Many of us have stubborn body fat despite diet and exercise. While one may be tempted to go under the knife to minimize these pesky areas, perhaps it’s time to consider other options.
You can also forget calorie counting and your daily regimen of 100 crunches on freeze. There’s a new contender in the battle of the bulge – one that doesn’t require a scalpel or any downtime for that matter.
It’s called CoolSculpting and has taken the diet industry by an icy-cold storm. This FDA-cleared, non-surgical fat reduction treatment uses controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn body fat that resists all efforts through diet and exercise. As with any procedure, there is a list of side effects to keep in mind – CoolSculpting is no exception to this rule.
Before you go making any big decisions, make sure to keep these 9 side effects in mind to see if the treatment is right for you.
Ready, set, freeze.
Physical Side Effects of CoolSculpting
1. Slight Physical Discomfort
As the cooling begins during the first few minutes, you will feel pressure and intense cold. This sensation soon dissipates. In fact, many people read, watch videos, work on their laptop, or even take a nap during their treatment. However, some may experience deep pulling, tugging and pinching.
You may experience reduced sensation over the treated part, but there’s no need to panic. Numbness usually subsides after a few days. Only small instances are reported of having prolonged and painful responses to CoolSculpting.
3. Swelling & Bruising
CoolSculpting freezes fat cells, causing them to break down and be removed from your body forever. This creates inflammation which helps the body lose the fat cells. As a result, swelling and bruising can occur as a result of the suction during treatment.
However, this is completely normal and may last for a few weeks and improves on its own. Note: Inflammation and/or stinging pain after your CoolSculpting treatment is a completely normal, expected side effect.
There have been reports of some pain following “debulking” treatments for large areas of fat. This is easily and effectively treated with a medication called “gabapentin”.
4. Vasovagal Symptoms
In some cases, patients may experience vasovagal symptoms during treatment. These symptoms, associated with activation of the autonomic nervous system include: lightheadedness, dizziness, flushing, sweating (diaphoresis), nausea, near syncope, or syncope (fainting).
Signs of vasovagal symptoms include pale, cool and clammy skin. Note: This type of rare reaction may be triggered by a variety of factors such as the patient’s anticipation of the procedure, dietary habits prior to the procedure, conditions of the treatment room or a response to the procedure itself.
So those are the tangible side effects of CoolSculpting from a symptomatic point of view. But consider these ‘other’ side effects of CoolSculpting:
5. You’ll Turn Heads
The results of CoolSculpting are so effective, noticeable, and lasting that you’ll look great from every angle. Warning: make sure you are fully prepared for all the admiring glances and compliments that are bound to come your way this summer.
6. You might finally fit into those skinny jeans
You know that pair of jeans that haven’t seen the light of day in forever? After your CoolSculpting procedure, you may want to give them the old college try once again. Chances are you won’t need a zipper to squeeze into your favourite long-lost denim this time around.
Social Side Effects of CoolSculpting
7. You may make your friends envious.
Yes, it’s true! Your friends, coworkers and family members will probably turn 50 shades of green when they get an eyeful of your new physique. If that happens, just tell them to cool their jets by seeking a CoolSculpting technician themselves. There’s enough CoolSculpting to go around for everyone.
Lifestyle Side Effects of CoolSculpting
8. You May Turn Into a Gym Rat
When’s the last time you went to the gym? Do you even own a membership anymore? You may want to consider unfreezing that membership.
Since the CoolSculpting procedure is completely non-invasive, you can return to normal activities after treatment – in fact, you’re encouraged to.
Unlike liposuction or other surgery that involves a scalpel and a lengthy recovery period, patients are advised to get to the gym ASAP after their CoolSculpting session. Why? Great question! You see, over the course of the following weeks, your body will eliminate the dead cells naturally.
The old adage, “Good things come to those who wait,” definitely applies to this one. As the fat flushes out of your system naturally, you can expect to see dramatic results after about two months. Nevertheless, people have even reported seeing improvements in as little as three weeks.
While the CoolSculpting procedure motivates most people to continue on with a healthy lifestyle, it does not require the patient to follow specific guidelines before or after treatment. However, it has been proven that those who experience the most dramatic results in a shorter period of time are the ones who engage in regular physical activity.
9. You May Start Eating Healthier
You’re also more likely to stick to a healthy diet if you’re physically active, which will help you continue improving on the results from all that fat freezing.
If you’re okay with a little redness, feeling like a younger, slimmer you and are okay with turning heads, perhaps CoolSculpting is for you after all. However, this procedure is not for everyone. You should not have the CoolSculpting procedure if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria. It’s also not a treatment for obesity.
As with any medical procedure, ask your physician if the CoolSculpting procedure is right for you.
*Results of all CoolSculpting treatments can vary from person to person.
About Dr. Kumar
Dr. Kumar Shivdasani is a medical practitioner with 25 years experience. He began his career in emergency at Vancouver General Hospital and addiction medicine – later branching into cosmetic medicine. He is the owner of CuR Laser and Skin in Vancouver, BC. Education, good lifestyle and diet changes lay the foundation for developing overall health and wellness, helping Kumar’s clients achieve and maintain their target goals. Dr. Kumar is also dedicated to helping others as shown by his support for Summits of Hope and Turning Point Recovery.