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CoolSculpting, Non-Invasive Fat Freezing, Cryolipolysis, Body Contouring & Fat Removal

Non-Surgical Fat Removal in the San Diego Area

Art of Skin MD is a premier clinical center for noninvasive and minimally-invasive body contouring, fat removal and skin tightening.  Dr. Melanie Palm is a nationally-recognized thought leader in cosmetic dermatology and sought to create a professional, welcoming, discrete and state-of-the-art center for her patients seeking improvements in skin and body concerns.  To offer highly effective options in noninvasive fat removal, Art of Skin MD is proud to offer a myriad of treatment options including CoolSculpting, also known as fat freezing or cryolipolysis.

CoolSculpting, Art of Skin MD
CoolSculpting, Art of Skin MD

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is the only FDA-cleared, controlled cooling device used to target, treat (freeze) and eliminate unwanted fat without surgery or downtime.  It targets areas of fat resistant to change with diet and exercise.

Millions of CoolSculpting treatments have been conducted with a high level of safety and effectiveness.  CoolSculpting was pioneered by Zeltiq, and has been acquired by Allergan, the makers of Botox Cosmetic.  CoolSculpting offers a no-downtime, in-office treatment to permanently eliminate some fat cells in a given treatment area.  With over 100 clinical studies to support the technology, CoolSculpting is a proven, trusted, and familiar procedure for non-invasive fat removal.

How Does CoolSculpting Work?

CoolSculpting is a well-researched, reproducible, and safe means of freezing unwanted fat.  Freezing fat causes fat cells to be unhappy, leading some fat cells to undergo controlled cell death, or apoptosis.  In the presence of extreme conditions such as heat or cold, fat cells are destroyed, a process called lipolysis.  Putting it all together we get the following:  Freezing + fat destruction = cryolipolysis.

So how did scientists think of this ingenious way to freeze away fat?  One word: popsicles!

Many years ago, two Harvard laser experts used an idea from a dermatologic condition called cold panniculitis.  Children sucking for long periods of time on cold popsicles developed fat loss along the sides of their cheeks.  The same was true for equestrians’ outer thighs when riding for long periods of time in cold weather.  Cold selectively eliminates fat without harming other surrounding structures like skin, blood vessels or nerves.  The two Harvard researchers exploited the idea of cold temperature fat destruction in CoolSculpting, a controlled cooling device applied to the skin that safely eliminates areas of unwanted fat.

Why Choose Art of Skin MD in San Diego for CoolSculpting?

Art of Skin MD chooses only proven, researched, and state-of-the-art devices for our patients.  Knowing that CoolSculpting is a popular device for fat removal, we have invested not only in our devices but our CoolSculpting care team.

In order to serve our patients better, we offer tandem treatment with our CoolSculpting devices, meaning we can treat both sides of the body simultaneously with two CoolSculpting device platforms.  This means quicker treatment with CoolSculpting, and less time in the clinic to achieve your fat reduction results.

Additionally, our experienced team of body contouring experts boast over 30 years of experience collectively in the field of fat removal.  Art of Skin MD offers a variety of fat reduction strategies including fat freezing (CoolSculpting), fat heating (Vanquish, Exilis), fat removal (liposculpture), and muscle toning and fat burning (EMSCULPT).  We offer the very latest and best in fat removal that is tailored to meet or exceed individual patient needs.

Who is a Good Candidate for CoolSculpting?

Adults in good shape with areas of unwanted fat that do not want to undergo surgery are ideal candidates for CoolSculpting.  Good candidates are already physically active and adhere to a healthy diet and lifestyle.

What is Cryolipolysis?

Cryolipolysis can be understood if you divide the word into its individual parts.  “Cryo” means cold, and “lipolysis” means breakdown of fat.  Therefore, cryolipolysis is the process of fat destruction using cold temperatures, or fat freezing.  It is the foundational process that leads to non-invasive fat removal success with CoolSculpting.

What Areas of the Body Can be Treated with Fat Freezing with CoolSculpting?

