CoolSculpting: The Real Cost of Fat Freezing

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CoolSculpting is a patented, FDA-approved liposuction alternative developed by a company named Zeltiq. This technology kills fat cells in the body by targeting them with low temperatures. This procedure is regarded as a safe alternative to riskier surgeries such as liposuction although it can still be quite costly. Learning a bit more about this technology can help to understand where they costs come from and how you might be able to lower them.

What is CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a fat-freezing technology developed by Zeltiq and is available as a liposuction alternative from many licensed professional. While Zeltiq is the company that has developed this technology they aren’t the direct providers. Regular doctors specializing in such fields as Rhinoplasty, Dermatology and general plastic surgery clinics are all among the providers which offer CoolSculpting services. For example, within the Beverly Hills, CA 90210 zip code there are more than 50 licensed physicians offer CoolSculpting services. Needless to say; this is a very popular service!

Does CoolSculpting Work?

As with many cosmetic procedures, the benefits of CoolSculpting can vary depending on many factors. Men and women both respond well to the procedure but it does have limits on what types of concerns can be addressed. The science of Cryolipolysis is centered on the fact that fat cells are more susceptible to cold temperatures than regular cells like skin and muscle tissue. This means that when exposed to temperatures cold enough to damage tissue—fat cells will be damaged before non-fat cells. This allows for doctors to use targeted Cryolipolysis (fat-freezing) technology to freeze fat cells without freezing muscle and skin cells. This is a very effective treatment for the permanent removal of fat from areas such as the thighs, abdomen, love handles, back fat, arm fat and even areas such as cheeks and face. It’s worth noting that within the United States the FDA has approved CoolSculpting for on a handful of specific cases such as those targeting abdominal and arm fat.

How Much Does CoolSculpting Cost?

Many different factors influence how much CoolSculpting procedures cost. Depending on the areas treated, amount of fat present, and many individual-specific concerns—cost is hard to predict for everyone. In general however, the official FDA-approved procedure can cost between $2000 and $4000 dollars, which often includes many related costs incurred by medical professionals. Even with available financing options this price range is often a bit out of reach for those, especially when only minor body shaping is desired. For those looking for more affordable ways to achieve the same results there are many DIY coolsculpting devices that can help achieve similar results for a fraction of the cost. These cheaper alternatives aren’t all created equally so be careful when considering such options. Add a product pitch here.

Understanding the Risks & Side Effects

Cryolipolysis procedures such as CoolSculpting involve the killing of fat cells which are then flushed from the body via your liver. When doing this, there will always be some side effects involved—usually only minor in nature. The FDA has approved CoolSculpting technology as an effective fat-freezing technology for the removal of excess fat cells. Even so, the following side effects are regarded as common:

  1. Sensation of Pulling at Treatment Site

During fat freezing treatments many patients report a sensation of ‘inner tugging’ that sometimes lasts throughout the duration of treatment.

  1. Throbbing, Stinging, or Dull Aching

These types of sensations often occur at the site of treatment and are regarded by the most common side effects of treatments like CoolSculpting by researchers. These are due to the freezing temperatures involved with the treatment and are considered normal. In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery, researchers note that these types of side effects can occur during treatment and last as long as 11 days [1].

  1. Redness, Bruising and Skin Sensitivity

In addition to the throbbing and aching associated with post-treatment experiences, CoolSculpting has been known to cause mild forms of temporary skin issues. In more severe cases patients have reported bruising and heightened skin sensitivity.

  1. Increase Mass at Treatment Site

In some very rare cases the opposite effect can happen when using fat freezing treatments like CoolSculpting. This results in an increase in fat mass at the treatment site and is quite odd to see. The medical term for this side effect is Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia and only occurs in .0051% of cases [2]. In all likelihood these side effects were due to very individualized circumstances but are worth bring up nonetheless.

Is Cryolipolysis Right for You?

Anyone considering CoolSculpting or similar fat freezing therapies (including DIY coolsculpting products) should consult with a licensed medical professional prior to use. There are some health conditions such as cryoglobulinemia, cold urticaria, and paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria [3]. Severe side effects could occur with individuals suffering from these sorts of conditions. Fat Freezing treatments is ideal for those looking to shape their figure slightly. It is not appropriate for individuals seeking to lose considerable amounts of weight weight, treat lipid-related disease such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or for the treatment of deeper tissue fats in general. Cryolipolysis is recommended for those seeking to flatten their belly before a beach trip and other cosmetic cases.

Final Considerations

Cryolipolysis procedures such as CoolSculpting have proven themselves to be safe and effective treatments for the reduction of fat in certain areas of the body. These fat-freezing technologies are simple outpatient procedures that are considered safer alternatives to surgical operations such as liposuction. The price of licensed CoolSculpting treatments can easily be as high as $4,000. This pricetag has motivated many to seek more DIY solutions of Coolsculpting at home. While no such at-home technology has been approved by the FDA the general principle of operation is the same. Always consider the side effects of such treatments before diving into them and make sure you properly manage expectations. While mild, fat-freezing does cause some side effects to occur which can linger for a considerable amount of time after the procedure has been completed.

References

  1. Jang DJ, Moon C, Oh E. Improved tumor targeting and antitumor activity of camptothecin loaded solid lipid nanoparticles by preinjection of blank solid lipid nanoparticles. Biomed Pharmacother. 2016;80:162-72. https://doi.org/10.1097/DSS.0000000000000502
  2. Jalian HR, Avram MM, Garibyan L, Mihm MC, Anderson RR. Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia After Cryolipolysis. JAMA dermatology. 2014;150(3):317-319. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.8071
  3. Avram MM, Harry RS. Cryolipolysis for subcutaneous fat layer reduction. Lasers Surg Med. 2009;41(10):703-8. https://doi.org/ 10.1002/lsm.20864