Ask a doctor

Since CoolSculpting Freezes Fat to Kill It, Why Not Just Repeatedly Apply Ice Bags?

I had a free consultation for Coolsculpt and have read online about the 'popsicle' studies that led researchers to exam whether freezing fat to kill the cells would be effective for spot fat reduction. This led to Coolsculpt. But if this method is effective, why couldn't one apply ice bags on fat bulges and gradually destroy the fat cells?

Doctor Answers (13)

Can the effects of CoolSculpting be replicated by the application of ice bags

+4

CoolSculpting is performed using a device that rather than delivering cold actually extracts energy (thereby cooling) the tissue.  The device carefully monitors this process with continual feedback so that the temperatures achieved are such that the fat will freeze but not so cold that other tissue such as skin, muscles, nerves or blood vessels will.   One could never monitor such a process with the use of an ice bag.  It is highly unlikely one could deliver cold enough temperatues to the fat with an ice bag alone and even if one were able to do so,  you will most likely freeze the overlying skin.  As a result of the freezing of the skin,  a scar will be induced.  

Long Island Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Coolsculpting is the advanced technology of gradual fat tissue cooling, not of fat freezing.

+4

Dear writer, your question is a very important one. By answering it I hope to satisfy your curiosity and also keep your approach to fatty tissue reduction safe. Coolsculpting utilizes a very specific algorithm for gradually extracting the heat from the fatty tissue. This may be called cooling, but never freezing. This algorithm, carefully studied and designed by world renowned scientist and engineers, is what makes this technology so safe, as well as effective. Putting icepacks repeatedly over the areas of excess fatty tissue may lead to frostbite, permanent loss of skin sensation and undesired atrophy or indentation of the area (because the very carefully anatomically designed shape of the noninvasive suctioning 'cup' is not used). Lastly, patients may bring themselves to a state of low body temperature (hypothermia) that could, in some cases, caused death. Your question was a very genuine and important one. I hope I helped clarify your concerns. With regards, Dr. Leyda Bowes

Miami Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Zeltiq's CoolSculpting can not be duplicated with application of icepacks to the skin

+3

If one were to try to freeze the fat by freezing the skin with ice long enough, the skin would die and this necrosis would heal with scarring probably.  There also can be cirulatory changes to the skin.  Zeltiq has been able to preserve the quality of the skin by localized the temperature reduction in the fatty tissues.

Web reference: http://www.thenyac.com/zeltiq/index.html

Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Coolsculpting is controlled cooling- its okay to eat popsicles!

+2

The fat must be a specific temperature for a specific period  of time to trigger fat cell death. While the initial popsicle cases stimulated the idea, cool sculpting was developed through extensive scientific research that identified the precise temperature and time period needed to stimulate fat cells to die and to do this without causing skin damage. The combination of isolating the fat in the suction chamber and maintaining controlled cooling allows for safe, smooth, and reproducible results. If only ice bags would do it!

It is important to note, the children had prolonged contact with extreme cold before the cheek fat wa affected- so do not worry about eating popsicles!

Sacramento Dermatologic Surgeon

Icepacks instead of Coolsculpting

+2

This will not work and poses a danger as Coolsculpting does not freeze the skin. Coolsculpting is a cold application just above freezing. Keep in mind freezing skin will injure the skin- whereas Coolsculpting is specifically designed to apply temperatures that kill fat but do not injure skin at a temperature below freezing. Coolsculpting works excellent. .

 

West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Using Ice Bags instead of Coolsculpting?

+2

Thank you for your question.

The CoolSculpting Machine has been FDA cleared because of it's technology.  It has a precise temperature control and feedback mechanism so that it freezes the fat and not the overlying skin.  This technology is what makes this procedure precise and successful.  You cannot replicate this with putting ice bags on your body.

I hope this helps.

Web reference: http://www.poustiplasticsurgery.com/Procedures/cool-sculpting.htm

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 626 reviews

CoolSculpting does not freeze fat!

+1
You are obviously a curious and thoughtful person, and ask a question that the original creators of the CoolSculpting device had to consider carefully.

There is a misconception that has been widely circulated, perhaps for the sake of simplicity, that Coolsculpting freezes fat. This is not actually the case. The device has been carefully and cleverly designed to extract heat from the tissues via the application to the skin of cold, but not freezing, plates.  The temperature of the skin in contact with the plates is continuously monitored throughout the entire procedure, and the temperature of the plates altered according to that feedback such that the skin and fat will never freeze but rather be chilled.  

If you were to apply something frozen to the skin, you might reach temperatures that would injure fat cells, but you would also get frostbite in the overlying skin. If you were to apply something not quite frozen to the skin, it would rapidly warm up and you would never reach a temperature cold enough in the the fat layer to injure the fat cells.

The reason the device, and only a device such as this, can injure fat cells without damaging the overlying skin, is because of a  simple but wonderful difference in a physical property of water and fat: the freezing temperature.  The temperature at which fat freezes is higher than the temperature at which water freezes.  Since skin has a lot of water and fat doesn't, you can applying below-freezing plates to the skin that are not cold enough to freeze the skin, but cold enough to chill the fat cells just enough that they are gently shifted into a process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and therefore die off slowly, one by one, during the months after treatment.

i hope this answers your excellent question.
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Why can't I just put ice bags on my body?

+1
The CoolSculpting system includes a selection of non-invasive, tissue-cooling applicators controlled by a precisely engineered monitoring system. To perform the CoolSculpting Procedure, the physician attaches an applicator to the targeted procedure area to extract energy (cooling) from the underlying fat tissue. The specially designed vacuum applicator draws tissue into the applicator cup and gently holds it between two cooling panels, extracting heat according to the selected procedure profile. Sensors embedded in the applicator monitor the skin during the procedure to ensure a consistent and uniform procedure. The sensors are linked to the control console to continuously monitor and adjust cooling throughout the CoolSculpting Procedure and provide continuous feedback to the physician.

Web reference: http://freezethefatdfw.com

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

CoolSculpting® offers safe, consistent, reliable results.

+1

Technically, you might be able to freeze some fat cells with ice packs on your own. But you risk causing severe damage to your skin and the results would be unpredictable. CoolSculpting® offers safe, consistent, and reliable results. The treatment delivers smoother, slimmer body contours through a very controlled method of gradually cooling the fat cells without harming the skin or surrounding tissue. It’s impossible to repeat this process at home just by applying cold packs. You only have one body, so it’s never a good idea to take risks with your health in the chance that it will improve your appearance. Instead, take the time to find a board certified plastic surgeon who will help you get the look you want in a safe and healthy way.

Web reference: http://www.drgmdavis.com/body/coolsculpting/

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

CoolSculpting vs. Ice Bags

+1

CoolSculpting is designed to freeze only the fat without damaging the skin.  If you were to only apply ice bags to the skin you could cause damage to areas other than just the fat.  Without the cold being focused and regulated, like with the CoolSculpting device, you put yourself at risk of necrosis.

Web reference: http://www.hallplasticsurgery.com/coolsculpting-zeltiq-austin.html

Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

You might also like...