Treatment with CoolSculpting can accomplish fat removal over most areas of the body and neck.  A variety of treatment heads allows for small (petite) to large areas of fat removal to be treated.   The following areas of the body may be used for Vanquish noninvasive fat reduction:

  • Abdomen – upper and lower
  • Flanks or love handles
  • Posterior waistline (“muffin top”)
  • Bra line
  • Back
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Upper arms
  • Knees
  • Neck

CoolSculpting Treatment FAQ

When you arrive for your session, your CoolSculpting expert at Art of Skin MD will mark the area(s) of treatment.  A gel sheet is applied to the skin and then the CoolSculpting treatment applicator is applied. A gentle vacuum pressure sensation is experienced as the CoolSculpting device hugs the skin on the area to be treated.

During the first several minutes into a treatment cycle, CoolSculpting provides a sensation similar to that of an ice cube on the skin. Then, the skin nerves become numb and treatment is comfortable. A cold sensation may be perceptible from time to time during the treatment session. After your treatment cycle, the skin is massaged for 3 minutes.

Shortly following the massage, a feeling of pins and needles or a mild-to-moderate stinging sensation may occur for several minutes but completely subsides. Typically speaking, a CoolSculpting treatment is easily tolerated by the vast majority of patients with no downtime and immediate return to daily activities.

Multiple clinical studies have shown that a single treatment session of CoolSculpting leads to approximately 20-25% fat cell destruction in the area of treatment. For most patients, two treatment sessions are recommended for a pleasing and noticeable outcome.

Very little preparation is required prior to treatment.  No true restrictions in behavior or daily activities are required prior to CoolSculpting.  Patients may enjoy a meal or beverage prior to treatment.

CoolSculpting patients may consider bringing something to read during their session or simply relax and take a nap. Art of Skin MD offers in-room movies and entertainment for patients to enjoy during CoolSculpting.

Most CoolSculpting treatment cycles last approximately 35 minutes.  As Art of Skin MD has two CoolSculpting devices, both sides of the body can be treated at the same time, making treatment time twice as fast and efficient.

For most areas of the body on patients with normal body weight, two treatment sessions are recommended.  Some thin patients with a small amount of fat may only require one CoolSculpting treatment session.  Those patients with greater amounts of fat to treat may be invited back for more than two sessions to achieve their body contouring goals.

Immediately after a CoolSculpting treatment, the skin will appear pink and firm to the touch. The CoolSculpting expert assisting with your treatment experience will perform a three minute massage on the treatment area of the neck or body. This massage is important, as it enhances the destruction and eventual removal of treated fat cells.

For a period of 5-7 minutes following treatment, the rewarming of the tissues may result in a temporary tingling or burning sensation to the treatment area. The area often becomes numb for a few days to a month, but normal sensation returns to the skin after that time. Very rarely, patients may experience discomfort in the treatment area after CoolSculpting, especially in the (lower) abdomen. This rarely causes significant discomfort, but can be a mild nuisance.  In extremely rare cases, medications called Neurontin (gabapentin) or Lyrica (pregabalin) may be prescribed to increase patient comfort if pain occurs after CoolSculpting treatment.

As a no-downtime procedure, most patients should be able to immediately resume their normal routine following CoolSculpting treatment. Mild tingling or numbness experienced by some patients does not generally interfere with activities, work or physical activity.

CoolSculpting treatment sessions are typically spaced at least 30 days apart.

Results following CoolSculpting may be visible within 4 weeks. For most patients, at least 2 treatment sessions are recommended. Measurable and visible results are usually achieved approximately 2-3 months following treatment.

CoolSculpting has been proven safe and effective by more than 100 published articles in medical literature.

There are few side effects following CoolSculpting treatment. Mild-to-moderate stinging and pain is normal for a few minutes following treatment.  Numbness for a period of approximately 3-4 weeks is common in the treatment area.

Rarely, continued discomfort may be present in the area of treatment.  This is rare but most common in the abdominal area.  Prescription medication may be prescribed to ameliorate this discomfort.

Very rarely, patients may experience increased fat growth in an area of treatment.  This is an extremely rare occurrence but occurs most often in men with a lower body mass index.  This paradoxical fat growth is treated with fat removal by liposuction.

