Body sculpting is the new buzzword on the streets and for good reason. This innovative new fat-zapping procedure promises to eliminate cellulite with no surgery, no scarring, and no serious side effects. Too good to be true? Perhaps. Or perhaps not.
Celebrities like Khloe Kardashian and Jennifer Anniston have used body sculpting (also called CoolSculpting and Body Contouring) to target trouble areas like love handles and stubborn thighs and kill fat cells once and for all. So what is body sculpting? How much does it cost? And is it for you? Here’s a quick guide to the latest fat-blasting craze.
Is Body Sculpting for Real?
Body sculpting is pretty fresh on the scene. In 2008, two Harvard-affiliated scientists founded the idea of selective cryolosis—the process of freezing fat cells and killing them, eliminating stubborn body fat. The hypothesis that cold temperatures could kill fat came from one interesting observation. Children who sucked on popsicles often developed dimples, indicating that cold temperature could eliminate fat cells, leaving little “pockets.” Weirdly, body sculpting sort of mimics popsicle sucking.
What is Body Sculpting?
CoolSculpting was recently cleared by the FDA as a non-surgical fat reduction treatment. Men and women around the globe are using it to get rid of double chins, muffin tops, and junk in their trunks. But a lot of people have no idea how it actually works.
Body sculpting is a fairly simple process and is popular because it doesn’t require surgery, leaves no scars, and has no serious side effects. Most patients report to their regular activities immediately after leaving the office. It sounds odd, but here’s what to expect.
1.The freeze. An intensely cold applicator (think a consistency similar to ultrasound gel, but freezing) is applied to the desired area. And baby, it’s coooold. Selective cryolosis is meant to freeze fat cells without damaging the epidermis.
2. The suction. A machine with a hefty suction is attached to your stomach (or other treatment area) and uses a vacuum to suck fatty tissue into a cup. Some patients report that it feels like a thousand bee stings until the area numbs.
3. Crystallized fat. The procedure takes 30-45 minutes and when the machine is lifted, what’s left is an abnormal mold of frozen, crystallized fat—like those pin impression toys you stick your face in and it keeps the shape. The fat is then massaged back into your skin where it dies and is absorbed and eliminated by your body, never to return again.
4. Watch and wait. Don’t expect to see drastic results immediately. It takes three to six months to notice a difference, but most patients observe the more contoured shape around the chin, stomach, and buttocks.
What does it do?
Selective cryolosis (freezing fat cells) delivers controlled cooling to specific areas of the body and targets the fat cells underneath the skin, crystallizing them until they die and eliminated by the body. The trashed fat cells are supposed to be gone permanently, leaving a more sculpted you.
Is it worth it?
A typical CoolSculpting procedure in the U.S. can cost anywhere from $1,000-$4,000. Although the fat cells destroyed by cryolosis are gone permanently, it doesn’t mean a patient cannot regain the weight. Regular diet and exercise should always be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Also, body sculpting is not pain free. Many patients who claim to have a “high pain tolerance” report intense soreness, swelling, bruising, or tenderness both during the procedure and up to weeks afterward. Always, always consult your doctor before trying procedures like selective cryolosis.
So as to whether body sculpting is worth it—this jury is still out.