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 (24)

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

Leyda Elizabeth Bowes, MD
Miami Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 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!

Andrea Willey, MD
Sacramento Dermatologic Surgeon

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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. .

 

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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

+2

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.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

The CoolSculpting machine is specifically designed to target and freeze fat

+1
The CoolSculpting machine is specifically designed to target and freeze fat only and not the surrounding organs, skin, nerves, etc. It would be impossible to safely do that with an ice pack as you could potentially cause frostbite as well as an unsightly and permanent scar.

Lenore Sikorski, MD
Orange County Dermatologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Coolsculpting delivers precise cooling as to not damage tissues

+1
I would not recommend applying ice packs to your fat bulges. The Coolsculpting technique delivers precise cooling to maintain the perfect temperature at which fat cells die and all other cells are unharmed. By applying ice packs, you could indeed cause damage to your skin and nerves.

David Rapaport, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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

+1
It doesn't work that way — CoolSculpting is based on a real medical condition which uses cold deep down to selectively destroy fat cells and to leave the skin from being effected. If we were to use ice bags, we can have all kinds of superficial problems for the skin and probably never reach the deep layers where the fat cells reside.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Freezing and Coolsculpting are not the same

+1
At first this thought does make sense, but repeatedly placing ice bags over an area of fat is not the same as Coolsculpting. One would most definitely be able to induce apoptosis of fat cells with bags of ice, but you would likely also give yourself frostbite. And the chances of unwanted side effects such as an open wound or permanent scarring would be significant. Coolsculpting provides a balance between delivering enough cold damage to the fat to cause cell death, and maintaining a safe environment for the overlying skin.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Coolsculpting vs. Ice Bag

+1
Coolsculpting is a process of safe, gradual cooling that will target the fat cells and leave the skin, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels unharmed. An ice bag may not deliver enough cold to kill fat cells, and would probably damage the skin with prolonged exposure.

One physician who we recently treated for coolsculpting told us how she had fallen asleep with an ice bag and ice bag had left an indentation so deep that it required medical care.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 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.