What Is CoolSculpting And Does It Really Work?

The desire for a more sculpted physique isn't new. Our dreams of a flat stomach and arms resembling Michelle Obama's have been played out on what seems like a never ending loop. Though there is one method to achieve those more defined lines that is rather new-ish. Enter CoolSculpting. According to Healthline, the procedure received its FDA approval in 2010, and treatment rates have since grown a whooping 823 percent.

So what exactly is this procedure that seems to be taking over the cosmetic industry? CoolSculpting is really the brand name for a fat-freezing method called cryolipolysis, says WebMD. The goal of this method is to rid the body of stubborn fat cells. It is a non-invasive procedure in which a trained technician places the targeted area that contains stubborn body fat between two paddles and leaves them there for up to one hour and 15 minutes. During that time, up to 25 percent of the fat cells in the designated area are destroyed.

The results have been proven, but they aren't guaranteed to be permanent

Results aren't immediate and it may take several sessions to achieve the desired outcome, states Healthline. It is also worth noting that while some unwanted fat does die from the procedure, it doesn't mean that it can't come back. Board-certified dermatologist Nancy Samolitis, M.D., of Facile Dermatology Boutique in West Hollywood explains to Glamour why there is no guarantee the results of CoolSculpting last indefinitely. "The fat that died isn't coming back, but fat can still grow," she says. Adding, "If you've gained 10 pounds, it might even out, so you may look the same as your 'before' picture."

It is a bonus for many that this method requires no needles or surgery, though Healthline says that you may feel sensations of pain and tugging during the procedure, as well as short term redness, and skin sensitivity at the treatment site post-treatment. 

So, a non-invasive, not-too-painful procedure that allows us to shed fat without spending hours sweating at the gym? It sounds almost too good to be true! Does it really work?

Results are mixed

UCLA professor and plastic surgeon Jason Roostaeian, M.D. tells Vogue that results are varied. "One of the downsides of [CoolSculpting] is there's a range for any one person. I've seen people look at before and after pictures and not be able to see the results," he says. Roostaeian goes on to explain that in order to see results, you're going to need at least two sessions.

In addition to variable results, it is also important to point out that this is not a treatment to fix obesity, says Healthline. This method is most used to help get rid of small amounts of stubborn fat that stays around even with a healthy diet and exercise.

CoolSculpting has proven safe and effective as a method to get rid of unwanted fat. Though if you are considering this procedure, know that it may take many sessions to achieve your desired flat stomach or sculpted arms. It may be best to first schedule a consultation with the trained professional who would conduct this treatment to find out if you are a good candidate, and to answer any additional questions you have.