Story by Pamela A. Keene | Photos courtesy CoolSculpting
Sometimes no amount of exercise will melt away pesky body fat, particularly on your waist, tummy or neck. Now there’s a new technology called CoolSculpting that can remove fat cells without needles, surgery or recovery time.
“The technology used in CoolSculpting literally can remove fat cells in localized areas,” says Rachel Wischow, spa director at The Swan Center in Alpharetta, which has used the system for the past four years. “There’s no need for anesthesia or cutting. And it’s as permanent as liposuction without the recovery time.”
The process, called cryolipolysis, uses targeted temperature reduction applied to select areas of the body to permeate and break down the walls of fat cells under the skin. “Our body’s own inflammatory system then comes in and clears away what’s left of the broken-down fat cells over several weeks,” Rachel says. “The process doesn’t stress the body’s organs and it produces visual and measurable results.”
The technology was developed by scientists at Harvard, who several decades ago discovered that children eating popsicles got dimples in their cheeks. According to the coolscuplting.com website, scientists Dieter Manstein and R. Rox Anderson, both physicians, realized that the popsicles were freezing and eliminating small pockets of fat cells. They developed high-tech cooling sensors that target the fat cells but do not affect the body’s other cells.
“About 12 years ago, the FDA approved the fat-freezing process that is CoolSculpting,” Rachel says “We brought it to The Swan Center four years ago after sending our technicians to Cool University for extensive training in the technique, learning directly from the manufacturer. Since then we’ve become the largest provider of CoolSculpting in Georgia.”
Prospective patients can set up an appointment at The Swan Center for a no-charge consultation. “We evaluate our patients to determine if they’re good candidates for the procedure and talk about their goals,” she says. “We’re looking at what we call ‘pinchable fat.’ The majority of patients ask about reducing their waistlines and love handles, but women also seek advice about their inner and outer thighs or their chin and neck fat.” She says that men also request procedures for their face, neck and chests.
The procedures, , can be done on any part of the body and most sessions take a couple of hours, depending on the extent of the treatment. “Patients can relax and watch movies, read or enjoy conversation and snacks,” Rachel says. “Once a patient sees the results and how their body has been recontoured, they often come back to schedule additional treatments on other parts of their bodies.”
She explains that with just one treatment, many patients will see a 25 percent reduction in their fat cells in the treated area. “The results are considered permanent,” she says. “Once the fat cells are gone, they’re gone, naturally eliminated by your body’s own processes once they’ve been broken down.”
Typically, treatments require a follow-up visit after about 11 or 12 weeks. At that time, the center provides the patient with before and after photographs so that they can see the effects of the treatment. She said that treatments begin at $750 to $1,500.
Rachel urges prospective patients to make sure that the facility they’re considering uses the latest technology. “The newest equipment is much more effective and requires shorter treatment times,” she says. “And that translates to better results.”