In this era when everyone is leading busy lives, obesity has become a growing challenge. According to WHO statistics, over 2.1 billion people or approximately 30 per cent of the world’s population are overweight. Most of us make a conscious effort to stay in shape with proper diet and exercise. In spite of these efforts, there might still be a few stubborn areas that continue to pose a problem. These could include love handles, stomach, thighs and those double chins that we all love to hate. In cases where generally fit people need mild levels of body contouring, one non-surgical technique called CoolSculpting has become quite popular.
The technique was born when two scientists noticed that children who habitually ate popsicles soon developed dimples and had noticeably thinner cheeks. This is because fat cells are more sensitive to cold than other components of the skin. Fat cells die a lot faster when exposed to low temperatures.
When we use diet and exercise, our fat cells become smaller but do not disappear. This is why if we continue to keep up with our diet and exercise regimen, we regain weight. We have fixed number of fat cells by the time we are teenagers and end up losing and gaining weight in a yoyo pattern if go back to our old habits. Scientists found that sustained use of low temperatures could reduce the number of fat cells in a particular area by as much as 20 to 25 per cent. These fat cells which die are then naturally eliminated from our bodies. Compared to liposuction which is a surgical procedure and needs more time for healing, CoolSculpting is non-surgical and needs no downtime for healing. The results are not as dramatic as those for liposuction and this procedure is ideal for those who are looking for minor tweaks.
The treatment was approved by the FDA in 2010, but it is only recently that it emerged as a noninvasive alternative to liposuction.
During the CoolSculpting process, rounded cooling handles that come in one of four sizes are applied to the problem area for a period of upto two hours. These cooling panels essentially freeze your fat cells and cause mild discomfort and suction, but no pain. Depending on age and skin quality, more than one treatment may be needed.
The 25 per cent fat reduction would be seen as mild decrease of fat in the area that has been treated. Though the difference is not much when it comes to the weighing scale, it does change the body proportion and can help you fit into your clothes better.
As to whether the fat will return, CoolSculpting leads to permanent loss of the fat cells, but if the patient does not follow a healthy diet and exercise plan and gains weight, the weight may be gained in the problem areas.
The procedure is relatively safe as it is non-invasive and there is no use of needles, no scarring, and minimal chance of infection. There are chances for contour irregularities. CoolSculpting does not allow for precise shaping of the body as in the case of liposuction carried out by an experienced plastic surgeon. It will also take about two weeks for the fat cells to be eliminated from the body and for the results to show..
Will this be another fad like many others that have come and gone? We will have to wait and see.
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