid of the nasty over-the-bra-strap roll that seems to plague so many of us. Call it resistant fat—be it your back, your inner thigh or love handles— it seems like every woman and man in the gym has that one or more pesky roll(s) that do not go away no matter how much they diet and exercise.

I had heard and read of CoolSculpting before, a body treatment that promises to freeze away stubborn fat pockets, but it was not until another friend had tried it and gave it the thumbs-up that I finally decided to give it a go. (For all the ads in the world, there is still nothing like a simple testimonial from a friend.) Up until then, I had chalked it up as just another body improvement that was long on hype, short on results. Her positive review made me give it a second thought.

Motivated to try it out, I chose a clinic located in Yorkville, Toronto. At my first visit, a friendly technician took my measurements to compare later with final results. She told me I could expect between a half inch to an inch difference in measurement in each area worked on. She also said there might be some bruising, but that it would go away, and that most of her customers were happy with their results.

At my first treatment, the complimentary glass of wine and dinner definitely came in handy to soothe the nerves. Misty, the medical technician who administered the treatment, was very knowledgeable and personable. She took great care of me—chatting me up just before and during the start of the procedure, and coming in to the room to keep me company during the long and uncomfortable hour I was hooked up to the device. During the treatment, a gel membrane or pad is applied over the skin to protect it from the cold. The technician attaches a suction-like applicator  that sucks up fatty tissue and cools the area of the skin to minus 10 degrees Celsius, killing the fat cells in that area. Fat is then gradually removed by your body and eliminated in your urine. While not everyone bruises, I did experience bruising for about a week. The area also felt cold, numb and was sore to the touch for a couple of weeks after.

Prices around the country vary. Before I signed up, I was told that I may need three treatments (spaced a week apart for optimum results) at $500-plus per treatment per side, totaling $3,000. In the end, I did the prescribed and opted for two treatments (offered after the first 30 days if you want to see greater results—for a fee, of course) and added another area in the vicinity, upping my total cost considerably. Since the applicator is small, it requires numerous treatments to cover even a relatively small area of the body, so the dollars can add up very quickly. There is a larger applicator available, used typically for the stomach area, but it costs more money for each treatment and may still require multiple treatments in the area.

The relatively quick-fix appeal of  the treatment has an addictive quality, with some patients trying to use it as a cure-all for all problem areas. Case in point, I chatted with a young, very slim woman in the waiting room who seemed to have used the service on every part of her body and actually had to be cut off from continuing. She was happy with the results, but hardly needed the service, in my opinion.

While there are other fat melting treatments available at a cheaper cost, CoolSculpting seems to be very popular even at the higher cost. According to the CoolSculpting website and the science behind it, it claims to be the only non-invasive fat reduction treatment that permanently removes fat cells in a targeted area. Still skeptical, I asked two prominent plastic surgeons (who it happens, do not offer the procedure), and they confirmed that the procedure can be quite effective in fat reduction in specific areas. It can take up to three months to see full results. At the two-month mark were I am now, my back looks smaller and the over-the-bra-strap roll is less noticeable.     

CoolSculpting is certainly an expensive habit to have, with problem areas requiring multiple treatments. Still, for those trouble spots that diet and exercise can’t change, it may offer a relatively safe, effective solution. As for myself, I can’t as yet justify the expense for the results that I see now. Time will tell if the finished product is worth it. I remain hopeful.