If you’re like many readers of your favorite local women’s magazine, you probably eat a healthy diet and exercise somewhat regularly. You’re also pretty smart- that’s definitely the best way to lose weight! However, you may still feel that achieving the body you desire is a long way off. You can certainly get results with surgery, such as liposuction or laser-assisted “smartlipo”, but what if you’re not ready for something quite so invasive? Thanks to exciting new advances in medical technology, you now have an alternative.

CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared, non-surgical treatment designed to remove pockets of fat. The treatment is ideal for those stubborn fatty areas we think of as “love handles”, “muffin-top”, “bra fat”, or “post-baby belly”. It is called stubborn fat for a reason; no matter how much you exercise or deny yourself of your favorite treats, it just won’t go away. CoolSculpting is not a weight loss treatment, but it is perfect for those resistant areas. The treatment targets only the fat cells, eliminating them naturally, something diet and exercise can’t achieve as quickly or as effectively.

How does it work?
Developed by Harvard scientists, CoolSculpting uses a targeted cooling process that effectively cools the fat cells to the point of crystallization. The process of crystallization signals your body to permanently and naturally remove the targeted fat. This unique treatment removes fat without causing any harm to the surrounding tissue. There are no knives, needles, or scars.

What is the treatment like?
A non-invasive applicator uses suction to draw the bulge of fat up between two cooling panels. After a few minutes the feeling of firm suction subsides and the area becomes cool and numb. It doesn’t hurt like ice directly on the skin; it is more of a slight cooling sensation. Most patients bring a book, take a nap, or surf the web during their treatments. Each treatment takes about an hour.

What is the recovery process?
Unlike other procedures, CoolSculpting takes little time and can even be done on your lunch hour. Since the treatment is completely non-surgical, you can return to your normal activities right after your treatment. Some patients experience redness, tingling, minor bruising, or numbness in the treated area, but this is temporary and will resolve completely.

What are the results?
With one visit you will typically see a noticeable reduction of fat. You may start to see changes in as soon as three weeks, but it takes a few months to see the full result as it takes the body that long to naturally dispose of your damaged fat cells. On average, you will see a 20%-25% reduction in the targeted area but you can achieve further reduction with additional treatments. After a few months, your clothes will become less snug and will fit better. As long as you maintain a normal diet and exercise routine, your long-term results should be permanent.

What is the cost?
CoolSculpting costs around $800 per area. Some clinics may lower the cost if you buy more than one treatment at a time.

What are some alternative treatments?
There are many body-contouring methods available, the vast majority of which involve invasive procedures such as liposuction or plastic surgery. CoolSculpting doesn’t require anesthesia, injections, or incisions.