CoolSculpting can only effectively treat and remove areas with “pinchable” fat.  If there is too little fat to be pinched, skin laxity may be the issue, and a skin tightening strategy a more effective treatment.  Most patients with “pinchable” fat benefit from multiple sessions of CoolSculpting.

The CoolSculpting experts at Art of Skin MD have been extensively trained by the CoolSculpting Academy, as well as by board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Melanie Palm.

Our experts can appropriately differentiate fat from skin laxity, as well as identify correctly the areas of the body that will respond well to a CoolSculpting treatment.  Poorly-trained technicians without understanding of proper body contouring or CoolSculpting techniques are those who are more likely to cause skin or contour irregularities. This is why it is important to know the background of  the person administering your treatments.

Liposuction (liposculpture) is the gold standard of fat removal.  At Art of Skin MD, liposculpture is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure performed under local numbing called tumescent anesthesia. It’s intended for areas of unwanted fat that are not responsive to diet and exercise measures.  Liposculpture is capable of removing large volumes of fat in a single treatment but involves some degree of downtime.

Vanquish heats fat instead of freezing fat, leading to its permanent removal. It’s intended for individuals who struggle with stubborn areas of fat that are resistant to dietary and exercise measures. It’s excellent at “debulking” or non-invasively reducing the abdomen and flanks simultaneously. It’s not a substitute for liposuction, which allows a greater volume of fat removal. However, for some patients who are not candidates for CoolSculpting or who do not wish to undergo surgery, Vanquish may be a good treatment option.

EMSCULPT uses high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy to increase muscle tone and decrease fat in the abdominal area and buttocks. It’s a no-downtime procedure that requires a series of treatments. It causes supraphysiologic contractions of muscles, leading to fat metabolism and increased muscle mass. In multiple clinical studies using MRI and CT imaging, waist measurements and photographic before and after results demonstrated the effectiveness of this technology made available to patients in 2018.

CoolSculpting freezes fat, leading to fat cell death through a process called cryolipolysis. Only a certain number of fat cells are created in adults. Therefore, the fat cells eliminated are not replenished by the body. So long as weight and diet are maintained, the results following CoolSculpting are likely to be long-lasting and likely permanent.

Diet and exercise maintenance are encouraged following CoolSculpting treatment. An increase in weight will allow remaining fat stores to accumulate. This may occur disproportionately in areas untreated by CoolSculpting.

Individuals need “pinchable” fat for CoolSculpting treatment to be a success.  Absolute contraindications to CoolSculpting include the following conditions:

  • Conditions worsened by cold temperatures including cryoglobulinemia, paroxysmal cold hemoglobulinuria, known cold sensitivity such as cold urticaria (hives), Raynaud’s disease
  • Poor circulation (blood flow to the treatment area)
  • Neuropathic conditions or disorders (for example: post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after shingles) or diabetic neuropathy)
  • Open skin or infected wounds
  • Bleeding disorders or use of medications that thin the blood
  • Recent surgery or healing scars in the area of treatment
  • A hernia or history of hernia in the area of treatment or close to the area of treatment
  • Inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema), dermatitis or rashes
  • Pregnancy or nursing mothers
  • Active implanted devices (for example: pacemakers and defibrillators)

How much does CoolSculpting cost?

Pricing depends on the number of treatment cycles and the number of body areas being treated.  The national average cost for a CoolSculpting treatment transformation is slighter more than $2000, although pricing is dependent on individual treatment desires and factors.

Allergan/Zeltiq tightly controls the lowest marketed advertised price on all authentic CoolScupting experts.  Therefore, if advertised packages seem too good to be true, a registered and authentic CoolSculpting device may not be used to deliver proper and safe treatment.  Packages are available, and patients are encouraged to consider these multiple treatment cycle programs for more complete treatment success.  Package pricing is more affordable than a la carte treatment cycles.

If you are looking for a CoolSculpting expert in the San Diego area for non-invasive, non-surgical fat removal, body contouring, and fat freezing, call Dr. Melanie Palm at 858.792.SKIN (7546) to schedule your appointment.