Dr. Zannis: For most parts of the body, we use an applicator that pinches the fatty area and then cools the area. This will initially feel like a squeeze for two to three minutes until the patient gets used to it and the cold temperature being applied tends to numb the area. Treatment with this type of applicator requires one hour for each area being treated and typically both sides of the body are treated in one session, so the minimum total time is at least two hours. Often a patient has treatment on four distinct areas in a session, so at least four hours would be required. Treatment of the outer thighs is done with a different type of applicator that does not pinch the fat and treatment in this area takes two hours per side.
Immediately after treatment, and possibly up to a week or so after, the patient may feel pins and needles or that the skin in the treated area is asleep. There is almost never any real pain involved and our CoolSculpting patients never require any prescription pain medicine.
Bill: I understand that surgical procedures generally have some recovery time. What is the recovery time like with CoolSculpting?
Dr. Zannis: There really is no recovery time with CoolSculpting. Patients typically go back to work immediately after a treatment session. They can do any kind of physical activity or they can go to a gym and work out. There is no need to wear any special garments immediately after a treatment.
Bill: It sounds like CoolSculpting is poised to replace the surgical procedures that have traditionally been used to reduce fat and improve figures. Do you foresee this happening in the near future?
Dr. Zannis: Well, CoolSculpting is a great solution for many patients. Since there is no recovery and downtime, it can be a good solution for patients that cannot afford to miss time at work. It can also be a solution for patients that have an aversion to needles or to surgery in general. For patients that have a relatively small amount of fat they want to lose, and in not many body areas, CoolSculpting is generally about the same or less cost compared to traditional surgery.
On the other hand, it takes a lot more time to see results with CoolSculpting and multiple treatments will extend the time to see the full results. If a patient is interested in treating several areas and especially if multiple treatments are necessary, CoolSculpting will be a more expensive option. As I mentioned earlier, if there is excess skin in the abdomen, thighs or other areas being treated, CoolSculpting will not be a good option as a lifting surgical procedure will be needed along with the fat removal, and in such a case, Liposuction along with the lift, would be the appropriate procedure. Traditional surgical procedures, such as Liposuction, are still good options for many patients, especially if they can be away from work for about a week to recover. They see results much faster and the treatment time is much shorter than with CoolSculpting.
Bill: If a prospective patient is interested in body contouring treatment with CoolSculpting, what should they look for in a medical provider to have the best chances of success?
Dr. Zannis: There are many different types of medical providers that offer CoolSculpting. Many are plastic surgeons, like myself, but there are also family doctors, dermatologists with their skin clinics and also med spas that offer CoolSculpting. There are many options for body contouring and a patient should consult with a physician that offers alternatives to CoolSculpting so that all options are considered and the best one for the patient is selected. If a patient seeks treatment with a spa or a physician that is not a plastic surgeon, they do not have alternative treatments, so everyone who visits is offered CoolSculpting, even if it is not a good fit for the patient. In my opinion any patient that is interested in body contouring should consult with a board certified plastic surgeon, because a plastic surgeon has a number of options available and can provide alternatives if CoolSculpting is not the best procedure for the patient.
Bill: Dr. Zannis, thanks for providing information on this new technology for our readers. If prospective patients want to find out more about CoolSculpting or other cosmetic surgery procedures, how can they get more information?
Dr. Zannis: You are welcome, Bill. Actually, we have a lot of educational materials on our practice website, so I suggest your readers visit http://www.ZannisPlasticSurgery.com for more information about CoolSculpting and other cosmetic procedures.